Episode 136

Getting Your Team to Efficiently Use Your SOPs

October 11th, 2023


Documenting your fabulous SOPs for your business is one thing, but getting your team on board and using them efficiently is another.
We dive into:
  • What you actually have documented
  • Communicating the SOPs with your team
  • Resistance to change from your team
  • Monitoring the team’s use
  • Encouraging your team
Connect with Nicole on Instagram and LinkedIn


Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners, we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be.

If you are looking for smarter ways to work and create space and time freedom in your day, then you’re in the right place. All right, let’s get started. Let’s go. Hello. I’m Nicole Smith, COO, operations specialist and systems designer here at the Artisans Business Solutions, and welcome to take control with Nicole.

So today we are going to continue on that beautiful conversation around SOPs, but in particular that question that might be hanging on the tip of your teeth. As we used to say when we’re doing drama, tip of the teeth, why am I team not using them? Oh, goodness. Yes. So we’ve heard this many times before, where you’ve invested all this beautiful energy into creating these SOPs for your team, and they’re just not using them.

You’re still experiencing mistakes. Stakes and errors, inefficiencies, complaints, people really, uh, not connecting in with these new ways of working or even the documented ways of working that are really you are looking to introduce into your business or solidify into your business to bring that consistency and efficiency that you are seeking for your business, your team, and your clients.

So let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very fabulous place to start. What have you actually documented? So maybe your documentation is really not that easy to understand. We’ve seen it. You’ve done your very best at capturing the information, and it’s a big dump of words into a document, no formatting, it’s a couple of one, twos and threes, no images, there’s just really easy words all together, you know what they’re about, but for someone that’s brand new to the thing, it’s not clear.

It’s not easy to enjoy. How many times have you seen a document and you’ve literally closed it again? I’m very sensitive to the way that documents are formatted and the, you know, the, the structure that it’s going through. And so when something is just a whole big dump of words, It’s not easy to find the place that I’m wanting to go.

So we love to create SOPs in ClickUp format. The reason being is that you can have easily those beautiful sub-pages, sub sub pages, if needed, and have it all bringing all up to the top level of what it is. However, if you’re using Google docs or word documents, whatever it might be, or other wikis that don’t have that option, you can use other things like styles and headers and Table of contents to really bring out the experience for those people, stage one, stage two, stage three, or step one, two, three.

And what are those sub actions being really clear on what information is here? What is important? What automations are in place as well? Because we may just go through and it, you might say, Oh, at this stage, click this status. And then this happens. But what happens? When does it happen? Where does it happen?

Who does it happen to? So being able to be really nice and clean and clear on what you’re trying to communicate to the new user coming in, picking up this document for the first time and moving forward. Now, let’s talk about existing team as well. That’s what we’re looking at here today. Your team have been doing this.

They’ve been doing the doing for maybe, who knows, 10 years. So, they’ve got their own ways of doing the thing. It’s really important to have them as part of this journey through. Talk through this process. If there’s any changes to the ways of working, efficiencies, that you’re looking to introduce, systems, new templates, etc.

Communicate this with them. Walk through the SAP together. Know that this is a guide for them to get friendly and really connecting with this new way. How are you supporting your team to actually really connect in with that? Something else you may consider. It might just not be relevant to your team’s work.

Okay, so there might be something that is specific to a role in the business that maybe only one or two people use it. We wouldn’t expect the rest of the team to come in and connect in and understand how to create a weekly newsletter if they’re actually in the accounts department. We want to be really specific around what SOPs are relative to what positions and what roles.

The same as the data information that you’re sharing from a security point of view. All of our team don’t need to have access to Xero, for instance, your financial records of your business. However, there will be a core select people potentially that it is important for them to have access to that data.

Think about your SOPs in that same way. It’s for purpose. So if you have a team member who is responsible for XYZ, then the SOPs that they will be looking at and referring to are SOPs XYZ. We’re not going to give them the rest of the alphabet if they’re only going to need this little micro moment. So when we’re thinking about that as well, how are we structuring our library, our document storage, our reference numbers, all of those things to support that purpose delivery action.

Well, Tandis doesn’t understand why they need an SOP. I’ve been doing it forever. I know what buttons to press. Why would I need to look at something when I do it day in and day out? But I know best. I know how to do it. We’ve all had these conversations or had these thoughts potentially. However, when we do go through the process of either reviewing your processes, In a business or documenting them.

There are things that jump out on the page at us that we are just not even aware of from the day to day operations. We’re on autopilot half the time when we’re looking and doing things that we know inside out. And so when we’re looking at our SOPs and really being able to bring them and integrate them into the business, our team, give them that opportunity to understand and connect with the fact we’re looking to make your life easier here.

We’re looking to remove the memory, potentially, of that process, when you can have it clearly documented and it’s a step-by-step, do da da da da da, and so all of a sudden the value of this document will shift.

They’ll understand that it’s there as a tool to assist, not a tool to replace. It’s not there to make their role redundant as such. It’s capturing business IP, so as the business continues to evolve and their responsibilities evolve, when we find efficiencies, guess what? They can be doing more exciting things.

If they don’t have to press 10 buttons and they press 1, they’ve now got 9 button-pressing moments to do something else in the business. How exciting when you’re looking at that, I know for me, I’ve always looked at ways of working that’s more easier and more enjoyable for my own personal self. And so when we’re able to communicate that and can connect our team with that experience as well, you’ll wait, they’ll be wanting to document absolutely everything in your business.

So there are some reasons, as we touched on, that some employees may not want to use or document SOPs. Uh, you know, there are some warning signs if you’re finding that your team are really resistant. Is it that, uh, they’re trying to, uh, maybe they’re worried about their position. Maybe they’re thinking that by capturing and transferring this information that they don’t need it.

It really is the opposite. I find that when we are capturing this information, it is amazing how much space and capacity arrives back into your mind without having to hold all that weight of knowledge. I know for me personally, getting it all out and allowing myself that freedom to capture, uh, documentation, like capture that SOP and documenting it and allowing it to be out in the world has given me space to.

Be creative and look at different things and actually stop and pause and think, do I need to be doing that anymore? Is that actually supporting my team to be fabulous? What can we do to evolve it? How fabulous. It’s, it’s amazing. If we give our team that empowerment to show them and teach them how SOPs can really support them and their teams, if they’ve got teams reporting into them, ah, it’s beautiful.

So if you’re finding that it’s a real struggle town to get these things moving, here’s a couple of things that you can really look at. So first of all, go and get buy in from the team. Support them to understand why they’re important. And really support them to understand how, when they use these tools, that it can support them to be more fabulous in their days to day operations.

We want to ensure that we’ve allowed enough time for training and connection for these ways of working. We want to be able to easily have them in a location that they can access at the click of a button. Or a wiki library that they can search for keywords. Have you filed them in a beautiful structure?

Is it a document or is it a library? The other thing you can do if you want to take these SOPs to the next level is you could potentially build like a SharePoint training library with videos and documentations and all those sorts of things, or use something like Kajabi or a learning library that’s specifically built for these structures.

So many options available. Or keep it simple, open up, click up, get your SOP document happening. You should see the templates we use over here at the artisans. They are just fabulous, if we do say so ourselves, but really give them that opportunity of all of the knowledge and links to show them where they are and how they can use them to really benefit them, their experience.

We then want to make sure we monitor the team’s use. So how important is it and how are we actually looking at that implementation of that new system, that new way of working and that utilization of these training documents? Have we got some sort of a sign off? If it’s a regulatory thing, if I think about compliance, right, whenever you go through compliance training or compliance manuals, we need to have a physical signature that or an e signature that you’ve done the training.

Cause you can be audited on that and then come back to say, Oh, no, person has not done that. So our SMPs are similar to that, maybe not as rigid, but if there’s something that is really integral to your business, that needs to be communicated until you do ensure that that’s being connected into our team members minds.

What is that process and how are we going to monitor that for them? Remember as well that SOPs are not stuck in stone, that these are a snapshot of a way of working at that is right for us right now, these things can always iterate and evolve as you learn new things, as your team members learn new things, as you are evolving as a business leader.

So the opportunity is to capture them now. So we’re not starting from scratch as we’re continuing through that growth period. Another thing you could think about is actually rewarding our team for utilizing these new ways of working and actually using the SOPs, encourage them to continue using them to create their own, to really support the business as a whole, to capture that IP.

Get it out of their individual minds and it really create this beautiful library so that whoever comes in through whatever role they might transition into, or there might be something that, you know, is really important to share with the team. You’ve got that documented and it’s really easy and accessible for anybody to access.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I am really excited to hear about what you have been doing in your business with your SOPs and how any tips or tricks that you use to really get your team on board into connecting with your new ways of working and your processes, structures of your learning libraries.

Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you have the most fabulous rest of your week creating clever systems for your business. Bye now. Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected in the socials yet? If not, please come on over.

I’m on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions so I’d really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me. And I’d love it if you could leave a review and of course, share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week.

And until next time, see you then.


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.