Standard Operating Procedures – A complete guide! – Distribute & Train

Welcome back to the 6th in our series of blogs describing the Key elements in the SOP lifecycle. So far we have introduced the ‘SOP pie’ and worked through all the way to having our SOP ready and tested in order to start the roll out. This blog will look at how you get the SOP out there and read by the relevant audiences– Distribute & Train

So your ultimate aim here is to ensure that your staff read the SOP, understand it and can adhere to it in their day to day roles. I would recommend SharePoint used in conjunction with the DocRead and DocSurvey tools as the perfect solution for this activity . The following points describe the main considerations and how those tools can help with each:

SOP Library– There needs to be a SOP Library in your organisation, the documents have to be stored in an easy accessible known area, where they can be referred to again and again. SharePoint is a great choice for this function, it has such rich functionality that can help you achieve SOP adherence and compliance. Take a look at this blog - 5 Reasons to use SharePoint for SOP management

Distribution – It is no good having the document sat in the Library if we don’t have a means of telling people it is there and ensuring it has been read. We need to be able to distribute, and alert staff to any new, or changed SOP’s. Using a tool like DocRead to achieve this allows you to distribute your new or updated SOP to any group of employees and then gain a positive confirmation that they have read it.

Training – Ensuring your staff have read the SOP, if written in the correct way with an easily digestible format, can be all the training you need. However, this needs to be assessed on a per SOP basis, don’t assume that one training method will fit all SOPs or all Employees. A low cost but more engaging training solution would be to send out a training video. Using DocRead functionality this can be done in the same way as sending out a document, getting a positive confirmation that the Video has been watched or Document has been read, and saving a lot of chasing time by allowing you to easily view who has and hasn’t done what you have asked.

Comprehension – So our staff have read the SOP or looked at the training material, this goes a long way to ensure understanding of its contents, however it is not a guarantee. That assurance can only be gained through testing the audience. This can be achieved using the DocRead sister product, DocSurvey, it allows for a test to be distributed separately or at the same time as your SOP materials, that the recipients have to pass for the task to be marked as complete

Evidence and Tracking – From the simplistic view of wanting to know that all your staff have done all the above steps, through to needing to provide evidence to customers or regulatory body. Whatever your reasons you will need some form of Management Information reporting on these final stages of getting your SOP read and understood. When done manually using emails and list this can take hours and be very unproductive, so the recommendation is to ensure the solution you use can automate this and provide a MI to back it up. Whilst the workflows in DocRead take care of ensuring your staff have read and understood the content. The DocRead MI gives you the tools in an easy to use interface that allows you to easily track that activity and provide the evidence where required.

So now we should be fully armed to get our SOP produced, out there and understood by its audience in order to give us the SOP adherence we are aiming for….so is that it?....No it isn’t!!

Next time we will talk about keeping your SOP current and relevant in our final slice of the ‘SOP pie’ – Review & Update