"My department runs like clockwork. Writing down procedures would be a waste of time."
Why Write Down Procedures?
Even if you train employees with consistency, they will make changes in the way they complete tasks. They will find shortcuts, rearrange the order of tasks, or just develop habits. A written procedure establishes the "right" way. The procedure may incorporate some of the employees' innovations. It may also be updated periodically to accommodate changes. In any case, it establishes a standard method for performing the job.
The availability of a written procedure helps a new employee develop confidence and work independently. Busy supervisors are not always at hand to answer questions. Furthermore, if seasoned employees assist the new employee, any confusion resulting from their modifications of the standard procedure can be cleared up easily.
Prepare for Unexpected Absences
Accidents, illness or other changes in circumstance can occur suddenly when the workload is at its peak. If you have to take on temporary workers, an up-to-date procedures manual is a valuable resource.
Who Should Write the Procedures?
You would expect that the employee who routinely performs the task would be the expert on that procedure. Often, however, the task has become so automatic that the employee omits important intermediate steps when documenting it. Then, when the procedure breaks down, the poor temp or new employee ignores the rest of the directions and, through trial and error, devises his or her own way to get the job done. (So much for your goal to standardize procedures.)
PSI uses your employee as a resource person. Because our technical writers see the procedure with a fresh perspective, we can find the gaps in information and ask questions to make sure the reader doesn't need to guess what to do next.
|Do we need to write down how to order supplies?|
|Employee:||No, when supplies run low, we just request them from Purchasing.|
|PSI:||Do I call the Purchasing Department?|
|Employee:||No, you have to fill out a Request Form.|
|PSI:||OK, where do I get the form?|
|Employee:||Oh, just print one out. They're on the system.|
||In what folder would I find the form?|
|Employee:||In the General folder under Forms.|
|PSI:||Do I need to keep a hard copy?|
|PSI:||Where would I file my copy?|
|Employee:||In the lower right drawer in the Supplies folder.|
|PSI:||May I order at any time? When can I expect to receive my order? (And so on...)|
|Employee:||You know, maybe we should write this down....|
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