When it comes to employee training, a well-made manual is an extremely valuable resource. It helps new employees get up-to-speed quickly and ensures your team follows the same procedures. Through a manual you can communicate rules, tasks, processes, and expectations clearly.
If you’re wondering how to create employee training manuals that people actually use, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss what goes into an engaging training manual, as well as some tips on how to create one yourself.
What is an employee training manual good for?
A training manual is a great way to ensure that your employees receive the same quality of training, no matter who is conducting it. It also allows you to communicate clearly what is expected of employees, how tasks are supposed to be handled, and processes completed. It does not matter whether this concerns a new hire or company veterans. Training manuals are always a good resource to ensure clear and helpful communication.
A well-made employee training manual is also a valuable reference tool, as employees may refer back to it whenever they need a refresher on procedures or protocols. Some processes only arise once in a blue moon, so why should employees remember them by heart if they have a good reference available.
Especially detailed manuals––such as step-by-step instructions––have the potential to confer implicit knowledge that arises on the job. Such detailed instructions will inevitably capture elements that written explanations and procedures do not cover.
When you create an employee training manual, there are a few key elements you will want to include:
An overview of the company, its mission and values.
This is an important element to set the tone for your manual, especially for new hires. However, company values are lived in the everyday workings and a description of them in the manual will only go so far.
A list of house rules.
This may go without saying but of course you need to always communicate rules clearly. This way the employee knows immediately what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not. House rules do not communicate specific process knowledge. Instead, they set the scene for a new employee to acclimatize to your company.
A description of the positions, their duties and responsibilities.
This will aid the way your team works together, by avoiding an overlapping of work and clearly identifying responsibilities. It also means that employees know whom to address with specific questions.
An overview over the company’s different processes.
A visual representation helps to create a holistic image of how company processes relate to each other or are interwoven, a. Flowcharts and process maps are extremely useful for employees to get a comprehensive picture of processes and responsibilities.
Step-by-step guides for specific tasks.
This part is directly connected to the output of your training manual, that is whether people will be able use the manual effectively. With step-by-step guides you can teach your colleagues to complete tasks the right way from day one. This way, you turn newcomers into productive contributors to your daily business more quickly. Company veterans can easily adopt new processes correctly.
Creating employee training manuals that everyone understands
Now that you know what to include in your training manual, we gathered a few tips for you on how to create training manuals in practice.
Consistency is key
There are two main ways to create consistent training manuals:
- have an exact template for manually creating step-by-step instructions or
- use a software tool that does the heavy lifting for you
Generally, following a template is a very helpful starting point when creating your own employee training manual. No need to reinvent the wheel, there are plenty of templates out there for you to adopt. A template provides a framework for you to work with and helps you organize all information you need to include.
A template is also crucial for your step-by-step instructions of specific company tasks. Remember how we said that those instructions are the crucial element for getting results out of your training manual?
Now imagine those instructions lack certain steps, are short on visuals, or are simply incomprehensible. Instead of the training manual helping you with company productivity, it only creates confusion. And even worse, employees might simply do their tasks wrong as a result.
This, unfortunately, is a reality for many companies who have incoherent step-by-step instructions in their training manuals.
Software for all-time consistency in training manuals
Especially if your company has a limited budget, your instinctive preference might be the first option. Why spend money on software if you can create a free template with a text editing programme you already have?
Admittedly, there are a lot of documentation tools out there with tons of functions you will likely never use. But manual documentation only sounds like a good option until you actually have to do it – and notice how much time and effort it really takes.
It is simply a laborious, low level task that keeps you and your team from doing actual work. And if we are being honest, it is simply annoying having to create screenshots, typing those repetitive descriptive texts, and putting together a document that still looks like it just came straight from the 90’s (maybe even with Comic Sans?).
FlowShare for consistently easy step-by-step instructions
That is why we developed FlowShare. This documentation tool is designed to be a lightweight and simple solution for providing practical employee training without any unnecessarily complex features. With FlowShare you create documentation while you perform the actual task and it automatically captures every step you make. The outcomes are consistent, detailed, and easily accessible step-by-step instructions for your training manuals.
The best way of creating employee training manuals that people will want to read
Back to the greater project of creating complete training manuals. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for this task, as the best way to create a training manual will vary depending on the company and the position being trained for.
Different parts of the manual require different approaches. After all, explaining and visualizing a specific process varies greatly from elaborating the company’s values. However, there are a few general tips you can follow to make sure your employee training manual is as effective as possible:
- Keep it simple and concise. Employees should be able to easily find the information they need without feeling overwhelmed.
- Include plenty of visuals. Especially step-by-step guides should be accompanied by screenshots of the individual process steps.
- Make it interactive. Rather than just listing out information, try to engage employees with quizzes, exercises, and real-life examples whenever possible.
We already introduced you to FlowShare to create the step-by-step guides of your training manuals. Of course, there are a number of tools available for creating manuals. This includes tools for process maps, interactive training, videos, or reference systems. We have created a full guide for you on how to choose the training manual software that fits your company’s needs.
How BDAE uses FlowShare for precise employee training manuals
Like many of our customers, BDAE Group became aware of FlowShare when they were implementing ERP software. Located with branches in Germany and the UAE, and a service center in the US, the company offers social security solutions abroad for individuals and companies and provides consultancies to HR departments related to this matter.
In 2017, BDAE Group decided to use FlowShare for the implementation of new ERP software. To master the immense amount of processes that needed to be documented in this project, FlowShare provided an ideal solution not just to document processes quickly and effortlessly but also to split the task between many different team members. FlowShare’s ease-of-use made it possible even for less technically inclined colleagues to become documentation experts.BDAE quickly realized FlowShare’s value beyond their ERP migration project. Capturing implicit, everyday team knowledge with FlowShare became a main factor for the company to keep using FlowShare. As the company CEO told us in a feedback interview:
The ability to capture processes quickly is a huge asset for BDAE Group. It encourages team members to document even in situations where they would otherwise not have time to. Today, the company uses FlowShare to create practical step-by-step instructions as a training for new hires and as a reference for long-time employees.
In this article, we explained why comprehensive and accessible training manuals are important. We showed how to create manuals that are easy to use and help you and your colleagues learn new things.
We have shown the importance to have clear and precise step-by-step instructions in your training manuals. This way, employees can learn tasks quickly and easily.
FlowShare is a gamechanger in documenting every step of a process with minimal effort and maximum outcome. It is available in different versions and plans to make it accessible to companies of all sizes. You can check them out here to find the right one for you.
Give FlowShare a try for 14 days and see how simple it is to train your staff! With our free trial version, you can create an unlimited number of employee training manuals.
Create an unlimited number of guides, free for 14 days.
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