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By Craig H
If your organization depends on responding positively to challenges, you probably need a standard operating procedures document. Such a document will define the actions necessary for dealing with such a challenge, and help members of your team understand their roles in responsibilities. Here are some tips for writing such a document.
First, work closely with the heads of each department to gather information about what events warrant a policy. Consider the types of challenges your organization was formed to undertake. Then, consult with your teams about what the best practices are for handling each of those situations.
If there is some disagreement, make a note to work out the details later. Initially, you want to focus on outlining the essential policies that need to be included in your document. Such an outline will help you nail down the details at a later time.
Now, organize the outline in a logical manner. Apply a numbering system so that you can easily reference particular policies from other sections of the document. Assign a whole number to each main policy, and a decimal for each subsection of a policy.
Now, work through the details of each procedure. Write without using jargon that may be misunderstood. Instead, use clear language, and include a glossary definition for any word that may not be understood by readers.
After you draft your initial standard operating procedures, ask your department heads to review the document, or to assign the review to a member of their team who has expertise in the standard operating procedures. This review gives all parties a chance to review the content for accuracy and work out any disagreements.
After incorporating comments from the review, be sure to spell check your document. Then, prepare a finalized version, either for print publication or online viewing. By publishing a website version of the procedures, you can easily make the document available to teams across great distances, and add useful features such as full-text search.
Now that your SOP document is available to every member of your team, ask them to read it carefully and sign a form verifying they have read it. This will improve retention and help readers understand the importance of the document.
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