Employees are vital to the growth of any company and they also tend to be one of the largest cost centers. Especially in small businesses where each employee needs to be able to pull their own weight, it is critical that they know what to do and how to do it so that precious company resources are not squandered. To compound the risk, it’s common for new employees to be hired on with very loosely defined job descriptions or expectations.

The best way to mitigate these risks is to put time and effort into ensuring that tasks and accountabilities are well defined. This often looks like employee handbooks whether they are printed and bound or a simple set of Word documents stored on a company file server. Ultimately, having access to how things are supposed to be done give the employee the confidence to know they are doing their job and meeting the business owner’s expectations. Equally importantly it empowers the business leaders to define how the work is to be done.

However, this model does pose draw backs. In the case of physical media, revisions take time, effort, and money to reprint and re-distribute the changes and are hardly ever quick. Word documents are a step up in terms of how quickly changes can be distributed but still lack from limitations in mixed media (like video) and have very limited searchability. In other words, defining how a process should be done is great, but it only works if the right person can find that process at the right time.

The good news is, due to the emergence of powerful online technologies, there is a better way to approach the concept of the classic “Employee Handbook.” Measurable Genius has developed an online software, Jarvis, built on the wiki approach where each process for each position can be defined independently and related to one another. This type of technology enables each employee to contribute to defining and continuously refining how each task is completed and they are not limited to text and pictures; URL links, video, charts, and a multitude of other mixed medias can all be leveraged. Who better to input this data, then the employee who is doing the task. This information can be refined over time. If people move or leave the company, you have a record of how things are currently done. You are not left with rifling through files or wasting time looking for information that you once had.

Most importantly, everything is searchable, meaning that employees have a single dashboard from where they search and find information on how to do what they are working on in a fast and efficient manner. By relating job titles to work processes and accountabilities, it becomes easy to define what potential new employees will be expected to do during the hiring process and when they are on-boarded, they will have an easier time hitting the ground running.