As businesses look for ways to make their operations more efficient it makes sense to look within at their own processes and practices. In many cases this means reviewing training protocols and job efficiency tools. A crucial tool in making sure processes are followed carefully and thoroughly by new hires and seasoned team members are job aids.
Job aids are a resource that guides someone through a particular task or problem. Job aids can be as informal as a reminder on a sticky note or as detailed as a step by step guide. In a business setting where you have employees who need to follow procedures closely or the same way each time, a more formal guide may be preferred. These tools can assist your employees as they work through a task and make sure that their time is used efficiently and do not have to remember every step each time they complete a process. By creating an effective job aid, businesses can reinforce what has been implemented in the training process, facilitate better decision making, and reduce errors at work.
A few things need to happen before a successful job aid can be created. First, you need to gather relevant information about the task that requires the aid. Start with a bottom-up approach and talk to employees about the process you are creating the aid for. Gathering information will also include figuring out who the tool will be used by. After finding that information, you will need to go through and select the format with which you will build the aid. Will you use a step by step guide with images, a bulleted list, or even a brief video? When that format is chosen, then you will be able to design the job aid using clear, precise, and direct instructions that will share the goal quickly and easily.
Once your job aid draft is complete, the next critical step is to test the job aid. Give the aid to your seasoned staff members and have them use it and follow it carefully. Use their feedback to streamline the aid and be sure each direction on the aid has a purpose and that it conveys that purpose clearly.
As you evaluate your job aids or implement them into your business training protocol for the first time, be sure you communicate with your employees about the process. Ask them what is working and what needs to be adjusted. As you use these new job aids for training purposes, check in with your new hires to be sure they are fulfilling their purpose of making the training process easier.
If you are in the market for job aid assistance, the SBDC can help you as you progress along the way. We can help you develop the concept and work with you all the way through implementation of your job aid. If you are interested in learning more about how job aids can help your training and process management check out our recently recorded webinar, “Cheat Sheets Made Easy: Creating Job Aids For Employee Training,” presented by eLearning specialist, Bridget Manley.
About the Author: Rob has experience in commercial banking, Accounting Systems, and he speaks Spanish. As someone who loves seeing small businesses succeed, Rob enjoys the journey a small business takes from start to finish. When he is not on the road or meeting with clients, Rob enjoys spending time with his family and enjoying the outdoors, hunting, or fishing.