Four Arguments for Documenting Procedures 

Documenting procedures hardly ranks as a high priority. Meeting deadlines and client needs are always on the top of the “To Do List”, pushing written procedures down to the bottom.


That is, until a key team member leaves, such as a project manager or accounting director. When that person’s knowledge walks out the door, the mad scramble to figure out what that person did, when and how they did it is on!


And what happens when a new person starts? Training and supervising new team members are time consuming and often inconsistent. It doesn’t have to be that way.


Four good arguments that documenting procedures should be higher on the “To Do List” are:


  1. Getting Agreement

All stakeholders who are involved in a process should have a role in documenting that process. Adopting an inclusive approach ensures that each person’s role is accurately reflected. Working together also promotes discussion about improving the process.


  1. Eliminating Misunderstanding

Documenting a process provides opportunities to clarify it for all stakeholders. Processes that are only communicated verbally are subject to misinterpretation. Think about that old game, Telephone. The message at the start is never the same at the end!


  1. Providing  a Consistent Reference

Documented procedures can be used for training new team members, or for periodic refresher training with the existing team. Errors could be due to missing a step. Referring to a written procedure helps team performance.


  1. Supporting Intended Results

A procedure document is the perfect place to state the purpose and expected result from the process. Stating the purpose and expected results keeps all stakeholders focused on a common objective.


Tired of repeating the same instructions over and over again? Too many errors? Stop figuring it out from scratch every time…document those procedures!

Tools to Get the Job Done

If you don’t have the right tools, jobs take longer and don’t turn out well. Those jobs often need fixing or re-doing later. It’s the same with people. Trying to get a job done without qualified, experienced people costs your organization more money and aggravation in the long run.


Think that lower compensation saves money? Think your budget isn’t big enough to invest in the people you really need? Think about it this way: What does it cost not to invest in knowledgeable and experienced people?


Organizations are exposed to five risks by not investing in the right people:


  1. Limited Capacity

People without the necessary skills require more supervision and are less familiar with the latest practices, systems, laws, and other areas. To grow or to stay competitive, organizations need people that keep up with changing conditions and new methods.


  1. Turnover

Unqualified hires often result in higher turnover. Hiring and training takes time. Vacancies put stress on the rest of your team. Time and stress are not expense items on your financial statement, but those costs are real.


  1. Higher Error Rate

Unqualified employees make more errors, which is time-consuming and expensive to correct. And that assumes the errors are detected; undetected errors create costs you cannot identify.


  1. Inefficiency

Experienced people know what to do and how to it because they’ve seen it before. They assess new situations quickly and accurately. Inexperienced people take more time because they are figuring it out as they go.


  1. Regulatory or Legal Compliance Issues

Employees who are unaware of compliance issues can harm the organization, increase costs, and tarnish reputations. Issues can range from industry-specific issues to general business concerns, such as taxes and payroll.


Getting the right people on your team isn’t easy, but it’s impossible if you don’t pay enough to attract and retain them. Considering the five risks of not investing in the right people can reduce the expense of making a cheap decision.