How Do You Incentivize Employees to Document SOPs? Six Observations

Situation: The CEO of a specialty component company wants to standardize documentation of company procedures covering sales, production and ISO documentation. This will take time and effort, and employees are concerned about accountability for poor results. How do you incentivize employees to document SOPs?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Are employees are being asked for accountability without being empowered or rewarded for performance? Currently, there is nothing about employee performance that is directly tied to:
    • Longevity,
    • Dollars in raise, or
    • Share of the bonus pool.
    • Everything is determined at the CEO’s discretion.
    • Why would anyone want more accountability if they feel that they have little control over their jobs or future at the company?
  • To increase accountability and drive, employees must be given control over the factors tied to retention, pay and bonuses.
  • To create an effective system for employees to document standardized SOPs they need:
    • Incentives that are under their control to achieve the objective – creating standardized SOPs.
    • Objectives that are achievable with clearly stated rewards for performance.
    • Performance evaluations tied to clearly stated objectives, discussed with and agreed to by each employee, which drive raises, bonuses and rewards.
    • The messaging about these changes must be delivered with energy and passion. Employees must feel excited by this opportunity.
  • Understand that this may cost 10-15% in increased overhead but will boost the value of the company way beyond the cost.
  • Employees need to know the vision for the company and must be empowered to achieve the results to fulfill this vision.
    • The why behind the desire for standardized SOPs is just as important as the incentives created to achieve them.
    • The why must be clear, simple, and must be understood by the employees for everything to work.
  • To further motivate the team, involve them in designing the incentive program.
    • Ask what they want. Maybe it’s something as simple as a fun day with the team.
    • If they aren’t asked, the danger is that they will not respond to the incentive offered. Money is not the only, and in many cases is not the most effective incentive.

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