Training your employees on why they do something is just as important as training them what to do and how to do it. Process Documentation is the framework that gives you a roadmap on exactly how to go about this!
You may be wondering what exactly this looks like and how you can apply these concepts to your business.
Let’s teach a class of high schoolers how to change a tire. We want them to understand not only the order of steps to take but also the reasons why each part is necessary. Very likely most of them will only have to tackle this job once or twice in their lifetime and since it’s not a skill they will use every day we want to impress on them the most important points and why certain steps are absolutely necessary!
One of the most foundational parts of communicating information to other people is keeping it simple. Keep it clear. Keep it concise. Let’s face it: Most people skip over long chains of instructions. For example, how many times have you sent out a detailed email of an upcoming event to your employees only to have half of them ask you when they are supposed to be there? It’s why companies hide the details in the fine print, right?
Our teenage high schoolers are even more distracted than the rest of us, so let’s make sure we communicate only the necessary information. Here’s our framework:
There are 4 components of the job breakdown that we’re going to organize into our framework:
- Important steps (What)
A logical segment of the operation when something happens to advance the work
- Key Points (How)
Anything in a step that might: make or break the job, injure the employee, or make the work easier, i.e. “hack” or “trick”
- Reasons (Why)
Reasons for key points. Employees want to understand “why” they are doing something. This helps make valuable connections.
List the tools, parts, or information required for each step.
We are going to go through this framework systematically to train the students on what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it. Here we go!
Step 1: Important Steps
The first step we’re going to teach our students is to take safety precautions. The next part of the graphic tells them exactly what we mean by “perform safety precautions:” These are the key points of the first step.
Step 1: Key Points
Step 1: Reasons (Why)
This is probably the least security-conscious demographic in all of humanity, so just saying it isn’t enough. there is. If you don’t remember anything else, remind yourself that you can’t skip these things because they pose a hazard to your safety and that of other drivers. It’s great to tell you to put the jack on a flat surface, but it’s easier to remember if you imagine the car falling off the jack.
The next part of the framework lists the tools, parts, or information they will need to carry out the step in the first box:
Step 1: Parts/Tools/Info
Now we move on to the next thing listed in important steps:
Review the steps, key points, rationale, and tools to get the job done, reviewing the documentation framework.
The next step is to loosen the lug nuts. What are the chances that when the students are out on the road with a flat tire the first thing they are going to do is jack the car? I think most of us have the visual that changing a tire involves using that jack! We need to tell them why the nuts need to be loosened before jacking the car: If the tire isn’t gripping the road it will just spin. Yet simple, but time-saving detail.
Good process documentation lends itself to improved efficiency, understanding, workflow, and compliance. In the case of our high school students, there will hopefully also be an added level of safety awareness. When employees know exactly what to do, how to do it, and most importantly why, they are more productive. There will be fewer mistakes, less confusion, and less wasted time. Aligning your people to your purpose will improve their engagement and output!
Interested in learning more about process documentation? Check us out at www.epszone.com.
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