Standard Operating Procedure

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A standard operating procedure document lists and details step-by-step information on how to execute a task. A full document of standard operating procedures is common in every industry, from telecommunications, to healthcare, to banking, to manufacturing, to construction. Every industry has standard practices and protocols which are outlined for employees in standard operating procedures, or SOP documents.

How to Write a Standard Operating Procedure

Creating a standard operating procedure is about best business practices – you, as a business owner or manager, create a standard for your employees to follow that helps them understand when a task is safe and complete. Standard operating procedures are often used to keep employees as well as customers or patients safe and healthy, but they can also be used to protect information, ensure correctly calculated pay checks and taxes, and define good customer service.

Once you have created multiple standard operating procedure documents, many businesses choose to bind these documents together in a manual which becomes the employee reference handbook. If an employee has a question regarding basic health and safety, how to use a machine or other tool, or even how to answer the phone, they can check the manual and reference the standard operating procedures relevant to their question.

Why Standard Operating Procedures are Important

For too many companies, the manual is written in the early days, and rarely if ever updated when new and better operating procedures are implemented. These manuals can sound “corporate,” meaning they are too formal, and sometimes even have a legal bent made to protect the company more than instruct the business’s employees. If your company’s manual or other standard operating procedure documents are out of date or sound too negative or formal, you should consider rewriting the manual with new instructions to ensure everyone understands the best practices for the business.

Why Use a Standard Operating Procedure Template?

Our free Standard Operating Procedure Template can help you get started rewriting your business’s standard operating procedure documents and even the employee manual. This basic template gives you formatting assistance and helps keep you on track to complete the new SOP documents in a timely fashion. If you have more specific questions regarding health and safety, however, you should reference OSHA laws as well as your state’s local laws to ensure you do not tell employees to take part in unsafe practices.