What have your procedures got in common with Goldilocks?
Getting the number of procedures just right can be tricky but its a lovely feeling when you do.
Are you Mummy bear - Not enough procedures
This can make life and work inefficient, unsafe, risky, and is not conducive to good delegation which means you might be too scared to let go. Are you the person that every decision has to be run past, every report has to be checked by?
Are you Daddy bear - Too many procedures
This report identified that 49% of people surveyed said they have trouble locating documents.
Compare this to the Interact Source that found 19.8 % of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively and you can see the importance of getting this right.
So how do you get it just right?
You need to consider three things:
- External requirements
- Internal requirements
- Customer requirements
1. External requirements
Start by understanding all of your legislative and funding requirements. One tip is to look for the words should and must in these documents. If it's mandatory then it's probably something you need everyone to know about and should be in a procedure.
2. Internal requirements
Questions to consider are:
- What information does the team need to do their job?
- What training, knowledge, and expertise do they have?
- Does the task have to be done the same way by everyone to be efficient and/or safe?
Answering these questions will help you determine how long and detailed your procedures need to be. If people are highly skilled and the task is relatively simple you may question whether you need a procedure at all.
On the other hand, an unskilled workforce doing a high-risk task may need a longer, detailed, and prescriptive procedure.
3. Customer requirements
Your customer should be at the center of all of your procedures.
Have you ever been a customer caught in a bureaucratic loop?
You know, when the person you are dealing with has their arms folded looking at you sympathetically whilst explaining they can't do it that way because its against procedure?
When we write procedures we must ask ourselves who is it for?
Rather than only writing the procedure to meet external requirements and to guide the team the procedure must also consider:
Are we supporting our customer's experience or creating a bureaucratic nightmare that will drive them away.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How clear are you about your mandatory external requirements?
- Do your procedures consider the technical skill of your workforce?
- How do you review your procedures with the customer in mind?
If you work in quality and are looking for professional development opportunities that will make a real difference, consider joining the quality networking group.
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Stay well everyone and I'm here to help if you need me. You may call +61 0403 857 054 or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.