Change is inevitable. Year to year, small variations can render processes obsolete – or at least inaccurate – and that means that annual process reviews are critical for keeping documentation accurate.
Whether it’s a software update, an adjustment in a service offering, a new version of a product, differences in company policy, or any of a range of other changes, your internal processes should match the current operations of your business. To keep things up to date, schedule annual reviews of every single process you use.
It might sound daunting, but if you build a system for reviews and updates, it can actually be quite simple! For each process, set a date for annual review (as opposed to tackling all of them at the same time). Involve the people who work directly with these processes – as they’ll be the most familiar, and have the strongest handle on minor changes that require updates.
Even further, you can have staff members keep working drafts of updates throughout the year. If they’re making notes of changes as they happen, creating a revised process at “update time” will that much easier. Because every company is a bit different, work with leaders in your organization to determine what approach works best for you.
Some businesses may want to constantly revise processes, making updates as soon as changes arise. This can be difficult in massive companies, however, so keeping a running tally of changes throughout the year – with one major, thorough update at a set point – may be the best approach.
Whatever the changes may be, the importance of these reviews remains the same. The more accurate your processes, the better people can do their jobs, and in turn, the more successfully the company operates.
On the other side of the coin, outdated processes can do an incredible amount of harm. While select staff members may have enough working knowledge to carry out tasks without processes (or an internal sense of the changes that occur over the course of the year), this likely isn’t the case for everyone.
Accurate documentation is what allows new employees (and plenty of existing staff) to execute their jobs with clarity and conviction – knowing that they’re taking the right steps, remaining compliant, and delivering the best products/services to customers and clients. Even for seasoned members of the team, referring to documentation helps them stay on track, and reinforces “the right way to do things.”
When such process information is outdated, people will still use it as a reference – which means they will do their jobs incorrectly!
This could be minor, like stocking an item in the wrong area, or catastrophic, like missing an essential part of a form or overlooking a new rule of OSHA compliance. Both have consequences for the overall success of your company.
So, the solution to these potential problems is quite simple: review and update your processes AT LEAST once a year. Develop a system that works for your company, and make sure that every person in your organization has accurate resources to rely on. If you need assistance with updates, a process audit, or simply have questions about how you can best handle process reviews, contact us at any time!
This stuff is essential. Don’t let your processes fall behind, and drag your business with them.
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