Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Processes and People

               Many organizations are successful due to their people, particularly the most specialized and experienced employees or volunteers.  However, there are times when vacations or turnover leave organizations without the knowledge to operate effectively on a day-to-day basis.  Without established processes and procedures for replacements to follow, there is room for confusion and errors that cost time and money.  The key to avoiding the disruption of workflow is to make roles and processes work independently of the personnel as best as possible.
               A great example of the power of processes is what happened this year at Organiz-ER.  When the accountant took an unexpected absence this past year, I was able to step in and carry out some of those duties because of the processes and procedures in place.  Detailed instructions in a procedure manual, in addition to printed instructions in corresponding folders, made it relatively easy for me, and probably anyone familiar with the business, to carry out the basic accounting functions for several weeks.  One tool that made it easy to follow was numbered folders.  Many tasks are complicated and require several steps but numbering the steps in separate folders and leaving detailed instructions on how to perform each step makes even some of the most complicated and foreign tasks manageable to an inexperienced person.
               While there is an initial investment to create policies and procedures, they only need to be written once and revised as needed to be effective in keeping things running smoothly.  It’s an investment that could pay for itself with once absence as processes have the potential to save a replacement worker from spending hours trying to figure out how to perform tasks correctly.  Plus, just one mistake could negatively impact an organization and procedures significantly reduce the chances of error.

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