Working for a small business, I’ve found that documenting processes is very important. Often times, there is only one person in the organization who performs a certain role, so if they take an extended leave of absence or leave the company abruptly it is very difficult to pick up where they left off. A large portion of time has to be spent just figuring out what they did from day to day. But, there are many things that can be done to alleviate this issue:
1. Use a common file naming structure across your organization. Include a date and description in the name so that the file will be easier to find. Include a file path in the footer of company documents so that if you have a hard copy of the document you can easily find the electronic version.
2. Keep all company files on a common server that is backed up regularly. Make sure employees are saving their files to the server and not to their desktop.
3. Have each employee keep a list of the third party contacts, consultants or vendors they work with regularly. Make sure email addresses and phone numbers for the contacts are included.
4. Have employees document the process of completing the duties of their position. This is invaluable for many reasons. It will help you create a job description when trying to fill the position and it will serve as a guide for a new hire. It will also come in handy if an employee has to abruptly take time off for a family emergency.