Imagine that your company is like a boat, your employees are the sailors that keep it sailing. However, every now and then the engine requires some improvements to continue sailing smoothly. That tweaks, improvements, and oiling is what training guides are all about. The boat needs to be ready for any disrupting weather conditions, and requires adjustments for any circumstances, new challenges… Thus, your sailors need to incorporate.
Employees need to keep evolving, learning and understanding the latest practices, technology and new tools to perfect their craft. They all need to sail together in the same direction. The training manual helps the employees continuously grow and get better at their jobs, and consequently, increase employee efficiency, proficiency, productivity…
The traditional guide has been improving all over the years making it more interactive. But its purpose has remained consistent. The purpose of the Training manual is to improve the quality of a process, job or task performed. But the training manual not only can be helpful on training employees but for other things too, such as onboarding new employees, implementing new softwares and systems, new protocol or process documentation, customer training retention, and education and products instructions and information.
The first step in creating a training manual is to fix clear objectives in mind. That would be really useful for setting up an effective training manual. A way to set up goals, would be by answering these simple questions:
By answering these simple questions, it will help you map out the training manual and set up the route to start crafting the training manual. Is vital to have clear goals so the chances to increase the effectiveness of creating the training guide will be higher. After the training is complete, the employees must be able to carry out the tasks for which the training manual is intended.
A common mistake companies make is writing the training manual without having a picture of who are you writing the training guide for. We shouldn't ignore our audience because if we have clear in our minds who the target is, the training guide will be much more effective, adapting to each one's needs. In the end, we aspire to develop helpful content, and that depends on if the people who are reading it find it useful. It's important to answer when, where and how people will access your training content.
If you are training your employees (or training new hires) on new software tools that no one has used before, then going in deep with explanations and describing the steps precisely and clearly can help them understand it quickly. However, if you are teaching them some additional features of software they already know, there is no need to start from scratch. Keeping your audience in mind will give you an idea of how specific you need to be throughout your manual.
To understand your audience you must answer these questions:
Right-size content by answering these key questions. With the understanding of audience skill level, content, content preferences, we can start building powerful content to fit their needs. Understanding your audience needs will lift the level of the training manual.By having that clear, and spending some quality time fleshing out the audience picture will help you craft the training content that solves audiences problems.
Once you know the information you are going to include in the training manual, it is time to organize the content strategically in order to make it easy to follow. Make sure beforehand that you are thorough with every point and you have everything you need to write for the training manual. The training manual must cover all the steps in-depth from start to finish to make sure the content is in a smooth flow. You could outline the flow of the training guide into chapters, sections or parts.
Why is it so important to organize the information? Because the first impression is really what matters. The first impression must trigger a comfortable feeling in our audience, so they easily find the information they are searching for. Organizing the information is important to avoid confusion and is easy-reading for our audience. Discovering the information they need quickly and finding specific content and topics easily it's crucial on the first impression.
Strategically planning your content means laying out all of your training material and organizing it in a logical route. So, in order to make it easy to navigate, consider organizing your content from beginner to advanced topics, or product features, by jobs to be done, usage frequency, popularity…
Creating a comprehensive guide also means organizing the topics and considering placing them in groups and using headings and subsections in order to create a logical flow and organization within your manual.
Here are a few tips for organizing content in your manual:
We have set objectives for our training manual, researched our audience to know them better, and planned the content that we are going to include in our manual.
It's time to determine how we will present our content. We need to start thinking about our audience and content, and then pose ways to deliver it.
Some options to deliver content for training manuals are:
To set up the ideal content format, we have to ponder about the context of our audience, how our audience is going to consume the content, what tools or resources they have, how much time they have to consume it , and where are they going to consume it?
Some topics are more suitable to how-to guides (how to implement a new software) others are more suitable to video format, while others topics are well-suited for articles accompanied by visual formats.
If you are showing, whether it is a complex process or easy process and needs to be understood how-to guides is your way. Any process can be explained in detail. Now I will explain to you, how-to do that.
At this point, you’re ready to start developing your content. Developing content for your training manual can be a long and tiring process. A good way of making sure you don't miss out during the process is to get some of the team members to help you and work on the training manual collaboratively.
Your information must provide:
There are a wide-variety of ways to deliver your content and increase the effectiveness of your training manual. One of them is how-to guides, they can explain any complex process and make it easier to understand. The perfect tool that provides that is Uphint. It's a software that creates automatically screenshots guides in seconds and can make difficult processes to understand (implementing a new software tool) and make it easier to grasp for anyone. Through the screenshots, you can see the whole process in detail, and add description wherever part of the process.
Here is an example:
The goal of training guides is to educate employees, and nowadays employees are used to learning online. Uphint is a perfect educational tool, where you can understand different processes in seconds. The information in the training manuals can be interactive and easy-understanding thanks to all the interactive ways to deliver. Training guides are no longer thick files.
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Procedure manuals are vital for businesses, offering clear guidelines for efficient operations with a focus on clarity, consistent terminology, and regular updates for ongoing relevance.