The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


Leave a comment

Stop Confusion With SOPs-Create Your SOP Manual In Simple Steps

What if one of your key employees didn’t return to work tomorrow? Would someone in your office be able to step in and perform their job seamlessly? Probably not, unless your office has SOPs in place, otherwise known as Standard Operating Procedures.

In the aftermath of the natural disasters occurring recently and the inevitable reality of your employees not living forever, it is critical for your office to create SOPs. SOPs are a management tool to streamline your business. They are a living document available to all staff and describe detailed instructions on specific work processes. Your SOP should include:

  • Who will carry out a specific task
  • What supplies and resources are needed
  • Where the task will take place
  • When the task must be performed
  • How to complete the task

SOPs form the foundation of an organization and should be written to achieve specific results. The purpose of SOPs is to support employees in the daily operations of the business, ensure clarity and make certain employees know policies and standard methods for accomplishing specific tasks. They provide written documentation of best practices and a foundation for:

  • Job descriptions
  • New hire and employee training
  • Benchmarks and tracking to measure productivity
  • Performance evaluations

With SOPs in place, management can feel confident that daily operations will run impeccably.

How to Write SOPs

Writing SOPs isn’t as hard as you may think. It sounds like an overwhelming process, but the payoff is critical to your firm’s operation. Use the three simple steps below to get started.

  • Identify who will manage the project. This person will be in charge of coordinating, tracking results, implementation and completion of the SOP manual.
  • Determine who will be involved in the process. Typically it is easiest to have each employee list every task they perform on a daily basis from start to finish. I have found it to be a manageable process by starting with daily tasks, then moving to weekly, monthly, quarterly and finally annual.
  • Finally, employees should take one task at a time and document what they do to complete the task. Download Ironstone’s SOP Template to get started!    Ironstone SOP Template

Tipping Points

  • Test each SOP prior to implementation
  • Identify training or qualification requirements to complete the task
  • Identify resource materials needed
  • Schedule bi-annual or annual reviews of the SOP to identify any updates, gaps or changes
  • Consider onsite and offsite storage of your SOP manual
  • Define terminology that may not be familiar to all employees
  • Upon completion, use a three-ring binder with sheet protectors to house your manual and include a table of contents

SOPs will provide clarity for your entire team and will allow employees to readily take over any specific task whether it be during vacation times or filling a vacancy within the firm.

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance

Contact Ironstone with your questions & let’s get started! 

Have a question or comment for Ironstone? Contact us!>>

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


1 Comment

How To Increase Your Effectiveness

How To Increase Your Effectiveness

Ironstone believes that one of the best methods for operational effectiveness is to define your standard operating procedures for your practice and create multiple tracking and reporting systems that measure your results.  You should create reports and checklists by observing your current projects and processes, including the sequence of each.

For example, a powerful client engagement process consists of the design and creation of Financial Advisor service teams, client segmentation, service matrices and new/existing client workflow systems.  The fusion of these elements increases the efficiency of managing the workload while increasing the level of the client experience.

It’s imperative that each project and/or process that you are using in your firm has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).   The goal is to be efficient and effective.   The SOP should include:

  • The name and description of the current project/process
  • Define the sequence of events from the start to the completion of the project
  • Outline the implementation steps to complete the project
  • Create checklists or use supplemental information to aid in the management of the project
  • Determine the key metrics to be measured and how
  • Set a schedule of regular communication regarding team progress
  • Periodically review the processes to determine if any changes or updates are necessary

At Ironstone we find that the best way to start is to observe your current projects and process (or lack thereof) by taking detailed notes and surveys of day-to-day activity.   Make your list of what processes are in place or need to be in place and then create the standard operating procedures for each.

There are many areas within your personal and professional life where you can put this into practice.  Some of these include (but are not limited to) time management, methods for prioritizing, balancing life and work goals, staff meetings, marketing plans, client appreciation/retention, demographic analysis, and database management… just to name a few.

We know, it sounds like a lot of work, right?   You can’t have a full understanding of your business without tracking results along with measuring and analyzing internal processes.

Let us know how you create and manage your Standard Operating Procedures, your best practices, and what areas of assistance you need in developing effective operating procedures.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your internal reports and tracking systems.  You will also want to download our Reports & Tracking Checklist!   2.14.12Reports&Tracking

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  The Human Element-Leadership