There's a File for That
Documentation keeps your team current and consistent
By April Hatfield
I’ve been a coordinator. A curriculum developer. A process mapper. A team manager. In each of these roles, proper documentation was key to smooth operations.
In our industry, things don’t stay still. As good as you may be in your role, it’s impossible to remember everything you need to know, especially when change is so rapid and constant. Without proper documentation, employee errors, such as misquoting pricing or not following the correct steps of a procedure, are all too common.
Documentation is important because it:
- Gives staff the latest information at their fingertips;
- Allows for more productive calls and customer interactions;
- Ensures consistency of procedure and response among employees;
- Means fewer calls and questions to managers and colleagues; and
- Allows for faster onboarding of new and interim employees.
There are lots of ways to store your documentation. Of course, old-school paper files are an option, but digital documentation via Google Sheets, Sharepoint or ProcedureFlow, for instance, is better. It’s safe, easily accessible, usually has revision tracking and has search capabilities far quicker than sifting through papers.
Here are a few other tips to ensure your documentation is as effective as possible:
- Don’t over-document. Only record what is relevant to your staff. If there is a list of instructions for a specific procedure, put it in bullet or number point form so it’s quick and easy to read.
- Keep your documentation organized. If it is too difficult to find the information, people will not use it.
- Make documentation part of your organizational culture. It should be part of the job for everyone to use it and keep it updated.
How does your team handle documentation? What works for you?