What is Process Documentation?
Productivity and performance are two employee metrics that are notoriously hard to track.
- Frustrate your staff members by asking for constant updates on their progress.
- Enforce strict targets to gain a clear picture of the total output being produced.
Neither is a particularly ideal approach, especially when it comes to managing well-being within your organization.
After all, it’s well-known that overbearing leaders can unintentionally push team stress levels to a breaking point, driving conflict and turnover rates.
Thankfully, there is a solution; one that promises a variety of benefits to an organization… business process documentation.
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What is Process Documentation?
Put simply, process documentation is a project management strategy that requires employees to record the steps they take when completing a task.
The resulting outline can be as detailed or as brief as an organization would like, and it usually provides key insight into whether or not your team is performing as efficiently as you’d like.
Through it, you can identify whether or not individuals are following outdated processes to complete a task; providing specific and focused employee training to get them up-to-speed.
What’s more? By encouraging employees to capture and explain every element of their work approach, you force individuals to consider whether or not they believe they could be doing something in an ineffective way.
This self-reflection encourages continuous improvement and makes teams more accepting of organizational change.
Why is Process Documentation Important?
However, business process documentation isn’t only useful as a measurement tool.
It’s an incredibly powerful asset to businesses, encouraging task transparency in remote environments and promoting autonomy in your workplace. It:
- Eradicates the need for lengthy and frequent progress meetings.
- Encourages employees to take responsibility for their professional development.
- Allows leaders to receive real-time updates on tasks.
That’s not all.
A business that enforces process documentation is one that is regularly creating valuable, educational assets that can be used to onboard new staff members and conduct employee training, enhancing learning and development journeys.
Ultimately, by comparing your employee’s approaches to specific tasks, you can identify the most effective approach and share it with your team so they can work in harmony.
For example, if one member of staff has designed an innovative and time-saving way to complete an important job (that they submit at a higher quality than their colleagues), this information can be shared to improve team performance and drive business success.
The Top Benefits of Business Process Documentation
With a variety of use cases for process documentation, it’s clear that there are numerous benefits to implementing such a strategy in your workplace.
Internally, you can:
- Optimize core organizational processes.
- Streamline employee onboarding procedures.
- Provide interactive, personalized training.
- Create accessible resources for struggling employees.
- Share knowledge across your company.
- Increase employee engagement.
- Eradicate wastage and reduce mistakes.
Alongside this, by using process documentation to record the basics of your day-to-day tasks, you can easily contract additional workers when your team is busy.
Instead of rerouting an employee to teach someone everything they know, you can simply send over the information you have which outlines a clear structure workers should follow for completing tasks.
What’s not to love?
The Disadvantages of a Mismanaged Documentation Process
If you decide to start using business process documentation, there’s something you need to know… The initial implementation requires a learning curve.
Long-time employees at your organization will be used to completing some tasks instinctively with very little thought. Therefore, suddenly asking them to consider the “ins and outs” of the work they do might seem abrupt (and perhaps a little insulting).
Be mindful of change management when you introduce the documentation process to your staff and focus on the benefits it could offer them. Otherwise, you risk facing resistance and an unwillingness to learn.
From your employee’s point of view, process documentation adds new complications to their workload and requires a complete rewrite of their job expectations. This can be unnerving, often requiring a sensitive and supportive approach.
How to Encourage Your Employees to Adopt Process Documentation
“What’s in it for me?”
It’s a big question that many of us ask when someone makes a complex request. The workplace is no different.If you want your employees to adopt process documentation, you need to give them a valid reason to.
Use employee training best practices to your advantage, and try:
- Explaining your thought process behind introducing the strategy.
- Creating a clear set of instructions for your team to follow.
- Educating on the best approach for making a process document.
- Listing the specific process documents you’d like to priorities.
Then, you can review the results, answer queries, and provide further guidance until your team is on the right track.
Finally, you can publish these process documents for others to see (and, hopefully, recreate in their own way).
How to Make a Process Document
To teach your employees the correct way to record their task progress and make a process document, you first need to understand the procedure for yourself.
You can choose to be as detailed as you like with your explanation, providing resources to your team, and deciding whether or not to offer your favorite process document examples for them to follow.
Step 1. Define a Scope for the Process You Want to Document
What results do you want from your employees? What information is critically important for them to include?
Work with your team to define exactly what you require from their documentation process, informing them how you would like results to be presented. If needed, you could create a set of strict guidelines to follow with every task they record.
Step 2. Collect all Relevant Information for Process Documentation
Encourage your employees to include as much knowledge as possible in their process documentation. This should cover all the key aspects of the work they do to complete a task, and could include a recap of their first-hand experiences while doing so.
Where relevant, they might also need to involve primary and secondary research to further explain their approach. This could help untrained employees learn more about your operations.
Step 3. Create a Visual Outline of the Process
At this point in time, your staff members can get creative.
A long document with thousands of words isn’t going to engage or intrigue new staff members and encourage them to continue reading. It’ll be boring, overwhelming, and useless.
To have your team design process documents in a captivating and easy-to-understand manner, you can offer a template for them to follow.
Step 5. Add Details to the Process Documentation
Once all the core information has been recorded, it could be useful for your employee to revisit their notes and see what they’ve missed, expanding on any directions that could be unclear. The addition of these little details should help clarify their meaning and improve communication.
Step 6. Get Feedback on Your Process Documentation
Always encourage peer-reviews of process documentation within your organization – especially when multiple employees are completing the same tasks. They can provide constructive advice to each other, hone their approach, and offer the best possible results to your end-user. This will build team relationships and encourage employees to take control of their professional development.
Step 7. Make Your Business Process Documentation Easily Accessible
Once the asset has been created, it’s no use to anyone if it’s buried in a set of folders that no one can find.
- Make sure every one of your process documents is accessible by your organization.
- Clearly label your resources and store them in an obvious, safe, place.
- Inform your team of the resources you have.
- Let HR know which process documents would be particularly useful for a new recruit.
What is Process Documentation? – FAQs
Introducing a process documentation strategy to your company won’t be instantaneous. It takes time.
Before you can put a system in place, you’ll first need to educate your employees about why you want them to start recording the work they do – making them more likely to be receptive to your request.
Still have questions? Perhaps these insightful FAQs can provide the answer to the thoughts itching in the back of your mind.
- Why should I use business process documentation?
If you want to stimulate continuous improvement across your organization and provide accurate training to your employees (new and old alike), process documentation has become a proven strategy for creating an effective and productive workplace.
- What’s the best way to document a business process?
Get your staff members involved. Rather than making presumptions on what approach individuals take to complete a task, request that they start making their own notes and produce a step-by-step outline of the way they complete specific duties.
- How do you write a business process document?
Above all else, clarity is key. Recording information in a way that’s understandable by other colleagues will prove crucial in creating an asset that can be used by your organization. While detail is important, it needs to be laid out in a way that makes sense.
- What is a process document example?
The most commonly used process documents in an organization are a variety of how-to guides. They are used by all departments to conduct employee training, and, the likelihood is that you likely already have some that are used on a regular basis.
Manage Online Process Documentation through DAPs
Across the project management market, there are hundreds of online process documentation software services.
Each one promises to enable your team to smoothly record their step-by-step approach to tasks, creating a well-structured and easily digestible asset to share around your organization.
To onboard them onto such a system, consider using Userlane’s Digital Adoption Platforms.
We automate online training to provide an engaging and interactive learning experience, aiding someone to adopt a new piece of software, and ensuring task proficiency.
This way, you can provide the maximum level of support to your employees as they learn how to follow your new procedure, effectively using the platform you provide and following a documentation process… with no corners cut.