5 Tips on How to Write Procedures to Help Your Organization Execute Your Strategy

Have you ever been frustrated by putting a lot of work (and money) into a set of procedures, only to see them sit on a shelf without being used? Or maybe you do not have procedures because you haven’t had the time or you want people to be innovative, only to have to deal with the chaos created when everyone does it their own way. Successfully executing your business strategy relies on key business functions that are executed consistently and flawlessly, following clear procedures. Here are some key tips to help you successfully write and implement procedures that support your business strategy:

Tip #1 Determine Where You Need Procedures – Creating too many procedures or the wrong ones can overwhelm and frustrate employees. Focus on the areas where procedures are required by regulations, internal needs, and to live up to key objectives of the organization.

Tip #2 Write Procedures With Training in Mind – Most procedures are written to satisfy technical and regulatory requirements rather than how to train employees effectively to execute on the requirements. If you focus the writing style on the worker, you can still meet those regulatory and company requirements while simplifying how you can train employees.

Tip #3 Keep Them Simple – It is more difficult to simplify requirements but well worth the effort. Simplify by breaking procedures into Tasks with no more than 5 or 6 Steps for each and use pictures and graphics to replace words where possible.

Tip #4 Style Matters – When an employee looks at a procedure, it should be inviting to read. The use of pictures and graphics, white space and overall layout should make it easy to grasp key concepts at a glance. If procedures look and feel technical, with loads of text, they make it difficult to engage employees.

Tip #5 Reinforce Them to Get Results – Procedures should only be created to achieve specific outcomes. If you write them with training in mind, incorporate them into the training and competency process, and then follow up and reinforce them on the job, you can achieve amazing results.

Procedures often get a bad reputation as something that is needed but seldom used and followed. Leverage your investment by developing procedures that are easy to teach, follow and reinforce to execute your business strategy effectively. With routine tasks being performed flawlessly, you actually create more time in your day for innovation and creativity to improve and grow your business.


  

“Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex”.

Albert Einstein

Compliance Versus Commitment

We’ve worked with many organizations who initially implemented safety programs where they were focused on what they needed to do to pass an audit, live up to client expectations or meet regulatory requirements. As a result, employees also became focused on how they could comply with the requirements the easiest way possible so they could “get their work done”. A compliance-focus may achieve performance improvements in the short term but over time, execution usually suffers.

Here is an example of how the best intentions can lead to a dangerous result. As part of a safety week, our company did a ride-along with a service technician. When we arrived at a remote site, the service technician told us that the client required us to complete a job hazard analysis before we left the vehicle. We questioned how we could possibly do a hazard analysis without examining the work site, but those were the rules. The usual items were checked off on the form provided by the client – slips, trip falls, pinch points, etc. and we were asked to sign the form. We obliged, after indicating that we would do an inspection before any work commenced. During our inspection of the area we found hoses piled up, blocking emergency exit stairs, an open hatch in a dark corner where someone could easily fall into an operating agitator, electrical cords strung across a walking area that could catch you at head level…..and the list went on with over a dozen significant items to correct before the work could be done safely. Workers were complying with the rules but not committed to meaningful results.

A committed organization will achieve exceptional results and be creative in keeping themselves and others safe. In our example, the organization should have focused on meaningful outcomes, rather than a mechanical completion of a form.

Characteristics of a Committed Organization

  • They train workers to understand why something needs to be done a certain way, and how it will benefit them and their co-workers.
  • They involve workers to develop work practices and procedures that are easy to integrate into their work routine.
  • Follow up to gather feedback and reinforce expectations, making sure they give and receive feedback respectfully.
  • Make sure their requirements achieve meaningful results.
  • Support workers to manage hazards.

Characteristics of  Committed Employees:

  • Ask questions respectfully, to understand why they need to do things in a specific way.
  • Provide input into better ways to do things.
  • Ask for feedback on their own performance to ensure they are getting the best results.
  • Hold each other accountable to work safely.
  • Take care of hazards and never leave them for someone else.

Commitment is achieved through strong partnerships between leaders and employees in a culture that supports open dialogue, where feedback is given and received respectfully. Passing audits and living up to internal and external expectations is easy for a committed organization that is focused on meaningful results.

Common Causes of the Workplace Incident

By Khalid Ismail via hsseworld.com


Accidents can happen any time obviously, they’re not intentional, and there are infinite possibilities for something to go wrong. You can avoid many accidents, however, by taking certain precautions to ensure that the most likely mishaps will not occur.

Mike Holmes, from Make It Right, reminds us of a time that he almost lost his eyesight from doing a task that he had done nearly a hundred times before. He calls you to know your risks and put safety on your list.

via hsseworld.com

Here we’ve gathered some information about the most common causes of workplace accidents so you can be prepared to prevent injuries and other incidents:

Lifting

It is so easy to injure yourself while lifting heavy objects. Eliminate back injuries and muscle strains by ensuring that everyone practices safe lifting procedures. It’s always best to recruit a helping hand or to use machinery to move large objects.

Lighting

Poor lighting can be a major cause of trips, falls, and other workplace injuries. If you can’t see the hazards, they’re much more likely to become serious problems. Every area in the workplace should be well lit, including offices, warehouses, parking areas, and outside entryways.

Violence

Hundreds of people die each year from workplace violence. Employees in conflict with one another tend to be especially unsafe when working together. OSHA has guidelines for violence prevention if you need help resolving these issues in your workplace.

Trips/Falls

Consistently one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, trips, and falls continue to be a major problem. Slippery floors, improper footwear, rushing employees, and weather conditions all contribute to trip and fall hazards. Make sure all employees are well trained on the relevant safety information and verify that the physical conditions in the workplace are up to standards to lower the number of injuries in this category.

Another huge cause of trips and falls is a messy workspace. Good housekeeping is vital to making sure that each and every employee is safe from unexpected hazards on the floor and/or around the workspace. Mike Holmes lists this as one of the 9 signs that you have hired a bad contractor. You know if it made his lists it is a big issue safety first.

Stress

Physical and mental stress are less commonly recognized workplace hazards, but they can cause serious or even fatal accidents. Employees must be in the right mindset and physically sound for the job. Communicate the importance of mental and physical health to all employees. It’s important to take breaks and seek help with managing stressful situations.

Fatigue

As mentioned before, it is imperative that employees show up to work physically prepared. A lack of adequate sleep can cause exhaustion, inattention, and accidents. Even a well-rested employee can grow fatigued while on the job, so it’s necessary to take breaks at regular intervals or when needed.

Shortcuts

Employees should never take shortcuts on the jobs, especially when dealing with dangerous machinery or circumventing safety procedures. The regulations are in place to protect employees and to make sure everything is done correctly.

Video about Shortcuts

This video about incident fatality shows how safety is the first priority and shortcuts always lead to undesired events or fatality.

Overconfidence

Employees should be confident about what they’re doing, but overconfidence may diminish carefulness or attention. Overconfident employees are likely to ignore safety precautions and forego double-checking their work. It’s important for them to understand that accidents can occur any time to anyone, no matter how skilled or experienced.

Poor Housekeeping

A messy workplace is a dangerous workplace. Objects and debris on the floors pose tripping hazards, wet or dirty floors can cause slips, cluttered surfaces can conceal sharp objects, poorly contained chemicals are an obvious hazard… you get the picture. Besides the dangers, good housekeeping sets a good example for other safety precautions as well.

Lack of Preparation

No one should ever be on the job without the proper knowledge, training, certifications, tools, or PPE. Preparedness on the job is one of the absolute best ways for employees to stay safe.

Mental Distractions

It’s easier said than done, but employees must try to leave personal matters at the door. Being distracted on the job is similar to being fatigued, stressed, or overconfident. Workers simply cannot perform their jobs to their full potential if their mind is elsewhere.

Have you noticed any of these behaviors in your workplace? It may be time to set up some refresher training to reduce the risk of injuries and improve overall performance in your organization. Better safe than sorry, as they say.

A New Year – A New Learning Platform

Making Employee Training Easy

Time is limited and you need your team trained so they can get to work. Success is based on purchasing, distributing and completing online courses efficiently. We take pride in delivering engaging online learning that takes complex topics and makes them easy to understand and apply. In the same way, our delivery system is equally important to streamline the process for learners and training managers.

Introducing New Features

We are pleased to announce the implementation of an upgraded platform to provide an exceptional user experience. Here are some of the key improvements:

  • mobile device compatibility
  • no need for separate user and administrator accounts; simply buy course licenses and distribute to other learners
  • use “Organizations” to make sure licenses can be used and distributed to anyone in the company

What’s Next?

Our commitment to help simplify complex topics is moving forward quickly with our 4 STEPS/4 SKILLS approach for Training/Competency as well as Safety. Stay tuned for launching of these ground-breaking courses over the next couple of months as well as integrating the approach into our existing offerings.