SOP! How to ensure your employees know and remember your Standard Operating Procedures

Keep it Simple

Some Standard Operating Procedures – SOPs will need longer explanations of multiple processes, but if at all possible, you should strive to have both a short and long version of your SOPs. The long version can serve as a training tool for new employees and as a reference for those who need more information about a particular step, but it’s unreasonable to expect most employees to remember all the details of an entire manual of SOPs. For this reason, a short version can come in handy for regular review and quick reference.

Break your SOPs down into the most basic form possible (just a few words or one short sentence for each part of the procedure) and then present these as either a list, mnemonic, or easy-to-read flow chart.

Keep it Visible

Once you’ve distilled your SOPs to the most basic components possible, place these in an area where employees will see them on a regular basis and where employees can refer to them while on the job. We’re creatures of habit, so when employees are able to see and refer to these every day, they will become second nature in no time. Just remember to place the lists or charts in an area that isn’t cluttered with other announcements or notifications or you’ll risk losing them in the clutter.

Keep it Relevant

Prevent “SOP Overload” by reinforcing only SOPs that those specific employees will be required to follow on a regular basis. If the employees will be following an SOP only occasionally (once or twice a year), keep it on hand for easy reference, but make sure that those they’ll be using every day, week, or month are those that they really focus on memorizing.

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