Making SOPs Stick: 4 Tactics to Get Your Team on Board

Are you a frustrated process champ?! You’re not alone in the battle to get those SOPs off the shelf and into action. It’s disheartening (and downright annoying) when you’ve poured effort into creating guides, only to see them collect digital or literal dust. But fear not! Here are four tactics to make those SOPs the heroes of your workplace:

1 – Involve, don’t impose.

Gather the troops for an internal workshop, clarifying the ‘why’ of SOPs. Be clear; it’s not about control, but about smoother workflows, reducing stress, and minimising inevitable oops moments for everyone. 

Collectively map out your top level processes in a safe, judgement-free space: Assess what processes are smooth sailing, which are disasters waiting to happen, and what’s just confusing. Your team are the ones in the trenches, they may well hold the golden ticket for improvement. 

Empower your team to shape these processes transforming them from followers to creators: Newly crafted guides embraced by the team are more effective. 

Iterate: But hold on, there’s more – processes are a living, breathing work in progress – much like everything else in business. They’re always evolving, never quite finished. Mark a date on the calendar, maybe every 6-12 months, to come together and work through the same open feedback process. Utilise those learnings to refine and elevate these processes further. It’s not a one-time fix; it’s a continuous masterpiece in the making!

2 – User friendly = user loved!

SOPs thicker than ‘War and Peace’ are as useful as a chocolate teapot. Sensing their probably outdatedness or overwhelming level of detail, your team opts to figure things out, causing mistakes and time/ cost issues. Consider these do’s and don’ts:


  • Keep it simple and crystal clear. 
  • Utilise bullet points, visuals, or even engaging GIFs to jazz up an otherwise dull list of instructions (SOPs don’t have to be dull, formal documents. In fact, if you want them to be used, make them engaging and fun as well as informative and specific)
  • Ensure super accessibility through digital platforms or cloud systems for less search time and more action.
  • Highlight red flags prominently, aiding users to spot trip hazards before tasks start.
  • Structure SOPs like a story, providing a clear beginning, middle, and end (‘triggers’, ‘steps’ and ‘outcomes’) for easy understanding.
  • Use real-life examples or case studies to illustrate key points, including mistakes, to enhance understanding.


  • Rely on long videos, nobody has time for uncertain or outdated information.
  • Provide exhaustive details for each step; save this detail for later sections, clearly labelled for easier navigation.
  • Include every permutation in the initial key steps, avoiding clutter and confusion in the primary guidance.

3 – Make processes fun

Yes, SOPs and fun don’t usually go hand in hand. But a sprinkle of imagination can work wonders.

Gamification: We’re not talking Minecraft here, but reward for adherence. Create challenges, leaderboards, or achievement badges for teams or individuals who consistently follow SOPs accurately. Recognise those who excel.

Humour: Infuse SOP documentation or training materials with jokes or relatable memes. Making content more memorable can bring a smile to the team while they complete tasks. SOPs shouldn’t be a stale corporate bible; they should be as engaging as they are informative.

Communal Channels: Set up Slack/Teams channels to share #processfails or #processwins. Initiate conversations on innovative ways to improve SOPs.

4 – Training, Training, Training:

Newbie or seasoned pro, SOPs should be the backbone of your organisation’s learning for two key reasons:

Comprehensive Onboarding: Instead of simply emailing a link, roll out the SOP red carpet for new hires. Dive in with them, discuss, mirror colleagues. It’s the initial step toward success, ensuring employees have the tools and knowledge needed to excel.

Continuous Learning and Relevance: Regular check-ins and training sessions maintain SOP relevance, accuracy, and alignment with evolving best practices. This ongoing reassessment cultivates task confidence, fostering personal and professional growth while boosting retention rates within the organisation.

There you have it, your four-step battle plan! It’s not about forcing SOPs down throats; it’s about making them the secret sauce for a smoother, happier work life. Stick with these tactics, and you’ll soon have a team that not only follows SOPs but champions them. Your processes will thank you, and so will your business!

Are your SOPs buried and ignored, possibly outdated and underused? Or worse still, don’t even exist? Let’s bring them to life! Our SOP design and documentation service can revitalise your processes, making them practical, accessible, and actually used by your team. Let’s turn those neglected SOPs into invaluable assets for your business. Reach out today and let’s reshape your workflows for success!

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