Why Operational Documentation Really Matters
It might not seem straightforward, but the benefits of having an up to date and accurate business process documentation are much more imperative than you may think. The need for a proper operational package can be driven by different organizational triggers and objectives. Some common scenarios include:
Regulatory compliance: Highly regulated industries (e.g. financial services) more than others require strict compliance in terms of documenting your business processes. This task then becomes mandatory and cannot be ignored – it’s not a “nice to have” process.
Going public: In this scenario, a private company may be applying for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). This is a maturity milestone for an organisation, and having clear and well-documented business processes becomes a key element in this process. Evaluating the underlying business model, understanding the foundation of an organisation is extremely important, in particular when dealing with potential investors and shareholders.
Organic growth of the organisation: Your business is growing and expanding at a fast pace. For instance, you are on a hiring spree. Maybe you are opening new offices or branches in new locations around the globe. You must be able to give your staff an operation manual, which teaches them how things are done, how every task is tackled and approached. After all, you don’t want to find out one day that your branch in Manchester does things completely differently from the one in London. When an organisation reaches a certain size, it is essential to have a structured approach and a common understanding of how to fulfil common responsibilities.
Training and other HR requirements: The need for proper documentation sometimes becomes obvious only when your former employee(s) leave, for any reason, and a new hire needs to take their place. Routine activities and daily tasks which could be previously accomplished blind-folded may not be so easy in the eyes of a new joiner. No matter how skilled and experienced your new resource is, some form of training needs to be provided and detailed documentation becomes crucial in this scenario. This will save your organisation time and money in terms of training and will also clarify and ambiguities in terms of procedures and activities.
Standardization mandate: Your executives may be looking for ways to stop re-inventing the wheel, and to improve efficiency and repeatability of common tasks. For example, it’s not the job of a customer service agent to invent new ways to solve problems. Their job is to guide the customer to resolution in a fastest and safest way possible. In the grand scheme of things, ironically, standardization of processes can free up time and resources for innovation.
Read our upcoming article ‘5 Steps to Embedding Operational Documentation in the DNA of Your Organisation’ to understand how to tackle an operational documentation project.