Every organization has rules, policies, procedures and standards that employees must abide by called Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). SOP training is crucial because not only is it the backbone of the organization but it also becomes the living, breathing foundation that evolves with the organization.
Policies and procedures are everywhere. An example of a simplified SOP is a fire evacuation. In health care it might be the standards and procedures by which surgical devices are cleaned and processed or what assets are purchased in the banking industry. As you can see, SOPs are very important to organizations and govern every aspect of it.
It is important to make sure all you’re employees are on the same organizational page and the most effective way to do that is with SOP training. Of course, SOP structures are organized differently for every organization. Many companies are still utilizing a paper based system for their SOP documentation. This method requires multiple sheets of amendments and is often difficult to get employees to read and adopt SOPs this way. Another option used quite often is a shared department drive to distribute SOP training material. Unfortunately, these materials are created within emails with poor audit trails and lack of approval captures. This causes a mismatch of information when policies are not centralized, which can be a regulatory nightmare.
Content Management: SharePoint is a key tool to utilize for SOP training. One of the best features of SharePoint is its robust content management abilities. Unlike a paper-based system or department share drives, SharePoint can host all SOP material in one centralized place which can significantly reduce emails and duplicated work. Shared drives tend to lack in search functionality but by using metadata in SharePoint, users can seamlessly find what they want, when they want.
SOP Creation Workflows: SOP creation requires the input of multiple people within the organization. It takes a team to write the policy which can be tricky as these leaders may not always be in the same physical location. Utilizing technology that makes sure all employees are working on the most current version of the document and captures the discussions around the SOP creation is key. SharePoint workflow encompasses every element of policy creation, including drafting, reviewing, approving, revising and publishing.
Audit trails: When an internal or external audit is performed, approvals and employee discussions are key indicators of how and why a policy was implemented. They provide evidence on how the document evolved, who was a part of the process, and where the policy initiative occurred. They are also helpful when it comes time for reviewing policies – organizations know who to talk to or where to look for pertinent information. The audit feature in SharePoint is a major bonus for business, especially for regulatory compliance and records management.
Version control: The efficiency of your compliance team to work with operational leaders is important, version control ensures that employees are always accessing the most current version of the document. Often when collaborating through email and shared drives, employees are left out of the loop with reply-alls and employees may be working on different versions of the document. But with SharePoint version control, there is a clear audit trail of how the document evolved and who was involved in the process during what part.
Centralized SOP Hub: Creating a SharePoint Team Site is great to bring together employees in one area for SOP distribution and training. When compliance team’s use shared drives there are often multiples of the same policy in different locations which makes it troublesome when it comes time for updating - some files are updated while others are accidentally overlooked. By bringing everything together in one hub employees know where to look for information and all information is automatically updated.
Active directory integration: - A major component of SOP training is who is going to have to manage the employees within the system. The HR team already has to manage the active directory (the email lists associated with employees and departments) but with the ability to integrate active directory with SharePoint it streamlines the process makes is so they don’t have to manage yet another program.
Employee training and certification: A large piece of the compliance puzzle is to ensure that your employees actually read and understand the SOP material your organization provides. This can be difficult through email as there is no way to record whether or not the employee read the SOP. With an LMS like ShareKnowledge, you can take your SOP training one step further. ShareKnowledge is a learner-centric system with additional features like e-signatures, form-based authentication, built-in testing/assessments, enhanced reporting and much more.
Running a successful business is no easy task and long hours are spent determining the best possible way to do things. It’s important that employees are privy to this information and why SOP training is so crucial to the success of any business. SOPs help businesses achieve predictable end results that can be repeated again and again. Using SharePoint as a tool for SOP training allows organizations to work smarter to achieve their goals.