Every business owner has to face the challenge of building standard operating procedures (SOP) documents. Aside from the amount of time and effort required to build SOPs, they also face the dilemma of choosing what platform works best: text or video.
Standard operating procedures consist of step-by-step instructions that are collated by the business or any organization. These steps help employees complete tasks effectively and according to company standards. SOPs also help them achieve high-quality output, efficiency, and consistency.
We started with text SOPs here in Outsource School. We were running our eCommerce business, buying and selling products on Amazon then when we created an SOP for filling orders as this was the a daily task for our VAs. As the years went by, we have created a combination of text and video SOPs which have both resulted to significant positive impact in our operations.
So to answer the question posed above, none is better than the other. An SOP that preferably has both video and text is best, and here is why:
When you give both text and video SOPs to your employees, you address both visual and reading learners. Some people find it easier to comprehend and grasp instructions written in text but have difficulty understanding procedures shown on video.
This situation can also be the same for those who find video SOPs easier to understand. Making sure that standard operating procedures are available for both platforms eliminates this dilemma. This assures you that everyone on your team understands the company guidelines and processes.
Whether it be a procedure written in text or displayed on video, an SOP will give employees a glimpse of how tasks are carried out. This is especially useful for newly hired employees as it shows them what your company’s processes are when it comes to particular tasks. This will also serve as a guideline on how to complete tasks according to company standards. This provides uniformity in their output.
On top of this, SOPs usually include common challenges employees face when working on a task as well as possible solutions. This helps a lot as it not only makes the task easier to complete, it also saves the employee time from having to figure out how to solve a problem.
A standard operating procedure presented in the text serves as a guide that your employees can go back to anytime. This is especially useful if you are a business that manages your team remotely as you won’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over. Additionally, text SOPs can be considered as a cheat sheet that they can refer to when working on a task.
Written SOPs do not only work as a reference for your employees. It is also a tool you can use to hold them accountable for their actions. A written step-by-step procedure can help you set standards for your workers which you can use to evaluate their performance.
Standard operating procedures are not only beneficial for your employees but also to you, their manager. These documents can help guide you in evaluating the performance of each member of your team thus allowing you to rate your employees fairly.
What most organizations do not realize is, SOPs can help build employee expertise through routine processes. Working with no SOPs can lead to more errors and miscommunications.
This is not to say that employees should be treated like robots. However, if you hire the right people and train them well, you will eventually find yourself working with people who work autonomously and who always use their best judgment when it making decisions. Transferring knowledge to new hires is always a critical part of the process.
Every step of the procedure should be discussed in detail. This removes the confusion that employees may experience in the absence of a point of reference.
Performing repetitive tasks will allow your employees to learn the process by heart. As a result, they can execute these tasks seamlessly and more efficiently.
It is important to revisit and update your standard operating procedures regularly. Doing so keeps your organization up to date with new regulations, technology, and best practices in the industry. It also ensures that your procedures and policies are still effective and consistent with your organization’s goals.
Some organizations may need to add new sections to existing SOPs and revise and delete older parts. SOPs, whether in text or video, provide a more accessible avenue to make this possible. Because employees can easily access the processes, updating them will not be as hard.
Traditionally, employees are informed of any updates on SOPs through face-to-face meetings. This method decreases the productivity of the organization as a personal orientation eats up a lot of time. You have to do it for every department, which makes it all the longer to finish. These days however, a quick email sent will suffice.
While it may take longer to do both, it will save you significant time and money in the long run. Having both SOP formats will take a lot of weight off your shoulders while assuring that your employees are as productive.