Documenting process flows is one of those topics and “jobs” that few of us look forward to doing. As a result of the current economic climate, I’ve been working with a client that is through a number of changes, which has brought home to me the need of process documentation. A lot of the day-to-day processes that we go through as small business owners and managers are stored in our heads and we don’t take the time to document them in a formal document. I understand that we are all extremely busy; nonetheless.
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I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking the time to record your important processes for the benefit of you, your family, and the continued existence of your company. If something were to happen to you today, would your company be able to continue operating? The list of inquiries might go on indefinitely. Throughout the process documentation that we’ve been working on, my client has repeatedly stated how essential this is and how grateful they are that I am serving as the accountability driver for their organization.
Process documentation and development not only assist in the current day-to-day functioning of the company and ensuring that employees are consistent in their understanding of expectations, but it also assists the company in the event that someone is unable to fulfill their responsibilities tomorrow – whether it is you or another key player in your business. Anyone should be able to step in and take over the responsibilities of another co-worker if they are unable to do so due to clear step-by-step process documentation in place. So, while I understand that your “to-do” list will never be completed, please bear with me. I’d want to challenge you to document your most important processes and procedures by the end of the year.
Even though updating it will always be a work in progress, just getting started is half of the battle already won. Once you’ve completed the first one, the task of keeping it up to date will be straightforward. It will assist you in identifying gaps in your current procedures as well as setting expectations for your personnel so that they are aware of what is expected of them. It will also allow the company to continue operations in the event of an unexpected event.