Process Adherence: What to Do When No One Follows Your Processes

Process AdherenceProcesses aren’t just a set of documents and rules that help your business run efficiently and reduce human error…

They’re also something that needs to be part of your company culture. Process adherence is the culture side of systemization, and that makes it one of those hard to grasp concepts without many solid rules.

The culture of processes — instead of the act of writing and optimizing them — is something we’ve been meaning to cover for a while because we know it’s a big problem for our users.

Incidentally, we got an insightful comment on our article about creating an operations manual from MamaRed Knight. She outlined an age-old problem with process adherence:

“[Process adherence] is something I’ve been dealing with since I started formally creating documentation in ’83. It really must start at the top level where they don’t answer questions, they ask if it is “in the manual” and it ripples down.

It does take time because, frankly, a very teensy tiny percentage of people want to look something up98% want to ask someone and be done with it.”

In this quote, she highlights two main issues:

  • Employees don’t want to look up processes
  • Procedures are passed on informally by hearsay

In this post, I’m going to explain why processes fail because of human nature, and then unpack each reason with an explanation of how you can improve process adherence in each area.

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