Solvo Global

Solvo Blog

Our blogs have helpful HR information and resources for any type of business.

Stay up to date with Solvo.

10 ideas to improve company culture

10 Company Culture Ideas to Improve Employee Engagement

Creating a company culture that will make your employees excited to come to work is a difficult task. You have constant bills and the pressure to keep improving on your mind all the time.

However, it’s important to remember that employee engagement is what helps to keep a business running. This starts with having the right policies in place to promote engagement.

We hope to give you all of the right tools to move your business forward by creating an environment your employees want to walk into every day. Check out these ten company culture ideas that will improve your employee engagement and take your business to the next level.

What is Employee Engagement and Why is it Important?

If you could turn your horrible morning into a better one, you would surely want that. Work can actually be a place that accomplishes this goal if the right policies are in place. This is what employee engagement strives to do.

Employee engagement is about creating a workplace that encourages everyone to work together to improve a business. The goal is to create an environment that stimulates people to give their best every day when they are at work.

This is why you want employee engagement. It makes the workplace an area where people want to be. When everyone wants to improve the place they spend one-third of their life, it makes everyone better.

You should foster a workplace that grows instead of stagnates, and keeps your business moving. Employee engagement helps retain employees, increase business, and retain customers. It leads to happy people and more money in everyone’s pockets.

10 Company Culture Ideas for Employee Engagement

Now that you know what employee engagement is and why it’s important for your business, here are ten company culture ideas to get the ball rolling.

1. Host Team Events

Hosting team events can help with engagement

Bringing your team together when there isn’t work involved is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. Simple team lunches or after-work events create an atmosphere where employees can get to know each other without the pressures of work.

A lot of companies will do a yearly event, but you should strive to create more frequent events if possible. Something as simple as ordering bagels every Wednesday or catering a luncheon on Friday for the team gets people up, moving around, and interacting with each other.

You can also improve engagement by asking your team what types of team events they would like to participate in. This approach gets everyone involved in the events that are being hosted, and the people who wanted it to happen will be more encouraged to be involved!

2. Start a Newsletter

Having a newsletter to keep everyone informed and aware, can boost your team. This strategy can also give your more creative employees an extra activity at the office. It can be an exciting activity for someone to help bring everyone together.

Including company announcements, fun facts about employees, or quizzes that help everyone get to know each other are some great ways to bring people together. Making a team feel more cohesive is the goal of a newsletter, and it basically writes itself after a few months!

Of the company culture ideas, this one is the quickest and easiest to implement. If a lot of people are interested, then simply rotate who is responsible for writing the newsletter each month.

3. Increase the Frequency of One-on-One Manager Meetings

Increasing the frequency of one-on-one meetings can foster trust.

Creating a stronger connection between your employees and your managers has huge benefits. Meeting weekly (or bi-weekly) can help to foster mutual manager-employee understanding.

With more frequent communication, you wouldn’t want to make each meeting about the nuts and bolts of the business. Simply having the manager interact and learn about the employee’s life will increase the bond that they have.

This bond leads to happier employees and people that feel like they are being heard in the workplace. It increases awareness of how your frontline workers are feeling and it gives the manager a chance to get to know the employees at a personal level.

This is a more individualized employee engagement method, but it can work wonders. Simply taking 30 minutes more a week out of your manager and employee’s time can increase productivity, engagement, and employee satisfaction!

4. Allow Work From Home 

With new technology comes new innovation in terms of employee benefits. Working from home is a huge benefit that is relatively easy to implement now because of programs like Skype, Slack, and other online collaborative programs.

Many jobs are already offered online, and the majority of workers are allowed at least one work-from-home day per week at their jobs. This creates an environment where working from home is preferred by a lot of workers and has proven to increase engagement drastically.

Employees that work from home call in sick less often, work more optional hours and are much happier to stay at a job with such a huge benefit. You can always research how to accomplish this yourself.

HR should know how to easily establish the working from home option. Work from home employees will traditionally be happier and ask for less money from the company. They translate the savings in gas, time, and food to you, which may then lead to a lower hourly wage to access these work-from-home perks.

5. Don’t Micromanage Employees

Micromanaging tends to give a manager more power while stripping power away from employees.

A lot of people are surprised by this one because you typically would want to make your employees as efficient as possible. But having rigid deadlines or talking to your employees every few hours about what is due tomorrow actually increases stress in the workplace.

When you aren’t micromanaging employees, projects are typically finished and completed to a high standard. Employees are always happier when you trust them to finish things on their own. Micromanaging tends to give a manager more power while stripping power away from employees.

With employee engagement being something that is voluntary, you want the power to be in the employee’s hands. This makes employees feel empowered to finish their own work, and it typically results in a better product.

Micromanaging has its place, but try to let your employees finish work in their own time. You may be surprised by the results and increased engagement when they feel empowered by your trust.

6. Make Almost All Knowledge Public

Making sure everyone knows how to make the office function well is essential to employee engagement.

A lot of companies have one or two employees who can complete crucial processes with the other 90% doing grunt work. This creates an imbalance. Empowering your employees with the knowledge to do 100% of the job is going to boost your business.

What helps employee engagement is empowering people with the knowledge that the higher-level employees have. Even if they don’t know how to use it or aren’t interested, try putting the steps for core processes in public documents.

This gives motivated employees the ability to step up without having to get one-on-one training with your top two employees. Giving everyone all the keys helps people move forward in the company.

When they move forward, they feel like they can engage in the company more frequently by suggesting improvements or changing processes to work for everyone. There’s no need to try to issue any secret formulas. However, a simple public document can work wonders for making people feel like they can immediately respond.

7. Help Employees Grow

Help your employees grow and you will see engagement soar.

The task of helping employees to grow tends to fall on the managers’ shoulders. Helping employees grow and become more educated is essential to improve employee engagement. If employees feel like you’re invested in their future, they’ll invest in yours.

This can be done by adding an education discussion to the one-on-one meetings with the manager. Your managers have already advanced to a higher position, so they can help your employees advance also.

Ask each employee what their goals are or what they enjoy most about work. Then, give them the tools to study and grow to work more on the jobs that they enjoy.

Once you know what they are interested in, give them a short, medium, and long term plan to accomplish those goals. If those goals are inside or outside the company, that’s perfectly fine! Hire from within if you’re able, or let them go knowing that they’ll work for you as long as they’re improving.

Yes, this means potentially driving them to another company. If they gain a degree or a crucial certificate, they could leave. But they will leave your company knowing that you helped them get to where they are. This creates an amazing company culture for your other employees. 

8. Ask for and Give Feedback Often

A lot of companies have a suggestion box or a feedback box for people to be anonymous. This is part of the way to increase engagement.

Obviously creating an avenue for employees to talk to your upper management is important. Creating plans and improving management based on employee feedback is even more important!

The whole point of having a feedback box is to make sure that employees feel like they are being heard. This means that your management team needs to let them know that things are going to change based on the feedback.

If a process is adjusted, or a piece of feedback is acted upon, make sure your employees know that you’ve done something for them. This will cause them to leave more feedback and provide you with more tools to improve your entire company.

9. Collaborate On Your Team Brand

Creating a team brand can be an extremely fun way to add to your company culture. Every company has a logo or slogan. Let your employees come up with ideas on how to create t-shirts, coffee mugs, or posters utilizing your logo.

This gives the employees something to invest in. Having a company t-shirt that the employees themselves created gives them a sense of pride. It also gives you extra marketing.

When all of your employees are walking around in custom designed t-shirts that they made themselves, it boosts morale. It gives employees something to talk about and bond over both inside and outside of work!

10. Create a Weekly, Monthly or Yearly Tradition

Making an event or team lunch that happens every week helps employees interact with each other and the manager. The more interaction there is in the workplace, the better!

There are thousands of ideas for weekly traditions on the internet. A lot of employees are just waiting for a fun event or way to interact. Give them what they want and create a fun tradition that happens frequently.

This is another place where you can get all your ideas from the employees! People have amazing ideas that are waiting to be shared. People may devise a pastry Wednesday, fake beard Friday, or hour recess on Thursdays!

The possibilities are endless! Even bringing back the tried and true secret Santa can help people come together. Think outside the box or within it. People just love to have a reason to interact.

The important thing is to establish a routine and a tradition so that employees can look forward to these fun events!

Engagement for Everyone

Employee engagement is key to the success of your business

Employee engagement starts with bringing everyone together and making them feel like work isn’t just somewhere to zone out for eight hours.

These company culture ideas will help drive employee engagement. Having fun events, frequent meetings, or amazing perks are easy ways to get people involved.

Look through this list and ask yourself how you want to improve company culture. A better company culture will lead to better employee engagement because people want to come to work and improve their lives!

If you have any questions or ideas you want to share, you can always reach out to us. At Solvo, we are always helping companies improve and grow in the direction they want for a better future.

Our top 10 hiring tips

10 Hiring Tips to Recruit the Workforce Your Company Needs

People leave their jobs because they quit, are laid off, retire or are discharged. The annual employee turnover rates across all industries was an eye-watering 44.3% in 2018. The cost of this is borne by both employers and employees.

All businesses need to find and keep the right employees. Keep reading to learn 10 hiring tips that will help your business retain people at all stages of the employment lifecycle.

Why is Employee Retention Important?

Some companies operate as if keeping employees isn’t important. They hire people with little effort or thoroughness. Then, they lose them just as carelessly.

Is there a reason why you should care about retaining people? Perhaps there are some benefits to having a lively turnover of employees … not really. What is the real cost of employee turnover?

There is a reason to care about your employee turnover and it’s not a misguided notion. It’s a serious commercial reason and one that could be the difference between your business being successful or failing.

In America, our poor employee turnover performance costs $160 billion a year. But, do you think it’s the mediocre and poor performers who leave your company? No, it’s your best people that are snapped up by the competition and the mediocre performers who hang around dragging your business down.

High-flying performers don’t appreciate being held back by their poor-performing associates. They deliver up to 400% more for you than your average employees. So who can blame them for seeking out opportunities where they are appreciated more. You are losing the soaring eagles amongst your employees and encouraging the turkeys to stay.

It’s time to do something about this sorry state of affairs. There are strategies that the best employees follow to attract, select and retain great employees. Do some or all of these and you’ll improve your employee retention rate and your business performance too.

1. Develop from Within

Develop talent from within your company

Some organizations have a policy of promoting from within. But, developing from within is not the same thing.

Promoting from within sets up an expectation amongst your employees that if they stay around for long enough, their turn will come. It encourages a culture of entitlement rather than high performance. People get promoted because they have served their time rather than because they are right for the job and the company.

Developing from within is a culture where your employees understand that there is a culture of opportunity. People have the opportunity to develop so that they can compete with external candidates.

A learning culture is one where everybody is always working on improvement. This helps people to get better at both their current job and perhaps prepares them for a future job in the company.

This has several benefits for your business apart from the obvious performance improvement. People stay where they get the opportunity to develop. They appreciate the investment in them and love being good at what they do.

Seeing people around them getting promoted and knowing that they have the same opportunity, encourages your people to stay focused, deliver results and grow.

2. Encourage Employee Referrals

When you have good people, they tend to attract other good people. Your good employees appreciate being on a team of high performers. Implementing an employee referral program allows your people to bring other good people to you.

An employee referral program encourages employees to sell the benefits of working for you in the employment market. Employees in your competitors’ companies soon learn that you’re a great place to work.

You can even incentivize the program by paying a bonus to anyone who introduces a successful candidate to your business. It’s best to make the bonus playable on completion of the new employees’ probationary period.

3. Give Candidates a Great Time

For some reason, many employers are careless about the experience they give prospective candidates for a job. They forget that any unsuccessful candidates go back into the employment market with a negative impression of that company. Like an unhappy customer, they tell their friends and family what a dreadful company it is and how happy they are not to get the job they applied for.

Next time you are recruiting, that candidate may be perfect but because of their experience, they are unlikely to reply to the recruitment advertisement. Not only that, they will have put off several other possible candidates from applying.

When job candidates come into contact with your company give them a great time. The candidates’ experience should be a positive one, even if they don’t get the job. Leave them feeling that working for you would have been a wonderful employee experience.

These candidates are then far from disappointed and disaffected. They become an active salesforce for your employment brand.

4. Exit Interview

Exit interviews can give you valuable information

When you lose somebody from your workforce, you should regard it as a learning opportunity.

Organizations often treat someone who resigns as if they have betrayed them. It feels like a personal insult or even a bereavement. The result is that communication stops or is uncomfortable for both parties.

Far from avoiding communication, you should open up the communication. There is much to be gained from a really good exit interview. Ask your employee for a meeting to discuss their reasons for leaving and make it clear that it will be a constructive meeting.

Just as onboarding is important for new employees to establish a great relationship from the start, off-boarding is important too.

Ex-employees can be a source of referrals for future jobs. If they leave feeling good about you and the company, why wouldn’t they encourage people to join your company?

These employees may even return to your company at a future date with more useful experience. If they are talented, why wouldn’t you take them back? Leave the door open for a future relationship.

Also, take the opportunity to learn any lessons you can about why you couldn’t retain this employee. This is especially important if they are a high performer. Take action if there is a problem you can do something about.

5. Take Diversity Seriously

Diversity isn’t just an ideal notation in human resource policy statements. It’s still less about keeping your company out of the courts and discrimination litigation. It’s an opportunity to attract and retain talented people.

Some potentially excellent employees are difficult to recruit and retain unless you are serious about actively supporting a diverse workforce. Remote working, flexible working, and part-time working are all ways you can appeal to some sections of the employment pool that find it difficult to work conventionally.

Child care and elder care can limit some very able people from working conventional hours. Think creatively about how you can organize work so that you can leverage this untapped talent pool.

Take seriously the likelihood that unconscious bias against some potential employees may be reducing your talent pool. Check your employment profile against the demographics of your locality. Are you failing to attract or retain any specific groups?

Explain to your management that unconscious bias is likely to be present. Demonstrate the evidence for it with objective data. Act to reduce the effect and tap the talent that is being missed.

6. Use Selection Centers

Use a multi-dimensional approach to recruitment and don't rely solely on interviews.

Interviews are a popular recruitment method. This is despite the fact that the conventional recruitment interview is a notoriously poor way of picking the right candidates. Both the candidate and the interviewer are on their best behavior.

A much more reliable method for selecting the best candidates is to use a multi-dimensional approach. Have an interview by all means, but don’t rely solely on it.

A selection center approach is one that uses psychometric questionnaires, group exercises, ability tests, and interviews to really get a well-rounded impression of candidates. Be clear about what you are measuring and what criteria candidates need to meet. Don’t be swayed by one person’s preferences but instead use a team of recruiters.

7. Set Clear Expectations

Be clear with candidates about what they can expect from the job. Don’t oversell a job and then under deliver. This is unethical but it is also a sure way to have a high turnover of candidates in the first few weeks.

Have a clear job description and share it with candidates. Many people will rule themselves out when they see what the job actually entails. Describe the job accurately including the mundane or tough aspects of the job.

It’s as important to be clear about what the behavior expectations are for people working for your company. A poor cultural fit is as likely to result in an early exit as poor job performance.  

If your culture is people-oriented, then let people know that they will be expected to behave in line with that. If it is a long-hours culture, let people know before they take the job.

When a candidate has been successful, continue to be clear about the expectations for job performance. Sometimes employees don’t deliver what is expected because it is not clear to them what that expectation actually is. Sometimes employees don’t understand what the consequences of not performing are either, so be very clear.

8. Recruit Great Attitudes

Great attitudes are more important than ticking all the skill boxes when it comes to hiring the right talent.

A great attitude is difficult to train. You can train skills and knowledge, but attitudes are formed in early life and affected by major life experiences. Recruiting people with a great work ethic or authenticity and training them in the skills they need is easier than the other way around.

Don’t be seduced by the idea that you can ignore poor attitudes if the candidate only brings knowledge, skills, and experience. These people are likely to undermine your culture, challenge your values, and bring down morale, not to mention cause top performers to leave the company 

9. Engage Employees

Truly engaged employees are more productive and more profitable. This is such a powerful effect that companies should put more effort into engaging their people. With only 15% of employees being engaged, it’s an untapped resource for many companies.

A further benefit of having engaged employees is that they tend to stay with you. Employee turnover is lower and absences decrease too. It makes so much sense to engage your people, but how do you do it?

Survey your people. Ask questions about their employee experience. Focus on the stuff you can do to improve engagement.

Empower people and managers to make a difference in the workplaces. Ask for people’s opinions and listen to the answers.

Make “engagement” a key performance indicator for managers. It’s such a key factor in performance improvement that this commitment to engagement is a strategic goal.

10. Be ConsistentIt's never a good idea to hire a candidate that you know is not ideal, even if it means missing your recruitment goals.

You shouldn’t accept second-rate performance in any area of your company. The same is true in employee recruitment and retention. It’s not clever to recruit and keep poor performers. So don’t compromise a business performance goal simply to hit a recruitment and retention goal.

Recruiting and retaining just anybody may not meet the needs of the company. Hard-to-get and hard-to-keep people may be what you need. Be consistent in driving for what the company actually needs.

Check that pay and benefits are competitive with the market. Also, check that you are providing the appropriate training and development. Check that the job design and opportunities for career development are attractive.

Make sure that all your human resource strategies are aligned and moving in the same direction.

Apply These Hiring Tips!

Recruiting and retaining good people is a worthy objective. Apply these hiring tips and give your company a shot at excellent benefits. It’s worth the effort. 

We invite you to talk to us about your staffing needs!

10 powerful employee motivation techniques

10 Powerful Employee Motivation Techniques to Use in Your Workplace

The good news is that 85% of American workers are actually happy with their jobs. But that doesn’t mean employers can’t and shouldn’t do more to motivate their employees. 

One reason to utilize employee motivation techniques at work is that disengaged employees cost American businesses around $550 billion annually. Meanwhile, businesses with highly engaged teams produce 21% higher profits. 

It’s worth learning how to increase motivation in your workplace. But if you’re not sure how to motivate employees, we can help. 

Keep reading to learn our top 10 most powerful employee motivation techniques to use in your workplace. 

1. The Easiest of All Employee Motivation Techniques is to Ask What Motivates Them

You’ll never know how to motivate employees unless you ask them directly. So, it’s best to find out what makes them get out of bed every morning. 

Ask them what they’re passionate about, including their goals, dreams, and interests. These can include both personal and professional passions. 

Great Leaders Show a Genuine Interest 

The more you know your employees, the easier it is to know what motivates them. Also, it’s a sign of a great leader when they show an interest in their employees.

This is known as emotionally engaging your employees.

Ways to Engage Employees

There are many ways to get to know your employees such as:

  • Introducing a bring-your-pet-to-work day
  • Playing games designed to get to know each other better
  • Create a bucket list quiz

You can even just take a walk with your employees. Furthermore, walking helps relax people and promote brainstorming. 

2. Schedule One-on-One Time with All Employees

Schedule one-on-one time with your employees to boost motivation.

While games and walks are fun, a more intimate way is to engage with all your employees on a one-on-one basis. This setting allows you and each of your employees to create clear and consistent goals and expectations together. 

Take time to hear their suggestions, problems, issues, and ideas. Discuss any performance issues and their work. 

Structured Meetings Deliver the Best Results

Make sure that these meetings are well-structured so it works out to your advantage. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Take action on the feedback you receive
  • Create a zone free from distractions
  • Ask your employee ahead of time what they want to discuss

Do your best to avoid giving them minimal feedback. Employees want to know how you think they’re doing. 

Prevent Potential Problems

Giving feedback once a week helps people quickly recover from, and correct mistakes.

It helps no one if you wait for six months before bringing up an issue. Instead, a weekly meeting is a chance to prevent possible ongoing issues and grievances before they start. 

3. Create and Implement an Onboarding and Retention Program

Being a new hire is stressful enough. You want to ease the transition and ensure that all new employees feel welcome and smoothly transition into your corporate culture. So the best way to do that is to create and implement an onboarding and retention program. 

The onboarding process should be designed to teach new staff members about their job duties and responsibilities, and also about your company’s culture. Let new hires know how they can thrive and contribute to your company’s culture. 

The training and support you and your team provide to a new hire from Day One set the tone for the duration of that employee’s tenure at the company. It also helps your company avoid staffing issues

4. Offer Wellness Programs

Offering your employees a wellness program can also do wonders in terms of motivation.

The average return on investment (ROI) for workplace wellness programs is $3.27. So, for every dollar you spend on a wellness program, you save $3.27 in reduced healthcare costs. 

You save an additional $5.82 in lowered absentee costs for every dollar you spend on wellness programs. And 87% of employees take health and wellness offerings by potential employers into consideration when deciding to take a job. 

Wellness Programs to Implement

Some wellness programs you can easily implement at work are:

  • Stress management programs
  • Financial wellness resources
  • Gym access

You can also provide incentives for engaging in healthy behaviors or offer other physical wellness options. 

5. Recognize Great Work

While employees get paid for their work, it’s also nice to be recognized for hard work in other ways. In fact, providing timely and meaningful recognition is a powerful tool you can use to inspire your team.

Don’t just recognize the big wins. It’s the smaller wins that lead to those bigger wins, so recognize those as well. 

Ways to Show Appreciation 

You don’t have to throw a big party for every little milestone. Here are a few ideas to express your appreciation and gratitude to your team:

  • Write a personalized note of appreciation
  • Use the internal portal to send a shout out
  • Have a team lunch

Highlight how their efforts made, and continue to make a difference. Focusing on what your team does right (rather than what they do wrong) helps motivate them. They are also more likely to focus on achieving their goals. 

6. Emphasize Collaboration Over Competition

Emphasize collaboration over competition to increase your staff's motivation.

In the past, competition in the workplace was viewed as a healthy way to increase production. According to research, 25% of people wilt in a competitive atmosphere.

Another 25% are neither negatively nor positively impacted. The remaining 50% benefit from it. 

However, men tend to embrace competition while women, being more risk-averse, tend to avoid it. Also, younger generations do not enjoy the competition and prefer collaboration instead. 

Sharing Rather than Hoarding Ideas

Instead of hoarding good ideas, they’re shared and built upon. Employees work together and uplift each other. 

Together they’re more focused on the greater goal. The end result is a wealth of resources, ideas, and differing perspectives that can increase productivity and sales.

Ways to Effectively Collaborate

  • Clearly define your purpose
  • Choose your preferred collaboration method
  • Involve the right people from each department
  • Share how collaboration benefits each member
  • Encourage collaborative behavior among team members

It’s hard to collaborate with a team member if they refuse to return messages. So, you should also set clear communication guidelines.

7. Set Small, Measurable Goals

Set small, measurable goals for your team to increase motivation.

As you look at the top of a mountain when you’re at the bottom, it looms above you. It looks tall, imposing, and sometimes, impossible. 

However, the only way to reach the top of a mountain is by taking one step after another and following the trail markers. Eventually, if you keep taking steps in the right direction, you will get to the top. 

Goals Can Feel Impossible

Goals are like mountains. They can seem impossible and you may be tempted to avoid them at all costs. 

And when that happens within a company setting, that translates into projects that drag on forever with no end in sight. It’s demoralizing to feel stuck. 

But it feels great when you’re making visible progress. Progress also signals that your work is making a difference. 

Setting Measurable Goals

Measurable goals act as a roadmap to achieving success. Start by setting goals that actually motivate your team. Then implement the SMART strategy:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Put the goals in writing. The physical act of writing down the goals makes it seem both tangible and real. 

Have your employees create an action plan. These should be the small steps they must take to achieve their goals. 

8. Encourage Cross-Functional Teaming

Encourage cross-functional teaming

Imagine your business was a machine. Like a machine, there are various parts that make up your business. 

You may have a sales team, a marketing team, human resources, and an administrative team. A machine may have wheels, gaskets, and a motor. But if those parts of the machine stop speaking to one another, problems arise. And the same is true for any business. 

What a Cross-Functional Team Does

A cross-functional team is a group of employees who possess different specialties and/or skills. This team is responsible for carrying out all phases of a program from beginning to end. 

Bringing people together from different departments to share ideas and achieve specific goals increases communication across departments. And it creates a cohesive work environment. 

You’ll find it leads to faster and more effective results. And it aids in motivating your teams when they all work together to attain commonly shared goals. 

Ways to Develop a Cross-Functional Team

Here are a few steps to take to ensure that you create a cross-functional team that produces the results you’re looking for:

Assemble the Right Team

Find team members with the shared skills needed to create a well-oiled machine. The best candidates are independent self-starters who are authorized to make important decisions. 

If possible, find members with previous experience. Those who require hand-holding won’t work well in these conditions.

Collaborative members should be able to work in a less-defined space. 

Designate a Leader

It’s more beneficial when a leader is designated. Make sure the leader is able to ensure each team member is an accountable self leader. 

It’s the team leader’s responsibility to educate, delegate, and give autonomy as well as following up on the team’s progress. 

Establish Clearly Defined Rules

Create a charter to define the project’s priorities. The next step is to create and approve a budget to provide everyone with a financial roadmap. 

Clearly define the outcomes you want and the time frame you want them achieved. Once all of these guidelines are established, the team members can do their work knowing what’s expected of them, when it’s due, and what resources they need to finish the work correctly and on time. 

Make sure that team members are all able and willing to communicate effectively together. Meeting together weekly helps keep levels of communication open and clear. This is especially necessary if cross-functional teams are not all working under the same roof. 

9. Provide Employees with the Right Resources

Provide your employees with the resources they need.

The most important question you can ask your employees is, “What do you need right now to do your job better?” Then, taking steps to honor their response will act as a huge motivational booster.

The right resources can be anything from needing more access to information so they can make the right decisions to moving to a new workspace to requiring better equipment. 

Offer Training Opportunities

Don’t just offer training opportunities that are required for technical, compliance or safety reasons. Also, give your employees the opportunity to gain new skills or knowledge in other areas. 

This will let employees leverage their natural strengths to advance their careers. While they may use these skills to transfer to another company, if you serve and value your employees well, most will stay. They will then utilize their skills for new projects to benefit your company. 

Create Mentoring Opportunities

Part of your continued onboarding process should include a mentorship with a senior employee. These mentors can offer guidance and act as a sounding board for new employees. 

It also helps make newer employees feel more welcome at the company. Mentors also benefit from this program by hearing fresh viewpoints from new hires. 

But, it’s best not to select an immediate supervisor to act as a mentor. You want free communication within these mentorship pairings.  

10. Celebrate Results

Celebrate your employees' achievements.

fun part of setting small and measurable goals is that you now have reasons to celebrate all the hard work everyone is putting in. No, you don’t need to go overboard and clap just because a usually tardy employee actually makes it into work on time for once!

But you should let every team member know exactly how much each of them contributed to helping the company move forward. Be specific when you’re celebrating. 

What to Say When Celebrating Achievements

Saying “good job” isn’t enough. And don’t stop at “amazing job,” either. Applaud an employee’s success and point out how it contributes to the bigger picture. 

A good example is: “Great job on the social media campaign – it’s going to help promote our brand.”

Let Us Help You Do Business the Right Way

Employee motivation techniques help owners, supervisors, and employees feel valued and appreciated. It also helps improve communication throughout the company. 

But you may need some help in implementing these ideas. That’s where we come in. 

How We Can Help

We provide everything from staffing solutions to HR training and development to helping companies increase their profitability while reducing HR risks. And we work with a  variety of industries

Building your business the right way means fewer growing pains. So, contact us to see how we can help you manage your business. 

A complete guide to workforce optimization

The Complete Workforce Optimization Guide for Your Organization

Inefficient internal processes cost companies up to 30% of their annual revenue. Unnecessary paperwork and meetings are the other two top time and money wasters

These three challenges top the list in every industry. Together, they rob companies of their competitiveness and growth potential.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Keep reading to learn how workforce optimization can help your company today. 

What is Workforce Optimization?

Workforce optimization (WFO) is a powerful business strategy. It centers on the ideas of:

  • Leveraging information
  • Maximizing employee and systems efficiency
  • Balancing key factors and outputs
  • Working “smarter” 

It may help to think of WFO as the business equivalent of achieving homeostasis. When your body is homeostatically balanced, life is great. You feel amazing. You rarely get sick. You can tackle every physical and mental challenge life throws at you. 

Workforce optimization works the same way. WFO brings your costs, scheduling, and customer satisfaction levels into perfect alignment. Your company runs smoothly. Everything flows seamlessly. You have all the resources you need for growth.

The core of workforce optimization is:

  • Knowing your business down to its smallest details.
  • Fine-tuning your operations to meet specific goals.
  • Streamlining and refining the flow of information and work within your company.
  • Reducing the potential for waste and error.
  • Empowering employees to do their best work.  

Who is it for?

WFO was originally developed by and intended for use in large call centers. It is now being adopted across industries thanks to the universality of its principles and strategies. 

As its popularity and reputation expand, WFO is becoming increasingly common in industries as diverse as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Financial services
  • Electronics 
  • Industrial food production
  • Commodities production

Almost every company and industry can benefit from implementing WFO.  

The Benefits of Workforce Optimization 

Workforce optimization offers a seemingly endless list of benefits. Most of these benefits fall within a handful of overarching categories. 

Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings

WFO practices eliminate waste. They cut wasted time, material, and labor.

Companies can see boosts of up to 30% more productivity by:

  • Initiating new processes
  • Using new software
  • Streamlining the flow of information

These strategies allow companies to grow their revenue without new infrastructure. Most companies also see savings through:

  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Lower turnover costs
  • Drops in other tangential costs 

Reduction in Compliance Issues

In workforce optimized companies, opportunities for miscommunication and mistakes are minimized.

This reduces the potential for compliance violations and it also enables companies to quickly recognize and correct problems should they happen. 

Increased compliance has numerous benefits. It spares companies from paying expensive fines. It bolsters their reputation in their industry and among customers. It also improves their standing with compliance monitors. 

Empowered Employees

Implementing WFO strategies empowers employees. Workers are equipped with the tools, resources, knowledge, and processes they need.

As employee satisfaction rates skyrocket, so does the company’s reputation as a great place to work. Companies can leverage both to attract, hire, and keep top talent in their industry. 

Improved Customer Service and Retention

Workforce optimization directly leads to higher customer satisfaction rates. Streamlined processes make companies more efficient and agile. 

This allows for prompt responses to customers and their needs. Improved information flow allows companies to:

  • Identify customer complaints faster
  • Act to resolve them more quickly
  • Respond to customer needs more effectively

Happy, empowered employees offer better customer service, often going above and beyond. Satisfied customers become loyal and repeat customers and recommend the company to others. 

Key Terms

The key terms to understand workforce optimization

To fully understand workforce optimization, it can be helpful to understand a few key terms as they are used in this context. 


One of the most common questions managers ask when first learning about WFO is “What does optimizing mean, exactly?” 

If you look up the optimizing definition in a dictionary, it will tell you that the word means “to make the best or most effective use of” something.

For the purposes of WFO, experts define optimized workplaces as those which have maximized their customer satisfaction scores while simultaneously minimizing their costs.

It is important to note, however, that in this context experts also see “optimized” as meaning that companies have fully invested in the right tools and technologies to properly support their processes and employees. 

Costs are minimized only to a point at which these crucial supports remain in place, not to such an extent that they are lost. 


Under WFO, experts see workforce meaning any and all of the employees a company may employ. This includes not only a company’s standard full-time and part-time on-site workers but also:

Workforce Optimization Strategies  

There are numerous WFO strategies and sub-strategies. Core practices include: 

  • Starting with the customer
  • Leveraging information
  • Investing in and empowering your employees
  • Restructuring internal processes for efficiency

Strategy 1: Start With the Customer 

If the definition of optimization is reaching maximum customer satisfaction at the lowest possible cost, it makes sense to start by understanding what makes customers happy. 

The first step in WFO, then, is to dig into your customer satisfaction scores.

Specifically, you need to identify what is keeping you from reaching 100% customer satisfaction. 

In this step, it is important not to filter information through your existing expectations, habits, and opinions. View your product or service through your customers’ eyes and create an objective list of problems or pain points as they experience them. This may include, among other things:

  • Consistency
  • Timeliness of delivery
  • Lack of options
  • Insufficiently responsive customer service personnel
  • Difficult to use customer service interfaces

You can collect this information from existing customer feedback or elicit fresh feedback using surveys or other methods. Once you have the information, you are ready for Strategy 2. 

Strategy 2: Leverage Information

What does leveraging information mean? What does it look like? 

The first step is truly understanding your operations. This involves identifying: 

  • What isn’t working well
  • The inefficiencies that are costing you time and money
  • Where roadblocks or delays occur in your processes or systems
  • Existing communication gaps
  • Areas where you are failing to satisfy your customers
  • Instances in which you are failing to engage your employees

Often, companies benefit from bringing in an experienced third party to assist them with this part of the process.

These companies often have complex analytical tools and software at their disposal which can speed up the process of drilling down through piles of information to get to the core issues. They are also skilled at creating the kinds of visual references company leaders need to clearly visualize and conceptualize the results. 

Whether you get help or do it alone, you want to reach a point where you can fully see your opportunities for improvement and their respective impacts. This will equip you to make smart, informed decisions. 

Strategy 3: Invest in and Empower Your Employees

Investing in and empowering your employees is key to success

Your employees are what make your company run. If they aren’t functioning at peak efficiency, neither is your business.

Building a strong workforce is a multi-step process, however, and every step counts. Optimizing your workforce involves finding the right people, engaging them, and investing in their success. 

Find The Right Talent and Engage Them

America is experiencing a skilled labor crunch. Finding and retaining top-tier talent has never been more difficult or more essential. 

As many companies are discovering, however, this is not a problem they can solve by throwing money at it. Studies show that today employee loyalty is purchased with empowerment. 

Finding and keeping the best employees requires that companies equip them with the skills, freedom, and tools they need to do their jobs. 

Doing so pays big dividends. Engaged employees bring in up to 20% more sales and consistently inspire 10% more customer satisfaction than their unengaged counterparts. This can lead to huge gains for employers. 

Invest in their Success 

Even the best and most engaged workers can’t give their best if they are hindered and hampered on all sides by a lack of vital resources. 

Use the lessons you learned from digging into the detailed information available to you after implementing Strategy 1 to determine what your employees really need.

This may include things like new hardware, software or new or expanded training. 

Keep Them in the Loop and Give Them a Voice

Not communicating with your workforce or communicating with them poorly is a common but incredibly costly mistake. It wastes time and energy, promotes mistrust and disengagement, and can even cause good workers to leave your company.

As part of WFO implementation, expect to:

  • Bring employees into WFO discussions from the very beginning.
  • Proactively address their concerns about the impact upcoming changes will have on their jobs and job security.
  • Keep them apprised at every step. 
  • Genuinely listen to their feedback and build it into your leveraged information systems.
  • Train both managers and employees in more effective communication styles, techniques, and processes.
  • Invest in technology and tools that simplify and improve communication between workers at every level, both within and across departments. 

Strategy 4: Restructuring for Efficiency

The final step in workforce optimization is restructuring your processes to eliminate existing inefficiencies and replace them with new efficiencies. This typically includes a combination of sub-strategies. 


Almost every company that pursues WFO will find opportunity and need to automate common repetitive tasks within their workplaces. Common examples include:

  • Scheduling
  • Employee attendance and time tracking
  • Task assignment 

Workforce optimization requires companies to think outside the boxes of their “legacy systems.” It is no longer viable to keep using a less efficient system simply because it is what you have always done. Investing in new, more effective systems will provide enormous cost savings long-term. 

Automated systems also provide ongoing feedback. This sets companies up with additional and up-to-date information to leverage. This is crucial for later iterations and refinements. 

Changing Workflows 

Companies engaged in WFO should expect to change up their workflows and scheduling. 

Workforce optimization allows companies to see exactly what they need when they need it, and where. This enables them to add the right people in the right places when it’s necessary. 

This level of insight and pinpoint accuracy and agility changes everything. 

Companies typically see:

  • New scheduling patterns
  • A new process of task assignments within and across departments and shifts
  • Different start-to-finish timelines and timeframes
  • Shifts in former roles, responsibilities, and interactions

Combining new technology with new workflows is essential to achieving full success in WFO. 


As part of their restructuring, some companies may even find themselves making the jump to AI. Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) systems with your human workforce can be powerful.

AI can often be assigned routine, non-priority tasks. This enables you to reassign skilled human workers to higher-value tasks. 

AI “chatbots” are an excellent example. Bots can often deal with regular, low-level customer inquiries, like where to find information on your website, for instance. Since chatbots can help multiple customers at once, this provides additional benefits. It frees up workers’ time and reduces customer-wait times. 

AI also makes ideal first-line customer receptionists for phone and email inquiries. They can be programmed to ask a few preliminary questions. Then they can accurately and reliably transfer customers to the right place.This saves employees time and prevents customer frustration. 

Start Exploring WFO Today

Start exploring how workforce optimization can improve your efficiency, reputation, and revenue today. Call the experts and let them start helping you now because there has never been a better time to reshape your workflow and workforce for maximum effectiveness.   

5 critical HR KPIs

5 Critical Human Resources Key Performance Indicators to Track in 2020

Human resources is predicted to top the list of business challenges across industries in 2020. 

There are a lot of forces in play, from an aging workforce and mass retirement of the baby boomer generation to the unprecedented rate of change in technology. Amidst this upheaval, the crucial role that employees play in businesses’ success remains the same. 

Happy, productive employees continue to drive companies’ success

Proactive employers are rising to the challenge by tracking human resources key performance indicators (KPIs). Learn the top five indicators you should be tracking this year and how to monitor them. 

The Top 5 Human Resources Key Performance Indicators

“Key performance indicator” or KPI is a fancy term for a measurable quality, attribute, or statistic relevant to, or indicative of a company’s success. 

Companies use KPI metrics to:

  • Assess their current health and competitiveness
  • Accurately compare their operations to competitors and industry benchmarks
  • Evaluate progress against prior performance records and future performance targets

KPIs are such a powerful tool that allows you to assess and report on the health and strength of initiatives at all levels. 

Companies seeking to improve their HR KPIs can choose from scores of relevant indicators in categories ranging from:

  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Training
  • Employee terminations
  • Employee categorization (e.g. full-time, part-time, contract)
  • Engagement
  • Diversity

For most companies, however, the following five indicators are the most powerful. 

1. Turnover

The employee turnover rate is one of the vital human resources key performance indicators.

Employee turnover refers to the number of employees leaving your organization. It includes:

  • Retirements
  • Voluntary employee terminations
  • Involuntary employee terminations 

Each of these types of turnover gives you different, but equally important, information about your workforce and company situation.

What Turnover Tells You

Retirements can serve as an indicator of the relative age and experience of your workforce. If your retirement rate is high, it can be a warning that you’re losing very experienced people. This might serve as a prompt to increase your training among newer or younger employees to compensate for the loss of accrued knowledge. 

A high number of employees voluntarily leaving to take other jobs might indicate that you have culture problems or that your compensation package isn’t up to par. It can serve as a prompt to explore the specifics of what is motivating employees to leave your company.

Numerous involuntary employee terminations, by contrast, may suggest that your recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes need work. There may be a disconnect between what you’re advertising for, and assessing people on, versus the skills and traits that actually drive their success. 

Why Turnover Matters

Turnover tops the list of human resources KPIs for three important reasons. 

First, turnover is expensive. Every time you lose an employee, you:

  • Lose the money involved in hiring and onboarding them.
  • Lose the money invested in their training to date.
  • Lose the income they would have brought in (or pay other employees overtime to compensate) until someone new is hired and up to speed.
  • Face a new round of hiring and onboarding costs.

These expenses can total up to twice the lost employee’s annual wages.

Second, turnover costs you competency. Experienced employees:

  • Typically work faster and more efficiently, simply due to familiarity with equipment and processes.
  • Know, understand, and can accommodate your customers better than new employees.
  • Are more likely to be cross-trained and capable of filling in or covering other workplace roles when needed.
  • Are more likely to be qualified candidates for internal promotion.

Finally, turnover can negatively impact your recruitment opportunities. Employees are like customers in how they spread the word of their experiences with your company. 

This means that many happy former employees won’t talk about their experiences with your company much at all. Those who do will tell an average of three people about their positive experience. 

Nearly all unhappy ex-employees, by contrast, will tell an average of nine, and as many as 15 people, about their perceived bad experience. Whether their stories are true or not, they can steer top talent away from you. 

Specific and related KPIs you can track include:

  • Annual voluntary employee turnover rate
  • Average performance scores of departing employees
  • Average employee tenure
  • New hire retention rate

2. Absenteeism

Absenteeism has long been a mainstay among human resources benchmarks. The rate of absenteeism is simply a measure of how many days your employees work compared to the expected standard number of days to be worked. 

Absenteeism can be viewed as a lagging indicator or a reflection of existing problems. It can also be viewed as a leading indicator or a precursor of what to expect down the line. 

High absenteeism may be due to:

  • Low employee engagement.
  • Low motivation in the workforce.
  • Employees’ difficulty in managing work-life balance. 

Employees with high absenteeism are likely to suffer reduced productivity. They may be at an elevated risk of quitting or being involuntarily terminated due to dropping performance. 

Absenteeism may be a sign that you need to investigate supplemental labor solutions

What Absenteeism Tells You

Depending on how it presents, absenteeism can tell you several things. 

Overall Absenteeism

High overall absenteeism suggests a company-wide culture or resources problem. Employees may feel:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Confused 
  • Underequipped to do their jobs
  • Unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unappreciated
  • Management is untrustworthy or impossible to satisfy

Uncovering the root causes of absenteeism will help you hone in on what problems you need to address. This will help you to keep good talent and restore trust and productivity to your workplace. 

Localized Absenteeism

If absenteeism is localized, it may indicate a problem in a particular department or with specific employees. For example, if absenteeism is high only in Accounting, an investigation may reveal that it is due to an inept manager or immense frustration with ongoing technical issues. 

Drilling down into the source of the problem can allow you to address it before it escalates into a catastrophe.  

Individual Absenteeism 

Individual absenteeism may simply reflect non-work circumstances in an employee’s life. He or she may have a sick child, be going through a personal crisis, or dealing with other family issues. In such cases, it can benefit both the company and the employee to look at options for reducing work responsibilities until the situation resolves. 

Alternatively, individual absenteeism may indicate that an employee is:

  • Not happy in their current position.
  • Poorly suited to their current position.
  • Not a good fit for the company’s culture.

In that event, it is in everyone’s best interests to begin looking for an alternative placement for that employee.  

Some examples of other absenteeism-related KPIs that you can track include: 

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee engagement
  • Satisfaction with benefits
  • Employee absence cost

3. Internal and Referral Hiring Rates

Hiring KPIs can be another way to measure the health of your company.

Like terminating employees, hiring is expensive. It can also be time-consuming. But how much time, energy, and money you have to put into finding and recruiting new employees can tell you a lot about your company’s health. 

Hiring KPIs

There are a variety of human resources key performance indicators that you can use to look at your internal and referral hiring rates. These include:

  • The average time to fill job vacancies
  • Your cost per hire
  • Your internal promotion rate 
  • The percentage of candidates you interview and hire that were referred by existing employees
  • Net promoter score (e.g. percentage of your employees recommending your company as a good place to work)
  • The percentage of desirable responders to open positions

Why Hiring Rates Matter

Hiring rates tell you vital information about your current workforce, your reputation as an employer, and your prospective future workforce

For example, imagine that you have a high average time to fill vacant positions and a low percentage of desirable responders to open positions. This combination can indicate problems with your hiring process. You may:  

  • Have a poorly worded job description.
  • Have inappropriate or unnecessary hiring prerequisites. 
  • Be advertising in the wrong places.
  • Have a very negative net promoter score keeping good candidates away.
  • Be offering a compensation package well below that which competitors offer for equivalent positions. 

A high cost per hire can suggest similar problems. Or, it may point toward inefficiencies within your hiring process. 

Low internal promotion rates, by contrast, suggest that you are not adequately training or grooming employees for more challenging roles.  

Using human resources key performance indicators related to hiring is important. They can provide a wealth of actionable information you can use to improve your hiring, employee quality, and retention. 

4. Productivity or Revenue per Employee

The benefits of calculating and monitoring productivity or revenue per employee are largely self-explanatory. This information allows you to accurately evaluate a range of important factors. 

How You Stack Up

Understanding how your company’s productivity and costs stack up against industry standards and key competitors is essential. Lack of competitiveness directly costs you business. It also can point to inefficiencies and process problems that need addressing sooner rather than later. 

For example, asking questions about low employee productivity rates can lead you to internal processes and procedures that may be outdated. In such cases, the situation is costing you money and business. Similarly, you may find that easy-to-fix equipment and/or software problems are unnecessarily hindering your business’s growth. 

Alternatively, the problem may lie with employee training. For instance, if you’ve recently lost a number of experienced employees and hired new, less-experienced ones, you may have a knowledge and experience gap that needs closing.  

Tracking your productivity-related human resources KPIs will help you invest your efforts in the right areas and clearly see your progress. 

Examples of KPIs relevant to productivity and revenue include:

  • Employee compensation as a percentage of company revenue
  • Percentage of employees performing below workplace standards
  • Performance of new hires compared to long-term employees

5. Training Costs and Effectiveness

Employee training should be cost-effective and impactful.

Money spent on getting your employees the right training comes back to you many times over. Confident, well-trained workers are the backbone of every organization. They:

  • Bring in more revenue.
  • Build stronger, longer-lasting customer loyalties.
  • Are prime candidates to fill upper-level positions down the line.
  • Cover for less experienced workers and help them get up to speed.
  • Are often cross-trained and able to move around in a pinch.
  • Are typically happier and more likely to both stay with the company and recommend it to others.

But how do you know how well trained your employees really are? How do you determine which training is a good investment and which is a waste? 

The answer, of course, is by picking the right KPIs. Depending on your needs, there are numerous options to pick from, such as:  

  • Average time to competence.
  • Average training costs per employee.
  • Employee satisfaction with training.
  • Percentage of HR budget spent on training.
  • Ratio of internal versus external training.
  • Return on investment (ROI) of training.
  • Training penetration rate. 

Using the KPIs appropriate to your situation and monitoring them over time can:

  • Reduce your training costs.
  • Produce a higher return on investment for every training dollar spent.
  • Improve employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Lower turnover.
  • Improve client satisfaction.

HR KPI Monitoring

Now that you know what to monitor and why, the question becomes how. For some companies, creating a KPI scorecard may be a quick and easy task. However, if you find yourself asking questions like “What is a KPI report?” and “How do I even measure KPIs?” you may benefit from bringing in expert help

Choosing the right KPIs for your needs and calculating them accurately can be a challenge. KPIs need to be: 

  • Detailed
  • Accurately measurable
  • Realistic 
  • Relevant to your goals and priorities
  • Actionable

Every company will have its own unique combination of perfect KPIs to track for success.

Getting Help With Your Company’s Key HR KPIs

If you’re ready to start using human resources key performance indicators to improve your business, contact the experts today.

Let Solvo help you create the systems and import the solutions you need to track and act on the most essential KPI trends. 

Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

How to Write Detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are a necessity for businesses large and small. They outline how processes and procedures essential to your company’s daily operations are to be performed.

Often providing step-by-step instructions on multiple components of a business, SOPs provide a guide for efficiency and consistency. When properly written, they reduce miscommunication and errors that can undermine your business practices.

The ultimate goal of your procedures is to keep team members on the same page. This is crucial as employees transition into new positions and new employees come on board.

If it is your first time creating SOPs, it may seem like a daunting task. In a way it is, but in the end, the time spent will be well worth it for the success of your business

In this article, we will walk you through how to write Standard Operating Procedures. If you’ve been tasked with writing SOPs, whether for your company or someone else’s, keep reading to learn more about what should be included when writing SOPs.

Standard Operating Procedures are Specific to a Business

Standard Operating Procedures documentation is not a one-size-fits-all document that you can download from a template website. Your SOPs need to be specific to your business industry, size and structure. It also needs to reflect your goals and desires for the type of culture you want to build.

Although it is a professional and oftentimes technical document, it reflects rules, positions, and the overall operations unique to your company.

A business with ten thousand employees will not operate the same as a business with ten employees. Although you may offer the same services, your SOPs will be uniquely different. 

When gathering information for your document, focus on what your business has to offer and how you want to see it operating. Your business SOPs will be essential to your operations and will grow over time as your business grows and your experiences shape your culture.

What is Included in SOPs?

There are many components to an SOP document. There are no rules on the number of pages, sections or words. Your document can be as in-depth or simplistic as you want it to be. It all comes down to the messaging and style in which you want to present the information.

The following are the most important components of any SOP and reasons why they should be included. 

In the beginning stages of writing your SOPs, you may not think of everything. As you get into writing the document, things you never considered will come to mind. At those moments you will need to consider their importance to the operation of the business. 

Operational Compliance

It is vital to include a compliance section in your SOPs.

Outlining compliance topics is vital in your standard operating procedures. You should:

  • Create a section on this topic alone 
  • Review industry standards 
  • Review your information technology (IT) and how you would handle data security impacts 

Understand how you will satisfy compliance requirements and then explain them in layman’s terms so readers fully understand. 

Other general compliance issues include:

  • Benefits: who gets them and who does not, eligibility rules, etc.
  • Harassment: definitions and penalties
  • Hiring, evaluations and termination processes
  • Holiday and overtime pay: specify days observed and when OT is permitted
  • Payroll: specify pay schedules and dates
  • Worker’s compensation: rules on how to apply

Once you have these worked out, it’s time to get into topics like safety, licensing, permitting, risk assessment, and other technical components of compliance.


There may come a time when your business is displaced. This happens for various reasons and generally is out of the business owner’s control.

If you’re in a facility not owned by the business, there is a chance that you can become displaced. Or you could find yourself at a point where you need to expand out of your current location into a larger space.

Whatever the reason you need to move from your place of operations, be it temporarily or permanently, there must be a contingency plan. By having a standard operating procedures manual in place, you’ve already given thought on how to handle the situation.

It will not only show where your employees will report to, especially in the case of an emergency displacement, but it will provide other valuable information.


Include an emergency number in your SOP

Start out by having an emergency phone number that employees should call in the event the building is not accessible. There needs to be a message with vital information that is updated as situations change.

For a planned displacement, decide if employees will be notified in writing, via email, an all-staff meeting, or some other method.

With today’s technology, you can utilize text messages. There is also the opportunity for employees to work remotely until a stable office is set up in a physical location.


Downtime deals with power outages and the inability to access computer servers or specific software. 

Not only do you need protocols in place to address your employees, but also your customers and your industry partners. Some outages are temporary, while others can last for days. 

Included will be any back-up systems you may use and who is responsible for handling the issues. This can include contact information for utility companies, the software manufacturer, or the person or company responsible for your technical infrastructure.

The SOPs will list the designated roles responsible for making external calls, providing a clear chain of command and responsibility when people know their roles during emergencies.

Environmental Concerns

Although your business may not be directly related to environmental industries or policy-making, you could be directly impacted by environmental issues. 

These issues could involve:

  • A chemical spill
  • Dumping of hazardous waste
  • Recycling
  • Disposal of ink cartridges
  • Cleaning up bodily fluids

As an employer, you are charged with the safety of your employees. So, your company needs to adhere to governmental rules and laws.

Natural Disasters
Every business should prepare for the event of a natural disaster.

Natural disasters can take many forms. Every business should have a plan for unforeseen natural occurrences. Depending on the geographical region your business operates in, you could deal with hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or wildfires.

Your SOPs will include how the business will operate leading up to, during, and after a natural disaster strikes. These include:

  • The designated staff that are required to be on-site or on-call
  • Emergency evacuation procedures.
  • How to secure the structure, equipment, vehicles, etc.
  • Emergency call-in number
  • How to communicate with employees
  • Who is responsible for sending out such communications
  • Human Resources issues and responses related to a natural disaster
  • Employees’ pay during a natural disaster

Other things to consider are your insurance protections during the temporary or permanent loss of your physical structure. How will the business perform until insurance kicks in and the relocation of your offices?

Production Goals

Goal setting is essential in every aspect of life. As a business owner, you want to have clearly defined goals for your company. These goals, whether one year or ten years out, should be outlined when writing SOPs. 

Goals can be a part of a mission statement that also lays out the values the company wants to exude. This becomes important because it not only gives you a roadmap for where you’re heading, but it also shows your employees the vision for the business.

In writing production goals for each department within the company, you set the tone for productivity and efficiency.  


Safety hats of all colors

In this section of the SOPs documentation, you’ll discuss safety in the workplace. The most vital components of this portion involve employees that work with heavy machinery and those who drive company-issued vehicles.

You’ll talk about licensing, access to driving records, and training. In addition, safety flows out to every department in a business. People can injure themselves with a stapler or by picking up a box of copy paper.

Outline for your employees who’s to be called when furniture or equipment has to be moved. When and who should call for an ambulance? What should an employee do when an injury leads to blood exposure?


Hours of operations will go on your SOPs as well as scheduling. Multiple departments may have different hours. A business that operates beyond eight hours a day will have shifts. 

Scheduling needs to be intentional to ensure full coverage during business hours. It is also important to have adequate coverage to maintain production quotas.

While outlining shifts, consider if there will be shift differentials in hourly pay. How are employees expected to call-in or communicate with managers or Human Resources outside their regular business hours?


New hires are typically greeted by the company through orientation. This is a session put on by HR to introduce new team members to the company’s policies and procedures. Although many do not distribute the SOPs manual to employees, they do get a brief overview of what is contained in it and where it can be accessed 

The training sessions new hires receive should be outlined in the manual, as well as any other ongoing training. These sessions should be related to the actual roles they will be performing. You may also include other courses that help strengthen the culture of the workplace environment.

Create a Team

Collaboration is a key factor in completing a project that encompasses a lot of information that will impact your business. The writing of the standard operating procedures for a company is an undertaking that should not be handled by one team only. Even if your business only has a few employees, you should get some assistance with this formidable task.

For organizations with more than one department, ask for insights from those who know how things are done in their areas. This will ensure that you don’t miss important steps. A business owner may also learn a lot about how things are being done, which he or she may not have been aware of. 

Most importantly, with the added help, you can delegate responsibilities and get the project completed much faster. 

Create an Outline

Now that you have a good idea of what goes into the SOPs, the next step is to create your outline. The outline is to help you organize information and stay on track.

There is no magic order of how information should appear. You could start with what is most important, place items in alphabetical order, or group them based on the subject matter. 

It is okay to have a topic header followed by subtopics. Graphics are always a good way to keep people engaged when lengthy text is involved. You can also use infographics if it will help bring cohesiveness to the order of your daily operations. 

Once you know where you’re going and have everything you need, it’s time to put all the information together.

Select a Format

Next, you’ll want to create a format for your SOPs. Your format goes beyond how the information will appear in the manual. The format includes text fonts, color schemes, graphics, and the form in which the manual can be accessed.

In the digital era, there is no need to have printed copies tucked away in a binder, and pushed to the back of a bookshelf. The SOPs now come as a digital file housed in an online portal or intranet.

Included in the format or layout, you need to have a heading with the following:

  • Company name
  • Creation date
  • Modified date
  • Contributors
  • Reviewed by
  • Approved by

Following the headers, insert your purpose and table of contents.

Know Your Audience

In writing SOPs, it is essential to know your audience. This will drive the level of language used and how technical the information needs to be.

Also, consider how likely your employees are to seek out the SOPs to answer questions. This will play a part in how you format the manual and what graphics are included. 

Bringing It All Together

You now have the steps to create Standard Operating Procedures for your business. This makes the process easier and your goals clearer. If after reading this article you still aren’t sure about how you can get the job done or need help, it’s okay. There are services available to write the perfect SOPs to fit your individual needs.

Are you looking for assistance with SOP documentation? Contact us to learn more about  SOPs and our other business services we have to offer.