Six Benefits of Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

21 Aug 2018


From training and hiring to work policies and procedures, Standard Operating Procedures — or SOPs — help companies stay organized, operate smoothly, and ensure that employees understand how to accomplish their assigned tasks.

But here’s one thing we’ve learned from more than a decade of working with companies of all sizes: Even though nearly all companies have some sort of SOPs in place, they don’t always have them written down.

Or if they do have them written down, it’s been years since they’ve reviewed or updated them.

In most cases, it comes down to time.

When day-to-day operations get hectic, internal projects are often the first to fall to the wayside.

And while it’s true that writing, reviewing, and updating your company’s SOPs can be time-consuming, we think it’s worth it in the long run.

Need a few reasons to make written SOPs a priority? Here are just a few benefits of having written SOPs:

1. Reduce employee training time.

Training-related SOPs help standardize orientation and training. A written set of guidelines helps ensure that all new hires get the same training, on the same topics and responsibilities, in the same amount of time. Not only will this help ensure that new employees settle in quickly, it will also help save time and money in the long term.

2. Maintain consistency across your brand.

You’ve worked hard to establish a very specific personality, look, feel, and tone for your brand. Protect that hard work by establishing a set of written branding standards. A few possible items to cover:
• Use of your company’s logo, colors, and tagline
• Policies for employee social media use
• A style guide to ensure uniformity in written communication
• Guidelines for email formatting and signatures
• Rules for speaking to the media
• Use of your company’s logo, colors, and tagline
• Policies for employee social media use
• A style guide to ensure uniformity in written communication
• Guidelines for email formatting and signatures
• Rules for speaking to the media

3. Reduce errors and enhance productivity.

Written SOPs can take the guesswork out of day-to-day operations and help ensure that all of your employees understand the processes, policies, and procedures associated with their jobs. And because they provide clear, written examples of what is expected from employees, SOPs are also helpful when developing employee review or development plans.

4. Meet legal requirements.

Depending on your industry, you may be required to have written SOPs that protect your employees and/or customers — and ensure that you won’t be held legally responsible if something goes wrong.

5. Establish a chain of command.

Everyone in your company should have a clear idea of your company’s leadership structure, and this is especially important in situations where work products go through multiple stages of review and approval.

6. Transfer work easily.

Most employees take a sick day here and there, but in the case of an extended absence, written SOPs make it easier to transfer work to another employee.

By outlining how a task or project should be done, you’re making sure that any employee can complete the work with a little direction.

Of course, these six benefits are only the tip of the SOP iceberg — but you can probably see where we’re going with this: Written SOPs are an indispensable part of any organization.

Stephanie Hashagen 
Stephanie’s expertise in English and writing spans over a decade in freelancing and teaching. Stephanie worked as a staff writer and editor for The Houstonian, contributed to The Huntsville Item, freelanced for The Houston Chronicle and spent four years teaching English and reading at the junior high and high school level. She has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University. Stephanie has also ghost-authored several non-fiction and fiction manuscripts, numerous fashion and travel articles, and countless press releases, pitch letters, taglines, and print ads. Her copywriting and journalism experience includes technical copy for Tyco Flow Control and customer communications copy for a major American credit card company. Stephanie has also worked on copy and campaigns for Hilton and Carpet One Floor & Home, North America’s largest floor covering retailer. At The Writers For Hire, she has overseen, edited, proofread, or written copy for over 50 clients. Stephanie is an exceptional proofreader, writer, and editor and has a gift for adding a creative flair to projects while keeping copy professional and concise.

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