Throughout history, the important tenets of society have been written down in order to be preserved. In fact, this is one of the things that signaled
Throughout history, the important tenets of society have been written down in order to be preserved. In fact, this is one of the things that signaled the evolution of modern culture: the development of a system of writing and record-keeping. This is not to say that there are not fantastic oral traditions both past and present, but in terms of the logistics of your office, it is better to stick with the written code.
Physical written operations procedures in some industries are seen as outdated or simply cumbersome or inconvenient. Especially in an era where one can accomplish anything from signing court documents to filing taxes online, it may seem much easier to disseminate operations literature through this medium.
There are even some companies who do not give copies of the operations procedures to their employees unless expressly requested. They make the availability of these manuals known, but do not assign any mandatory reading or provide a copy to each employee.
Each of these approaches may be taken for the sake of convenience or cost-effectiveness, and may not invite any adverse effects of any real significance. However, neglecting the traditions of publishing and circulating operations procedures means that you may be missing out on certain benefits to your company culture.
A safety net for you and your employees
Having written, easily-accessible operations and procedural manuals can help to solve arguments and disputes before they even begin. Your employees should be advised of what types of issues are covered in the employee manual – the more in-depth this document goes, the better – and what types of issues can only be addressed by a superior or on a case-by-case basis.
This means that your employees or colleagues will almost always know where to turn when they have questions. They should be encouraged to consult the manual before taking an action they are unsure complies with company culture. If they cannot find a clear answer, they should consult a superior. It is important that your employees feel comfortable posing any question to you.
However, the availability of the operations procedures means that your employees will also be comfortable problem-solving, or quickly learn that level of comfort from day one. Operations procedures demystify the novelty of a new job and rapidly assimilate new hires into the company. They are an excellent way to empower those they pertain to.
A signal of company culture
By maintaining written record of the way your brokerage or office operates, you send many messages to your employees. First, you make it known that communication is key, and that you strive to communicate as much information as efficiently as possible and to keep everyone, quite literally, on the same page.
Second, the availability of these manuals and your efforts to share them with your employees will make it obvious that you value and emulate preparedness, foresight, and consideration. As a bonus, you can frame your presentation of operations procedures not simply as something that you require from your employees, but something that will give them the most fulfilling work experience possible.