A number of things happen when you systemise processes in your business.
- You don’t have to do the process.
- Others less skilled than you can now do it.
- You establish a “way we do things here”.
The more formal side to this occurs when you document the way you do things— in other words, when you develop policies and procedures.
Policies are the guiding principles of your organisation.
Policies can be rules such as dress codes, conduct codes and so forth. They can also relate to procedures, outlining the procedure’s purpose and effectiveness measures. Many businesses and business owners stop here. They say they have a policy of ensuring customer satisfaction through prompt service but unless tied to a concrete procedure, the end result will always vary wildly. Worse still, because these policies are often only understood by the business owner, they can’t ever take a step back from the business.
Procedures are a particular way of doing something, usually outlined in a series of steps or a cycle to be followed to accomplish an end result.
Having your policies and procedures clearly documented improves procedure control — and therefore performance outcome—and provides clear scope for monitoring and further improving your business’s systems. Procedures allow you to isolate where an issue is coming from and address it in a timely manner; that’s far more likely to lead to customer satisfaction than a wistful policy.