Italian communities around the world are known to take part in passata day. It’s a time when tomatoes are plentiful and ripe, and families come together to prepare bottle after bottle of delicious passata to last them through the coming year. It’s a way of preserving the tomatoes before they spoil, and providing a kitchen staple that is used in a multitude of traditional and modern dishes.
Passata day has become a time-honoured Italian tradition. It’s also an excellent demonstration of how planning, preparation and collaboration can make life easier.
But our desire to prepare and plan transcends tomato sauce: It manifests itself across many aspects of our lives, and it’s a cornerstone of building a successful business.
While the end of year and all its seasonal disruptions may still seem a long way off, now is the time to start thinking about what we can do to minimize the holiday season’s effects on our businesses so we can better enjoy our well-earned break.
As a Way We Doer, you’re already ahead of the game, with a platform to help you and your team get the business ready, whether you’re heading into peak production, or a Christmas close-down. Here are our Top 4 tips to help you start your preparations.
1. Put the right policies and procedures in place
Every business needs a suite of comprehensive policies and procedures. These documents form the guiding principles of your organisation and everyone on your team should be familiar with them. Your company’s policies and procedures help you and your staff manage compliance, build efficiencies, assign responsibilities, and ensure your activities are properly documented. They also outline how to respond appropriately to situations as they arise.
In the course of our regular work, we might ask a colleague or subject matter expert when we need help with a particular issue. But during the holiday season, those we usually turn to might not be so readily available. It’s then that we need a Plan B.
Whether you’re operating a skeleton team, or you’ve temporarily brought on extra staff to get you through a peak time, having a reliable set of policies and procedures that everyone has access to could be key to your business’s steady operation through the holiday season.
2. Cross-train your team
Training and development are critical to making sure your team always knows what they need to do.
While your policies and procedures provide the foundation of how the business is run, it’s important to teach your staff how to turn these principles into actions.
Training methods and learning styles are constantly evolving, and no one organization has all the answers. However, there is one training concept every business should adopt ahead of the silly season: Cross-training. In its simplest form, cross-training ensures there are multiple people within an organization that know how to complete various tasks outside their own areas of responsibility. These might range from low-value activities that help keep the business’s motor running, all the way to high-stakes, high-value tasks.
There are numerous benefits to cross-training your staff. In particular, workforce sustainability in times of need — like the holiday season. By cross-training employees, you minimize the risks of key person dependencies and any resultant loss of momentum.
3. Have training plans in place
A well-constructed plan should detail the training activities you intend to have — including cross-training — across all levels of your business. It should cover things like:
- online and virtual sessions
- face-to-face workshops and courses
- workplace health and safety, and other compliance training
- education on daily tasks and activities
- training on key plant and equipment.
While our focus here may be on getting ready for the end-of-year festivities, this is really an all-year-round practice. Make sure your training plan has activities programmed throughout the year, with a range of activities to keep your team’s knowledge current.
Make sure your training plan fits within your operational plan. Factor in peak times and quiet times, so you can deliver training at optimal times for your team members, and your business. Identify who in your teams need what training, and what methods will best suit them.
4. Plug in to your operational plan
Your operational plan is the document that sets out how you plan to use your organization’s resources. A good operational plan identifies all the resources you’ll need to run the business, from hardware, equipment and materials, right through to the people who’ll be doing the work. It quantifies those resources and schedules them appropriately across the course of the year.
As part of developing your operational plan, you should factor in contingency planning, including how you intend to manage resourcing over seasonal periods like the holidays. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
- Will we need temp or contract employees to cover the regular team?
- Will we have different hours of operation? What will this mean?
- What base capabilities will we need to keep operations running smoothly during this time?
- What training will the team need to help them meet capability requirements?
As James Baker once said “proper preparation prevents poor performance”. A solid operational plan is a critical part of proper preparation for your business.
Some final thoughts
Even if you only implement one or two of these suggestions, your holiday season will be that much smoother — for you and your staff. And for those lucky enough to be taking some time off these holidays, their R&R will be sweeter for having the peace of mind that the business is running well.
As a Way We Doer, your policies and procedures are living documents your team can access as often as they need to — no more dusty folders getting ignored on a high shelf somewhere. Make the most of Way We Do by turning your other critical business documents into dynamic resources you and your team can turn to and take your business from survive to thrive.
If you need help figuring out how best to plan for the year’s end using Way We Do, reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.