Workflows this, workflows that. But what exactly is a workflow? Simply put, it’s a sequence of processes that facilitate the completion of a task. For instance, you likely have sets of steps for your team members to follow—from lead generation and sales calls to client intake and offboarding.

Regardless of industry and size, every business can benefit from optimizing workflows. Clean, straightforward, and streamlined workflows save time, improve output quality, and reduce mistakes and operational costs. (That’s a lot of wins!)

But there’s no way to improve and implement changes when you have no clear idea of what happens at every stage. This is where workflow documentation comes in to save the day! Outlining your business’s workflows provides you with a roadmap of your company’s processes, helping you make better decisions as an entrepreneur and leader.

If your workflows are giving you a headache (or you don’t think you have any), here are five reasons you need to start keeping a record of your processes with standard operating procedures.

1. You can rely on processes, not individuals.

Think about it: If someone from your team suddenly files for emergency leave, how confident are you that the rest of your team can fill in to complete their tasks in the same manner and quality? Will business continue uninterrupted, or will you end up running around putting out fires?

The same goes for an employee’s resignation. Are you confident their fine-tuned processes will remain in your company, easily turned over to their replacement? Or is there a chance of losing everything they know when they leave the company?

Great business owners know their team is their greatest asset, but they also recognize the importance of creating contingency plans to cover any gaps. By documenting your company’s SOPs, you’ll effectively secure your way of “doing business” and make it easy to transfer responsibilities and assignments as needed.

2. It promotes accountability in the workplace.

Effective SOPs detail who is responsible for specific processes and when they hand it off for the next steps, so everybody remains on the same page. A clear delegation of tasks fosters transparency and accountability in the workplace, so you’ll have a better grasp on who is staying on task and where any inefficiencies start.

SOPs also prevent confusion within your team, as everyone will know which tasks fall within their duties. You won’t have to worry about things falling through the cracks because Employee A thought Employee B was handling an invoice when, in reality, Employee B has their plate full of inquiries, so ultimately, nobody sent the invoice — and nobody got paid. 

Instead, your employees can stay in their lane, confidently knowing what they need to do and how to accomplish it. Documenting workflows also mitigates internal conflict, as you’ll reduce misunderstandings and avoid blame-shifting when work is duplicated or projects are stalled.

3. Onboarding new hires becomes simple.

If you fail to outline internal workflows clearly, you can expect that new additions to your team will feel overwhelmed or confused about their actual roles and responsibilities. As a result, they may become dependent on colleagues or managers rather than working independently, hindering the whole team from maximizing their productivity.

Alternatively, employees may end up creating their own methodologies to get through their to-do list without much guidance. However, such an approach can clash with other team members and create obstacles in existing workflows, wasting time, energy, and resources.

Workflow documentation minimizes redundancies and incompatible processes, so your company runs like a well-oiled machine and your employees feel confident in their roles.

4. You maintain a consistent customer experience.

Even the best offering on the market can’t succeed if your customers are left unsatisfied by their experience. Consistency builds trust and confidence in your brand, earning the raving 5-star reviews that keep inquiries flowing in regularly.

Of course, SOPs are at the crux of consistency as they keep internal operations on track to deliver an excellent client experience every time. When customers see you are organized in your work and will deliver results consistently, you’ll gain their trust and loyalty, ultimately improving your bottom line.

5. You’ll scale faster and with fewer detours.

Workflow documentation lays the foundation for your company’s growth! You must understand your company’s processes — even if you have employees running the show. As the strategic CEO of your business, SOPs help you identify the workflows that contribute to your business’s growth and those that don’t. 

Getting a bird’s-eye-view of your team’s operational performance allows you to make smart decisions that can advance your business further in less time. You’ll know which processes are effective and worth strengthening, as well as those that can be retired in favor of better alternatives. You’ll also identify opportunities for increased efficiency, like implementing automations or redistributing responsibilities across your team.

Struggling to find clarity in your workflows? I’m here to help! Get in touch with me to invite order, organization, and productivity into your business — your schedule and your team will thank you!