New employees need to learn, whether it’s learning how to do their jobs effectively, operate equipment, or use software. A training manual is a booklet that contains instructions for a job or task. In some companies, it’s typical for new hires to receive a small handbook they can use as future reference.
Besides onboarding, businesses use training manuals to accomplish various tasks, including sharing SOPs, introducing new protocols, rolling out new systems, training customers, and sharing product instructions.
Are you tasked with preparing a training manual? Don’t know where to start? The following pointers can help you out:
Step 1: Identify the objective and purpose
A straightforward way to determine the objective of the training manual is to simply ask: “What job or task will the employee learn to perform after interacting with the manual?”
With new hires, the training manual often seeks to impact the company culture or values. Your training manual should also support business goals, so you need to define them clearly.
Step 2: Seek help from collaborators
It may take team effort to create a training manual. That’s because you may need an in-depth understanding of key processes for each job, and the manual acts as a reference point for new hires to function properly.
So, who do you need on your side? Well, start by identifying who has the information you need. Get help with writing, editing, reviewing, and designing the tasks.
Use open-ended questions to interview employees about their responsibilities. Ask them about what someone should know to perform their task effectively. Get input from managers and senior staff as well.
Step 3: Think about your audience
Many training manuals fail to hit the mark because they entirely ignore their audience. The ineffective manual may fail to address key challenges. It may share outdated practices because it fails to recognise which knowledge employees have or lack.
You need to have a clear picture of the intended audience. So, your research should focus on determining the audience’s training needs, mindsets, demographics, job roles, backgrounds, education, past training, experience, and more. Conducting a survey can uncover a lot of information you can use.
Step 4: Analyze information to include
An effective training guide contains the right content. How can you figure out what to include and what to leave out? Base the decision on the purpose of the manual and learning objectives. Determine which processes require how-to steps.
Compiling information from multiple sources is also key to preparing a good manual. You can use best practices from past projects, checklists, SOPs, internal documents, and more.
Step 5: Create a template for the training manual
A template gives your manual a constant format and structure. You should also have a table of contents for easier referencing. Now, here are some sections you can consider adding to the training manual:
You should gather at least 3 samples of training manuals from other organisations —reviewing their strengths and weaknesses can reveal how to structure your company’s training manuals.
Step 6: Write the final draft, gather feedback and improve
Writing the first draft is the start of an editorial process that will involve writing, reviewing, revising, and publishing the final manual. You should get feedback from participants and actual employees during the writing process. You also need to request feedback from new hires during onboarding and training.
Create training modules with WorkPilot!
WorkPilot is a learning management system you can use to create online tutorials for your team. You’ll enjoy many advantages with online tutorials, including the ease of sharing them with new hires. You can easily update past content and set edit and read permissions.