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Getting procedures used

Procedure for using a stapleless stapler

Short, practical procedures work

If you have gone to the effort of creating some procedures, you want to have your team make use of them.

Let’s face it, many of us have tried putting together an Ikea unit before reading the instructions – often to use them later. But we don’t want that happening to the procedures we spend time on writing to benefit our businesses.

Here are four tips for encouraging use of your procedures:

  1. when presenting them (for instance, if emailing it out to your team), sell the benefits.
    Would you respond better to ‘procedure you must use’ or ‘record sales data quickly’?
  2. lay out each procedure clearly and neatly
    if it looks easy to read and follow, people are much more likely to use procedures  so use the basics of good procedures such as lists rather than paragraphs, decent size fonts and short instructions (‘hit submit’ not ‘use your mouse to click on the submit button’)
  3. make the procedures easy to find
    if you have a shared computer area (intranet or a shared folder somewhere) or a physical shelf or cupboard, put the procedures there so everyone can always access to most recent version. For specific equipment, keep the procedures nearby – I don’t want to have to visit the main office to use the machinery in the workshop. Then make sure procedures are named clearly so it’s easy to find the relevant procedure when it is needed.
  4. keep procedures up to date
    imagine following a procedure that has an old password or refers to an old version of software (especially a major change so steps have changed) – it’s very frustrating. Let people get frustrated with your procedures and they’re less likely to refer to it again. Most updates are quick but if it is a big change and will take time, note that on the existing procedure so at least people know to expect changes and that a new version is coming.

What makes you use any procedures you find helpful?

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