“We have a lot of people, in a lot of roles, with a variety of duties which often share protocols.”
Resident care facilities are caregivers, hoteliers, chefs, and activities directors. Our client feeds, houses, and provides medical care for thousands of patients across many states, each with its own rules and regulations. This means a lot of processes, procedures, and protocols, all interconnected and with legal responsibilities.
The industry is highly documented. From admissions procedures to treatment protocols, from dietary restrictions to transport procedures. They maintain facilities, equipment, and full-on industrial kitchens. Some protocols vary by state, and some procedures are used by both nurses and exercise therapists. Some roles need all of the information, some roles need some of the information, and some need a little info from a lot of areas.
Getting the right information to the right people at the right time can be a challenge when you have to manage such a large volume of information.
“Standards and procedures are constantly changing. We can’t afford to have our manuals and guides out of sync.”
We began by breaking this challenge down into smaller parts.
- The first is that there is a lot of information – different playbooks, guides, procedures, and protocols for every department, including finance and marketing.
- There are also different authors, experts, and stakeholders, which can lead to siloes of information – information that affects other departments.
- Lastly, the same information can be slightly different depending on which state you’re in, or whether you’re a chef or a cook, a nurse or a physical therapist.
They needed a strategy to organize the information, and governance and technology to ensure it remains current.
Content re-use – when a procedure, or part of a procedure apply to more than one role or area – is a major consideration. Content should be re-purposed, not duplicated, to make sure it is uniform. We made sure to implement a “write once, update everywhere” philosophy, which makes the content more accurate and saves time when changes occur.
A common problem in a situation where there is this much content is to make it worse with a “someone might need this” attitude. That is both understandable – trying to ensure all the information is documented – and counter-productive. Too much information, to the wrong people, can frustrate users by making information difficult to find. We broke down the audiences (roles) for policies, creating a matrix of ‘who needs what, and when do they need it’.
Governance and Technology
So much of content strategy and management is in doing the little things right. Every topic should have a single authority (maybe with input from others). Topic naming should follow a similar convention. Content review and workflows to guarantee accuracy is critical. And you should always control the version of any document users see, and be able to see its history.
It’s not very fun, but governance is critical to keeping things clean and simple.
Our technology solution includes, in part, a content management system to facilitate the following:
- Multiple authors for similar topics
- Workflow for review and approvals
- Content re-use
- Localized versions of protocols
- Multiple outputs (channels), like print, PDF, web, and customized training guides
“We no longer worry that our people don’t have access to the information they need in order to do their jobs effectively. We know we are getting the right information, to the right people, in the format they need it most.”
Our client has more than a dozen different manuals, playbooks, and guides, all cross-linked to a forms library. The organization, governance rules to create, modify, and approve new content make sure there is not duplication of effort, and the speed with which they get information to their users is dramatically improved.
A major benefit of using a content management system is the ability to customize content for specific training and reference purposes. The playbook for opening a new facility, for example, can be presented to the leadership team as a comprehensive overview of the steps and milestones, and also sectioned out, with much more detail, for each of the department heads.
About White Deer Group
White Deer Group is a content and knowledge management agency with experienced franchise advisors who help guide emerging franchise companies through the process of documenting their knowledge. We work with emerging and established brands to remove barriers to growth. We love to talk to people about their franchise operations, and consultations are always free.