We know that all organizations are made up of several moving parts. ♻️
But for your organization to be successful and productive, those several parts must be operating in sync with each other.
Like a 2008 Honda CRV that still runs like new, routine checks, tune-ups, tests, and everyday care are imperative to keep teams operating at their best capacity.
But how do you keep all members of every team on the same page at all times?
Enter: your standard operating procedures (SOP).
Having a thorough, accessible, and digestible SOP is more than an employee handbook or lengthy document defining the company’s “rules.”
It’s a resource to align and inform team members on basic expectations and how to apply their efforts in the most productive way.
Creating a detailed SOP that employees can easily navigate is no small feat, but luckily, there are ways to check that all of your SOP ducks are in a row. 🦆
Say hello to standard operating procedure templates.
Read along to access 10 free SOP templates for ClickUp, Google Docs, and Microsoft Word. Plus, some critical SOP FAQs, benefits, and tips.
- What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
- Benefits of Creating an SOP
- Types of SOP Formats
- 1. Standard SOP Template by ClickUp
- 2. HR SOP Template by ClickUp
- 3. Marketing SOP Template by ClickUp
- 4. Non-Profit SOP Template by ClickUp
- 5. Restaurant SOP Template by ClickUp
- 6. Medical Technician SOP Template by Microsoft Word
- 7. Standard Operating Procedure Template by Microsoft Word
- 8. Company SOP Template by Microsoft Word
- 9. Standard SOP Template by Google Docs
- 10. Simple SOP Template in Google Docs
- Example Elements of an SOP
- Who Benefits From Using an SOP?
What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of mid-to-high level instructions that document how an organization or team should accomplish specific tasks.
Think of your SOP as a step-by-step guide that defines a specific process—much like the instructional manual that came with your Ikea dresser. 🔨
The main goal of a standard operating procedure is to boost team efficiency and coordination by reducing miscommunication and ambiguity in everyday processes.
I mean, you wouldn’t expect new team members to succeed and stay ahead of their workload without any form of instruction to guide them, right? Of course not! They’ve got to learn the ropes first. But SOPs aren’t just for new team members, they’re for everyone. 🤝
Benefits of Creating an SOP
Creating a clear SOP is the first step in effective workflow management as it lays out team expectations and clear-cut instructions for members to refer back to at any time. By writing SOPs for each process within a workflow, you can help your team deliver quality results, faster.
Here’s a breakdown of other significant SOP benefits:
Increased compliance across the board
Think of your SOP as a source of truth for reinforcing best practices that team members should be following at all times.
This not only cuts out extra or unnecessary steps in a process but verifies that your company is on par with critical compliances and guidelines.
Improved onboarding processes
SOPs are particularly helpful when onboarding new team members—employees who understand the expectations in their roles are ultimately happier, more comfortable, and more productive with that level of transparency upfront.
Facilitate quality control
If your SOP is well-written and easy to follow, then it doesn’t matter who’s on the job on any given day. Digestible instructions on process details help members hold themselves accountable for the work they produce each day and keep the team’s long-term goals at the forefront of each project.
SOPs set the bar—they define the steps and responsibilities involved in a process so it can be performed in the same manner every time. While they’re helpful for those carrying out a particular task, they’re also assets for those training new team members.
Especially for routine action items, it’s easy to forget recent updates or small details. SOPs then become a how-to guide when walking a new team member through a task you’ve done for years.
Types of SOP Formats
SOPs set the standard for business processes, but they are not restricted to a single format. There are several types of SOPs and depending on your purpose, work style, team size, and audience, your SOP could take many forms.
Checklist SOPs are easy to write, easy to understand, and easy to complete.
One major advantage to this SOP style…
Checklists don’t have to be followed in a specific order. What matters most is that all the items on the list are checked off and verified before moving on.
This SOP format is particularly helpful for simple business processes or as the last run-through before sending a project over for final approval. ✅
A step-by-step list is similar to a checklist but requires that the process follows a specific order.
The entire procedure is described from beginning to end using short, easy-to-follow steps.
Teams that perform straightforward but time-sensitive processes benefit greatly from this SOP format. ⏱
While the first two formats serve simple processes best, a hierarchical SOP format is a go-to for complex multi-step procedures that require additional information or complex tasks.
For instance, the first step outlined in an onboarding SOP may ask a new employee to create a user account. In the hierarchical list structure that step would detail all tasks involved in that step including things like:
- Enter a user name
- Create a password
- Complete a profile
So if your processes often involve subtasks, multiple approvals, or task dependencies, this format may be a good fit!
Flowcharts are highly visual representations of your workflow and as an SOP format, help the team understand how each step in a process relates to one another.
Not only does a flowchart give employees better insight into how the overall process works, but also helps them understand how their piece of the process contributes to the big picture.
10 SOP Templates for ClickUp, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs
Starting an SOP from scratch can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Even if you’ve been writing standard operating procedures for years, SOP templates are an excellent way to get the team moving faster, help you gain a fresh perspective on the process, and ensure that your bases are covered.
Plus, tons of them are free! 💸
Here are 10 of our favorite standard operating procedure templates for ClickUp, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. These templates support a variety of use cases and are equipped with the must-have features for all of your SOP needs.
1. Standard SOP Template by ClickUp
This user-friendly SOP template by ClickUp is perfect for getting things going fast. 💨
Whether you’re looking to implement a new procedure across a close-knit team or an entire company, this SOP template is for you. With a high-level outline that covers all possible angles, this ClickUp Folder will help you organize your SOPs in a simple, manageable way.
In this SOP template, you’ll find four sections denoted by Overview, Who, Where, and When, so anyone accessing this SOP will know exactly how to navigate it, even at first glance.
2. HR SOP Template by ClickUp
If you’ve been paying any attention to the latest HR automation trends (guilty), then you know that Human Resources (HR) is facing crucial and exciting changes. A department that has long been dominated by manual business processes is starting to embrace new ways of automating repetitive tasks. 🙌🏼
This SOP template organizes all of your HR duties from recruitment through offboarding using ClickUp’s digital Whiteboards.
3. Marketing SOP Template by ClickUp
Every successful marketing campaign is made up of countless efforts. Seriously—it takes a lot of time, effort, and careful thought to deliver a thorough and engaging marketing strategy. With so many elements, an SOP is key.
This SOP template gives you the bones of a detailed and clear SOP for marketing project management, packaged in ClickUp’s collaborative and engaging document editor. ClickUp Docs are rich in styling, customization, and formatting features to bring your team all of the information and resources they need to deliver consistent quality across any marketing project.
4. Non-Profit SOP Template by ClickUp
What better way to bring your SOP to life than through a standardized template that’s as elaborate as it is visually stunning?
The Non-Profit SOP Template by ClickUp is that template.
This beginner-friendly ClickUp Doc helps you establish a comprehensive plan for an impactful non-profit project execution. It’s about time you and your team said goodbye to those “What do we do now?” questions once and for all.
5. Restaurant SOP Template by ClickUp
There’s no better way to organize and visualize restaurant SOPs than through this Restaurant SOP template by ClickUp.
This customizable SOP template serves as the ultimate source of information for the effective and successful operation of a restaurant.
6. Medical Technician SOP Template by Microsoft Word
If you’re currently leading a team of medical technicians, a template like this Medical Technician SOP template by Microsoft Word will help you establish your complex internal processes in a way that’s easy to follow.
7. Standard Operating Procedure Template by Microsoft Word
The Standard Operating Procedure template in Microsoft Word covers all the areas you’ll need to include when communicating procedures for your team. Simply edit the example provided in the Word document to customize the SOP template to your specific use case.
8. Company SOP Template by Microsoft Word
The Company SOP template by Microsoft Word was designed to serve multiple use cases. Whether you want to lay down the ground rules for reviewing anything from medical equipment to marketing operations, this SOP template can make it happen.
This resource acts as both a writing template and a user guide with highlighted text in each section that explains how to approach each task. Very nice touch, Microsoft Word.
9. Standard SOP Template by Google Docs
And for all of our G Suite teams out there…
This Google Docs SOP Template is simple and straightforward. 🙌🏼
…It’s also essentially the one-for-one competitor to the Microsoft Word SOP template listed above it.
It comes with an attractive and intuitive formatted table with well-laid-out subsections for Procedure Details, Purpose, Scope, and Revision History—ideal for roles that require step-by-step oversight.
10. Simple SOP Template in Google Docs
This Google Docs SOP template is divided into seven sections with clear instructions on how to fill those sections out.
The segments include Purpose (what the process is called), Scope (who it’s intended for), and Responsibilities (members of staff responsible for handling the most crucial aspects of the SOP), to name but a few.
How to Write an SOP
SOP templates are a great way to get started writing operating procedures quickly. They provide the basic structure that you can fill out and customize as needed—but what should your standard operating procedure (SOP) actually say?
If you’ve never created one from scratch before or don’t have the option of SOP templates at your disposal, this is the question of the hour. ⏰
Luckily, we’ve already done our homework in that department too. Here are a few tips that can help you develop your user-focused SOP:
Know your goal: Ask yourself what it will bring to the team, how it will improve your team’s experience, and if it will comply with company standards. Knowing what you want to achieve with your SOP will help you identify a handy starting point.
Define the end-user: AKA, know your audience. Who is this SOP for?
Make it a collaborative process: The best SOPs are written as a team. Feedback will only make your SOP stronger and more detailed. What’s more, you’ll likely end up with better ideas about how to complete tasks more efficiently.
Determine the scope and format of the SOP: The complexity of the procedure you’re defining in the SOP will dictate its format. The best course of action is to think basic—how can you break down your process in the simplest way possible?
Start with an outline: An outline will help you establish the key points your SOP needs to hit before you start drafting. It will also help you stay on track and possibly cut out a few rounds of edits before your SOP is approved!
These tips will help put you in the right mindset for creating a comprehensive SOP even with the help of a template, but if SOP templates aren’t your jam, there are also a few necessary elements to keep in mind.
Bonus: Employee handbook software
Example Elements of an SOP
Especially if you’re creating the first draft or outlining a rather simple process, following these nine SOP document elements will get the job done well.
If you’re ready, open up a ClickUp Doc and follow along!
- Header: This should include the title, document number, and version. Your header needs to clearly and succinctly identify the activity in question
- Purpose: Define the intent of the document. Aim to keep it under two sentences
- Scope: Define who or what the process applies to
- References and Related Documents: Include any necessary documents or references needed to understand and execute the process effectively
- Definitions: Break down any terminology that may not be familiar to your audience and spell out any abbreviations or acronyms
- Roles and responsibilities: Define the roles responsible for executing the process
- Procedure: Only include the steps necessary for accomplishing the objective of the procedure. Remember, it’s the quality that counts, not the quantity
- Revision History: This section is for recording the changes made to a procedure as well as the justification for doing so
- Approval Signature: This section is typically found on the back page or at the end of a document, but not all SOPs require one. Approval signatures may include the author, reviewer, or leader involved
Who Benefits From Using an SOP?
Customer Service Teams: Standard operating procedures (SOP) are important for customer service teams to ensure that all interactions with customers are professional and consistent. This document outlines the process for handling any customer request, such as refunds or returns, so that team members can provide the best possible service.
- Customer Relationship Management SOP
- Handling Customer Complaints SOP
- Ticketing System SOP
- CRM SOP
- Call Center Operations SOP
Businesses: Having a standard operating procedure (SOP) allows businesses to stay organized and make sure that all tasks are completed on time. This document helps them track progress and ensure that all stakeholders are aware of any changes or updates necessary for the project.
- Small Business
- Business Information System
- Franchise Business
- Business Continuity Plan
- E-Commerce Company
The Answer is SOP Templates
Constructing a thorough standard operating procedure can be a lengthy process, but a flexible SOP template is an excellent way to maximize your time while developing this top-tier resource.
No matter your preferred work style, there is an SOP template out there for you. But if you’re looking for an option that is as powerful as it is cost-effective, you’re going to want to start with ClickUp.
The standard operating procedure templates featured on this list only scratch the surface of ClickUp’s vast template library for every use case—not to mention its rich set of productivity features and customizable project management tools available on any pricing plan.
With over 15 customizable workflow views, countless ways to automate repetitive tasks, and over 1,000 integrations to streamline your processes, ClickUp is the ultimate platform to build detailed SOPs for teams and companies of any size.
Access tons of customizable and collaborative SOP tools including ClickUp Docs and Whiteboards, plus unlimited tasks and members at absolutely no cost when you sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with ClickUp today!