SOPs are critical to any successful business, but why can it be daunting to create, update or overhaul your organization’s SOPs? It is because of how companies capture, convey, and control SOPs. Let’s dive into why the three C’s are so critical to effective SOPs.
Minute details matter when capturing a procedure and can have a significant and often negative impact if they are not specific. Before and after interviewing subject matter experts, here are some questions you can ask during the Capture phase of SOP creation.
A few could include:
- What are the details of performing the procedure?
- Is the SOP clear, easy to understand, and follow? Are the steps sequential or a decision tree?
- What are the best formats to use? Written? Diagram or flowchart? Would a video work well?
During the Capture phase, you may see opportunities to combine some processes while others may need to be split up into different SOPs.
PRO TIP: Once you determine an SOP format, you can create a template to have consistency across all of your SOPs.
But to have great SOPs that impact your business, you need more than just well-captured SOPs, which brings us to Convey.
SOPs must convey and, sometimes, teach team members how to perform a procedure. For example, if
you have an SOP on how to log into a software system, you might not need to train or give any more information than what is in the procedure. But, you may need training for a skill required in the SOP, which develops over time and that should be conveyed.
PRO TIP: Quizzing team members is one way to ensure they have the knowledge to execute the procedure.
SOPs are so closely related to training, learning, and development, which is why conveying the the procedure is essential, but what about controls?
Controls are the mechanisms we use to ensure the procedure is performed to standard and not all SOPs require controls. Controls can be anything from reporting, which would be a retroactive look back to see if things were done correctly, to preventive to make sure before you even reach that step that steps are done properly to putting in checks and balances. There are many different controls that you can place over procedures to make sure they are executed to standard.
To recap, the three C’s include Capture. Is it clear? Convey, do team members understand and are capable of performing the procedure? And Control, do we need them to ensure the procedure is performed to standard?
SOPs help ensure team members know what to do in any situation and allow organizations to streamline their processes cohesively. That is why the three C’s are so important to SOP creation.