How pLink Leadership Eliminated Fear Among Its Employees With a Strong Knowledge Base
CEO Gretchen Pisano and Chief Design Officer Jennifer Schneider at pLink Leadership are passionate about helping businesses accelerate their growth.
As a fully virtual company with team members across the United States, pLink Leadership relied on having everyone operate with the same processes to maintain consistency and efficiency. But achieving these was a challenge in the absence of well-documented standard operating procedures (SOPs).
One thing was clear: they needed an effective tool to document and streamline their operations. SweetProcess came in handy. Today, their operations are in top gear. Gretchen and Jennifer take us through their SweetProcess journey of growth in this case study.
About pLink Leadership
pLink Leadership is an executive coaching and leadership development organization focused on accelerating positive change in organizations.
Established in 2013, the organization is 100 percent virtual, with team members located in various cities of the United States. It caters to clients around the globe.
Owned and led by women, pLink Leadership lives by its core values of future-mindedness, perspective, curiosity, and love.
The organization helps business owners close the gap between themselves and their employees in a positive work environment.
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Documenting Business Processes the Wrong Way
When the business was established eight years ago, the team had a clear picture of what it wanted to achieve. But like most new businesses, there were a lot of moving pieces. At some point, pLink Leadership realized that their operations would be better off if they documented their processes, especially for repetitive tasks.
Their quest to document their processes in a Word document left them with an 85-page document for starters. And with more processes to be added, the pages increased.
Jennifer, who took it upon herself to create the document, was excited for doing such a great job. But her excitement was short-lived as their operations changed rapidly. Most of the information in the document became outdated almost immediately after they were created.
Besides the information being outdated, team members had to search all these pages for a single piece of information every time they needed confirmation for a new task. This led to a slow process and frustrated employees.
“We’ve got a really wonderful work culture. All the people that work with pLink are very creative in nature and open and will bend over backward to make things really great. But plunking a huge document in front of them and saying, ‘Okay, figure out how to do your expenses’ is not being kind to your fellow employees,” Jennifer says.
How SweetProcess Stood Out Among the Rest
There must be a better way to go about documenting business processes, Jennifer thought. Committed to finding a solution, she began a search and came across an article written by SweetProcess titled “Top 10 Standard Operating Procedures.” She took her time to check out all the software discussed in the article, and in the end, she was convinced that SweetProcess was the best choice.
“As I explored all of the other ones and looked at them, what the other companies were doing was not even remotely close to what SweetProcess was offering. From a user-friendly interface to really understanding a lot of the programs that I found out there, they’re online, but they were meant more for like a mechanical industry or something that was very step-oriented. We have that, but there’s also so much more. We deal with human emotions.”
The functionality of SweetProcess resonated with Jennifer and she was certain that it was the right choice. She signed up for the 14-day free trial and experimented more with the system. By the end of the trial, she was certain that there couldn’t be a better system for their organization.
The Biggest Benefits of Using SweetProcess at pLink Leadership
The feeling that comes with a solution to a longstanding problem boosted the company’s morale. Gretchen and Jennifer were looking for a system to streamline their business operations. They ended up finding one that not only helped them do that but completely won their hearts. Jennifer was so impressed by SweetProcess, she gave it a nickname, and Gretchen was all in for it.
“I started calling it Sweet P just because I love it so much,” Jennifer says.
Let’s see what they have been able to achieve with SweetProcess to understand them better.
1. Effective Process Documentation and Update
Documenting processes isn’t necessarily the answer to streamlining business operations. Sometimes, you can document your processes and still not achieve the positive results that you desire.
The team at pLink Leadership had a first-hand experience of documentation gone wrong.
All the time and effort put into creating an 85-page Word document soon became wasted. Updating the document was as good as writing it from scratch.
“We couldn’t keep it up to date. I got it done. I had version one in the folder where it belonged and there were already new ones waiting to come in…things would change almost minute by minute so we couldn’t keep it up to date.”
SweetProcess also provided them all the tools they needed to create simple and usable processes. As a designer herself, Jennifer testifies that she fell in love with the SweetProcess interface.
“As the chief design officer, I do the graphic design. I found the interface to be visually pleasing—that’s important. It felt very comfortable, and a lot of things I recognized.”
2. Seamless Employee Onboarding and Training
Having competent employees is one of the biggest strengths of any organization. As a business owner, you can go to sleep knowing that your team has everything under control.
But a huge part of getting your employees to a place where they are competent lies on your shoulders. You need to train them adequately and provide the right tools that they need to be efficient.
By implementing SweetProcess, pLink Leadership is more confident in the abilities of its team members.
“One huge thing it’s impacted is the way that I’m onboarding new folks. In the past, when we were training somebody new, because we are 100 percent virtual, that person is shadowing effectively and it’s just very slow. Whereas now they go directly to SweetProcess to find out what they need to know or they can go there when they’re doing something on their own. I have a lot more confidence to say, ‘Hey take this task. And the first step, if you have a question, is to go to the SweetProcess. If then you still have a question, then we’ll tag it and we’ll have a conversation about it.”
The training function of SweetProcess also comes in handy for established employees. When they need to take on new roles, instead of spending days or weeks to get acquainted, they can easily get the processes of what they need to do in SweetProcess.
3. Accessible Central Knowledge Base
Employee competence, or the lack of it, borders on the degree of their knowledge. When team members don’t have the necessary information to execute tasks successfully, they either underperform or make mistakes.
Neither you nor your employees win when things go wrong. Instead of focusing on their inability to be efficient, as a business owner, you should empower them with the right tools to be efficient.
SweetProcess helps you to solve a knowledge problem among your team members by allowing you to create a central knowledge base where they can access your business processes, procedures, and policies.
“For me, my day-to-day has changed because if I notice that I’m teaching somebody something and it’s the second or third time I’m like, Hey, other people need to be doing this the same way. Then instantly, I’m like, Okay, I’m going to SweetProcess. I open that and I do it right then,” Gretchen says.
If you have team members always asking you questions what to do and how to do it, SweetProcess is a must-have. Instead of embarking on a question-and-answer session all the time, teammates can help themselves with whatever they need right there in the system. More interestingly, your knowledge base can be accessed remotely because SweetProcess offers cloud-based storage. All you have to do is grant team members authorized access to the documents.
4. Easy Integration With Other Tools
A single software can hardly give you all the tools you need. You are better off with a tool that you can integrate with other tools to streamline your operations.
Jennifer reveals that SweetProcess is easy to integrate with other tools needed in their business.
“I’ve been able to link to Asana tasks. We use Asana for project management or even Slack channels. I made a ‘How to use SweetProcess.’ I tagged it at the very top of the list and put in, ‘If you got any questions, put your question in the Slack channel for SweetProcess’ and there’s a link to that. I find that just being able to use it is tremendously easy.”
The Big Picture of Scaling and Diversifying
Scaling and diversifying are top on the list of the company’s next big goals, and Gretchen is confident that they are on the right path with SweetProcess, especially as it eliminates fear and resistance among the team.
When team members weren’t sure what to do, they’d play it safe by avoiding it so they didn’t get into trouble or cause damage.
“If something feels unknown, that generates fear, right? And that person feels, from a professional point of view, a huge worry: ‘I’m going to do something wrong. I’m going to make a mistake that gets the company in trouble or I get called out on.’ So then that creates avoidance. SweetProcess’ value for me is that it has drastically eliminated that, I think, cut it by 80 percent so things that used to feel hard feel easy.”
Your Opportunity to Streamline Your Operations
One thing that stands out in this case study is that streamlining your business operations with the right tool is a game-changer. If you haven’t done that yet, thankfully you don’t need to look too far.
The team at pLink Leadership got the confidence they needed to be more sufficient because SweetProcess availed them the opportunity to streamline their operations the right way. You can start just as Jennifer did by signing up for a 14-day free trial on SweetProcess. No credit card is required so you have nothing to lose. If pLink Leadership can do it, you too can.