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What Is an SOP Template, and Why Do I Need One?

what is an sop template and why do i need one
Caroline Sams

By Caroline Sams

What Is an SOP and an SOP Template?

SOP template stands for "Standard Operating Procedures" template. An SOP is a way to officially standardize various procedures of your business all in one place and to help employees learn and stay on track, all within your specific guidelines. It's your policy and procedure document, your written steps, or a "how to work here" document. It outlines company expectations, job procedures, and any significant regulations employees need to know before they begin working to increase efficiency among employees and maximize your business's profits.

Simply put- an SOP is a fast way to get valuable information to everyone in the shortest amount of time possible. And the SOP template is the basic structure used to create each SOP.

A good SOP will include instructions, regulations, procedures, necessary contact information, and answers to common questions. Keeping them short and sweet is usually better than making them very wordy and complicated; though the length and depth of your SOP will depend heavily on the size of your business, how many departments you oversee, and how complex your business is. Try to keep your SOP as concise as possible to avoid any confusion, but be prepared to update it as needed. For example, if employees tend to ask the same types of questions over and over, it is probably time to revise the SOP to cover those topics better.

Your SOP template is your key to standardizing all SOPs and getting each one completed quickly and with little to no stress. When all your SOPS use the same template, it keeps the process sleek and efficient, and employees will always know where to look in each SOP to find the answers to their questions. This primarily benefits new employees by helping them adjust faster to a new work environment with immediate access to all company regulations and procedures.

How to Write an SOP Template

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As mentioned above, the length and depth of your SOP will depend on many factors this article can't possibly predict. However, we can offer some basic guidelines for creating a stellar SOP template, which you can easily adjust to your specific needs. While some companies still use paper and printed SOPs, in our technologically advanced society, it is smarter and more cost-effective to use productivity software to create, update, and distribute SOPs, so that's what the rest of this article will cover. For more information on productivity software, we've got an excellent article about 5 Business Management Apps for iPhone and Andriod.

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SOP Template Overview

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Cover the basics.

  • Your SOP template should include a brief introduction to the company, your vision, and a way for employees to contact their supervisors or you directly in case any problems arise or they need further instructions.

Keep the layout simple to avoid confusion.
  • The entire point of the SOP template is to make finding answers quick and easy. Using software to create your SOPs is an excellent way to keep things simple. Keep your design clean, straight-forward, and easy to navigate.

Leave room for future changes.
  • When creating your SOP template, leave room for edits, rewrites, and changes. Business is always changing, and your SOP needs to change with it.

Your SOP template should include sections for-
  1. Policy and purpose. Describe what the mission is, or the reason for this point.
  2. Scope. Cover which departments are affected by this procedure. What are the required steps?
  3. Responsibilities. Who will be responsible for this process, and how should they complete this task?
  4. Definitions. There may be words in this procedure that readers might not know, so use this section to define words or acronyms.
  5. Procedure. This is the accurate list of step-by-step instructions to carry out the whole procedure. In this section, it's better to say too much than not enough. Be clear and concise to avoid any misunderstandings or possible mistakes.

You can also include a section for useful criteria (or how to determine if this was a successful procedure), references to support the procedure, and a history of changes made to the particular SOP. Your SOP template can also include example text in each section, so whoever ends up making an SOP from your template can see samples of what you expect to see there.

Make the SOP Template Even Easier with Apps

If the idea of sitting in front of a word processor and typing out your own SOP template seems tedious, complicated, or like a waste of your time, don't worry. We have a much faster, simpler, and more efficient way to get your SOP templates and your SOPs written and distributed so you can get back to the important day-to-day duties of managing your business.

Using a premade SOP template, simplifying your SOP is easy. Just fill in the appropriate areas with specifics from your business, save it, and distribute it to your employees. It really is that simple. And updating is just as easy. And rather than reprinting a bunch of SOP books every time you need to make a change, you simply make your change one time, and it's stored in the database for everyone to access from any device and any location. That's maximum efficiency.

SOPs and Digital Checklists Maximize Effort and Save Money

When your SOP software and your task checklist software are combined, you have a magical combination of efficiency, money-saving, time-saving, and environmentally-friendly procedures to keep your business on track. One app lets you edit and distribute your SOP through file uploads and sharing, as well as update and track daily employee checklists to be sure the SOP is being followed. Quickly identify issues, slowdowns, or mistakes and take immediate corrective action, even if you're not in the building. For more information on how task-management software can help you and your business check out Zip Checklist.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

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