The Streamlined Business Blog

Are Your P&Ps GOOD or Bad? Here’s the Definitive Test

P&Ps quality checklist imageMany companies have heated internal debates on this question: “Are our written policies and procedures (P&Ps) good or bad? “ How do you know?

Some people measure quality based on whether P&Ps exist and are physically accessible to staff, whether they are grammatically correct, or how they look. Criticisms range from “Our P&Ps are too long” “We don’t have enough pictures” “We need different fonts.” “Playscript format is best” “No, a flowchart is the answer.” “We don’t need details.” “We need much more detail.” and on and on.

When it comes judging to the quality of your policy and procedures manuals, it’s all a matter of opinion, right? Wrong! In this post, we show you how to tell OBJECTIVELY if your corporate policies and procedures are “good” or not.

The definitive test is how you answer this questions: Are we getting the PERFORMANCE results we want?

The term “Performance results” is a little broad, so we’ve broken it down into 7 specific areas relating to operations and training. If you answer YES to just one question, your standard operating procedures are either missing in action or need fixing and you are not getting the return you should for the time, money, and effort you’re spending on writing policies and procedures.

Diagnosis Checklist

  1. Training Difficulties: Does it take too long to get new employees productive? Do supervisors spend too much time answering the same questions? Is training inconsistent? (How are you training your people?)
  2. Inefficiencies, Slowness: Does it take too long to: Perform routine tasks? Open new locations? Take a business concept and “franchise” it? Implement major changes? Roll-out new systems? Launch new products?
  3. Errors, Waste (Quality Control): Are people making too many errors? Do you have difficulty controlling the quality of service, products without a lot of labor and oversight.
  4. Knowledge Retention: Are there areas where you would be at significant risk or project failure if your STAR performer or consultant left today? Are best practices in peoples’ heads? Are your “experts” overwhelmed by people constantly asking them for help?
  5. Inconsistency / One-offs: Are work processes inconsistent? Is there a significant variance in how one person performs a job vs. another person? Do people often re-invent the wheel?
  6. Fire-fighting: Are managers spending too much time fighting fires, dealing with mundane issues, instead of mentoring employees and focusing on innovation?
  7. Regulatory Compliance / Liability Risk: Are there areas of exposure? High risks? Are Board Members signing off on policies they aren’t reading and don’t fully understand?

Any one of these issues by itself is serious. The financial impact could be costing you tens of thousands of dollars (or could possibly even you out of business).

A “good” P&P system is the most efficient and least costly way to alleviate these problems, so if you still have them, whatever you’re doing (or not doing) isn’t working. Here’s the bottom line.

If people are USING your corporate policy and procedure manuals and achieving the expected results with minimal supervision, then you get an A+. If you have operations, quality, and training costs under control and down to a science, then whatever you are doing is working. If you have a systematic and sustainable way to transfer the best practices of your star performers then BRAVO.

That’s the true test of whether P&Ps are GOOD or not. Nothing else really matters.

Through our Operations Mapping approach and Zavanta software, COMPROSE helps our clients design their policy and procedure systems that meet this test. Check out the new video The Best Method for Reducing Workplace Errors in our Video Gallery.

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Updated May 25, 2020


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