Standardizing processes may sound intimidating. Some may paint a negative picture in their heads of people being forced to work like machines to ensure efficiency and maximize productivity, but this is not what standardization looks like.
First of all, a standard exists not to control: A standard exists to ensure the same level of quality is delivered the same way and the right way every time. Standardizing your processes is meant to make things better for the people behind the operations. It’s not about what helps the company: It’s about what helps the people going through the process and, as a result, the company benefits.
Here are four ways standardization can help your company succeed.
#1 Improve clarity and eliminate ambiguity and confusion.
In my work leading teams through process improvement, the number one root cause of all operation problems is this: Someone not knowing what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it or how they were supposed to do it. Having a standard process solves this problem.
Standardizing your processes eliminates the need for guesswork and gets rid of duplicated efforts. When your processes are standardized and documented, everyone involved has a good understanding of how things work. Processes are adaptable when they are clearly defined. And when processes are clearly defined, so are roles and responsibilities.
With a clear set of instructions about when and how to complete a task, employees will no longer waste time trying to figure out how to do that task, if not duplicating work already done previously. This way, they can focus more on doing instead of guessing.
#2 Build and maintain consistency.
Consistency is king. Consistency is one of the reasons IKEA became a household name. One of things that Ikea takes pride in is that if you visit any of its stores around the world, you will get the same experience. Building and maintaining consistency is impossible without process standardization.
Without standardizing your processes, each of your employees will have their own way of doing things, creating inconsistency. You can expect your employees to deliver inconsistent work across inconsistent timelines. This means your customers or clients are not receiving the same quality of service.
But when your processes are standardized, your employees are not only delivering the same level of quality consistently, but they are also delivering the most streamlined service possible.
#3 Improve employee experience, loyalty and retention.
This work of standardization is done primarily to improve the lives of the people behind the process. People can breathe a little bit more when processes are streamlined, and everyone will thrive when roles and responsibilities are super clear. According to Gallup’s research, thriving employees create a thriving business. One of the reasons is that employees who have a clear direction have 54% fewer missed days due to health issues caused by stress.
When employees see that their organization has their best interest, they become loyal employees who are willing to go above and beyond to help the company succeed. Moreover, with better work experience, they are less likely to find another job elsewhere. They will choose to stay.
#4 Finally, standardization is what will help you build your reputation as a market leader.
Building a reputation of being a market leader that people look up and trust is what will come in the longevity of standardizing your processes.
One of my favorite quotes from Stephen Covey is that “when trust exists, things happen faster and more effectively.” What you want is for both your employees and your customers to trust your processes. To earn their trust, you have to make your processes repeatable and predictable. And you can only do this by standardization.
No one becomes a market leader overnight. If you want to be a company that people trust and other organizations want to copy, you have to be consistent in showing up and iterating your processes across all customer and employee experiences.
In love and respect,