Customer Success Story
100% team growth
+30 happy team members
1 Remote knowledge base
Getting 30 employees to use the same processes 😬
In 2013, Koen Lepez struck out on his own to create Direct – a whole new kind of managed security service provider.
Eight years on and 30 employees later, it’s safe to say Koen is uniquely experienced at tackling the challenges a growing business can throw your way.
And for Koen, the growing pains started pretty early on in one important area: Processes.
“It was painful for me and my colleagues whenever a new hire joined. Time and time again explaining, ‘You need to do this like this, etc.’ At a certain point, as a new starter, you don’t want to ask again, so you lose a lot of time trying to find it yourself. And often you then do it wrong.”
Trying scale at pace
For Koen, the challenge was the breakneck speed at which Direct was growing. And while fast growth is a great problem to have, if Koen and the team at Direct wanted to maintain their success, he knew they’d have to find a way to eliminate inefficiencies across the entire team.
While Koen’s peers in other businesses were content with documenting their processes in Excel, he quickly realized he wasn’t doing his team any favors by hiding away their SOPs in a spreadsheet.
“Most of these guys were doing the same as us: putting their accountability chart in some Excel document here or there. Nobody knows where it is, how it’s documented or how they can find it.”
Koen knew there had to be a better way. He needed a way to “make processes as valuable as possible for employees, so they go back and use them”. That’s when his search for a process documentation tool began.
“It’s not just Whale or just EOS. It’s a combination of all those things that make you a mature company. A place where people find some peace in their jobs and maybe peace in their personal lives, too. What I won’t ever forget is the time that the wife of one of my colleagues came to me and said, ‘Since my husband has been working with you guys, he’s a different man. He’s really changed for the better.’”
“At first, we were writing out processes in Word and it was very counterintuitive. The moment we started using Whale, we saw that people got excited about it. Not excited as in ‘Wow, we’re going to go to Disneyland’, but there was definitely a feeling of excitement around the idea of, ‘Hey, we’re finally moving along with this’.”
While they hadn’t quite hit Disneyland level just yet (watch this space), Whale was the solution that offered Koen and his team more than just a place to store some dusty old SOPs.
It wasn’t long before Koen started to notice his shiny new solution wasn’t just a superficial tool or some ‘nice-to-have’ software. It was actually crafting the company culture and helping to engrain its values across the team.
Finally, Koen and his leadership team were free from the pain of answering the same questions over and over again. With the right SOPs at their fingertips, even Direct’s newest hires had the answers they needed to make the right decisions for the business.
More than just a document repository
“When you have something written out in Whale you can really look at the process and ask ‘What am I doing wrong and what am I doing right?’, and then optimize it. That doesn’t happen until you write it out — you do it over and over again, put a lot of effort in, but keep making the same mistakes. When you document and share it, the company can look at what will make it as efficient as possible — that’s when you really start seeing optimization.”
Faster employee onboarding and fewer repeat questions
“We had documents here and there and in places where nobody could find them, so we were looking for a tool like Whale where we can store not only our processes, but also how to onboard someone, how to share information, how to keep it up to date and even how Direct started. Because those are the real challenges. Even if you put something somewhere, nobody looks at it. Whale helped us put some traction on it.”
“In onboarding, processes are especially useful because everybody is told the same things. Having the right information in the right place has made hiring more efficient for them and for us. And if they don’t remember next time, they can just go back and find it.”
Processes save you time and improve operating efficiency. Rather than making up their own answers, Koen’s employees are finding everything they need, right where they need it — they don’t even have to switch screens.
And it’s not just the time it takes to find answers that’s been a game-changer for Koen. He and his team are also onboarding team members in a fraction of the time it used to take.
Of course, Koen and the team at Direct didn’t get here overnight. There was an initial time investment in getting the entire business standardized and documented. Yet surprisingly, the team at Direct was able to document the vast majority of their processes in less than a year.
Standardizing processes leads to time saving
“What I won’t ever forget is the time that the wife of one of my colleagues came to me and said, ‘Since my husband has been working with you guys, he’s a different man. He’s really changed for the better.’”
The way Koen sees it, eating the process documentation elephant bite by bite is the only way to do it. Once you’ve gotten most of it down, it’s as simple as setting regular notifications for the right people to update the right SOPs.
“It’s nice to know that you’re not just making a business impact, you’re making a personal impact in employees’ lives. As a company, transparency is one of our core values. Decisions should always be transparent. With those core values documented in Whale, employees can go back to them if they are ever in doubt for any decision.”
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the challenge was the breakneck speed at which Direct was growing. And while fast growth is a great problem to have, if Koen and the team at Direct wanted to maintain their success, he knew they’d have to find a way to eliminate inefficiencies across the entire team.
Finding a playtform that could help the team with documentation, systemization, centralization and scaling
Documentation with Automation!
For Koen, that sense of transparency, support, and unity in the team is what process documentation with Whale has been about. It’s not so much the SOPs themselves, but the culture you create when you invite your team into the workflows that make your business a success.