If your company is like a car, your employees are the engine that keeps it running. However, every now and then the engine requires some fine tuning and oiling to continue running smoothly. This fine-tuning is what training is all about.
Employees, whether new or old, need continuous training to be in-tune with the latest skill sets. It’s important for them to keep evolving and understanding the latest practices, technology and cutting-edge tools to perfect their craft.
You don’t have to take our word for it though, take a look at the results of a study conducted by “The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)”, which collected training information from over 2500 firms and found that companies that offer comprehensive training:
- Have 218% higher income per employee than those with less comprehensive training
- Have a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training
- Generate a 6% higher shareholder return
Not only does training help employees continuously grow and get better at their jobs, but it also directly affects the company’s bottom line. Training can help increase employee efficiency, proficiency, productivity, and overall profits.
But what role does a company training manual play in the overall training of employees? Let’s dive in and find out.
Why Training Manuals are Important
Training manuals play a critical role in employee training by teaching new employees about a company and its processes. Existing employees grow and learn about new systems, tools, or software. Employees who are not constantly learning or new hires who are not familiar with the tools, apps, software, or machinery used by their company can become disengaged in their work. This disengagement often leads to poor job satisfaction and higher employee turnover. In the end, both the employee and the employer gets hurt.
The stats are there to prove it:
- 40% of employees with poor training leave their jobs within the first year.
- 74% of employees feel that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.
- 72% of employees even think of financially contributing to their own training.
- 68% of workers claim that training and development is the most important company policy.
- Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.
- Over $500 billion is lost every year due to employee disengagement.
The stats are never-ending. The problem is real. Employees want to grow and hone their skill sets through regular training and developmental opportunities. A good way for companies to start this much-needed process is by crafting an awesome company training manual or training guide.
Let’s get straight to the point and see what are the most important elements of a perfect training manual!
How to Create the Perfect Training Manual
In order to create a training manual that is not only informative but interesting to read, you need to have a plan in place. We have put together some key points you need to keep in mind to create the best training manual.
What’s the objective?
The first step in creating an effective training guide is to have a clear objective in mind.
- What’s is the purpose of creating the training manual?
- What business goal is supported by the training manual?
- What activities should be included in the training manual?
Answers to questions like these will help you figure out the main objective of creating the training guide. After the training is complete, the employees must be able to carry out the tasks for which the training manual is being created.
Get yourself some help!
Writing a training manual is not an easy task. You can’t be casual about it. Your employees are counting on you for help as their entire work might depend upon the information present in the training manual. A good way of making sure you don’t miss out or miswrite some critical information is to get some help. Gather your peers around and start working on a training manual collaboratively. One person could be in charge of writing it while others search for the information, organize the information, or create visual assets for the manual.
Think about what you want to include.
In order to create an effective training guide, you need to have a good idea of what type of content you want to include in it. Compile all the information, knowledge, process, checklists etc that needs to be included in the training manual. Make sure you are thorough with every point and have everything you need to write the training manual. Never, ever, rely on your memory!
Even skipping a small step may lead to confusion amongst the readers. For example, skipping to tell the reader about an important switch in the new machinery can not only be misleading but can also be dangerous.
Keep your audience in mind.
A common mistake company’s make while crafting their training manuals is ignoring its intended audience. The content of the training manual directly depends upon the type of audience reading it. If your training your employees on a new software that no one has used before (or training new hires), then going in deep with explanations and describing the steps precisely and clearly can help them grasp the knowledge quickly. However, if you are teaching them some additional features of a software they already use, no need to go all-in from scratch. Keeping your audience in mind will give you an idea of how broad or specific you need to be throughout the manual.
Once you have an idea of what all information you want to include in the training manual, its time to organize that information. Outline the flow of the training guide into chapters, sections, or parts. Make sure that the training manual is in a smooth flow and covers all the time in-depth from start to finish. Organizing the information is important to avoid confusion amongst the readers and make it an easy read for them.
Add a table of contents.
Adding a table of contents to your training manual is a must. If your training manual is heavy on pages, the importance of having a table of contents increases exponentially. Table of contents act provide navigation to the reader and help them go to a particular topic quickly. This is especially useful when employees need to go back to the training manual to refresh their memory on a particular topic, helping them save time and effort. Using a document editor which automatically creates a table of contents along with subheadings is a good way to do it.
Summarize each section.
Ending each section of the training manual with a summary can do wonders for your employees. They can quickly get a recap of whatever they have learned so far, which helps save them a lot of time and effort. Try to highlight only the most important information from the chapter/section that people should take away.
Make You Training Manuals Interactive
Let’s face it. Training manuals are well, boring. They are filled with text and are not very engaging. Studies have shown that we can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second! On top of that, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. It’s clear- images and videos convey a richer communication experience than text-heavy content alone. Making your training guides interactive with training videos and audio lessons can be a great way to enhance engagement and generate interest amongst employees. However, most document editors don’t allow you to add a video or audio to your documents. Don’t worry, we got you covered with a neat trick to add audio/video content to your training manuals at the end of this blog. Keep on reading!
Add quizzes at the end!
At the end of each major section of the manual, add a short quiz or learning activity to measure employee learning and retention. You can add quick-fire multiple choice questions or fill in the blanks to make learning engaging and fun. Include answers to these quizzes in a separate section so that the employees can gauge their learning and see if they need a refresher on a particular topic.
Ask for feedback.
Since training plays a crucial role in the work life of every employee of the organization, its important to always keep on improving the training process and material to make it even more perfect. Therefore, always ask employees to give their honest feedback and suggestions on how to make training more effective. You can conduct a feedback session after distributing the training guides or include a section at the end of the manual for employees to write in their suggestions. This is an important step as it helps you craft the perfect training manual and ensure that the manuals are beneficial and productive for everyone in the future.
Create Training Manuals the Right Way with Bit
After learning about all the key points to include in your training manuals, we know you are itching to get on with the work of creating one. However, what good is knowledge if you don’t have a means to deploy it? This is why we would like to introduce you to Bit, the smartest document collaboration tool to create training manuals and other workplace documents for free!
Bit is a new age cloud-based document collaboration tool that helps teams create, manage and track workplace documents including training manuals, fact sheet, sales decks, project proposals, ebooks, case studies, employee onboarding docs, media kits, and many more.
Bit helps you make sure your training manuals are more than just plain boring text and images. Apart from allowing multiple users to collaborate on a training manual, Bit also allows users to share any sort of rich media like YouTube videos, Google Docs, One Drive Excel Spreadsheets, GIFs, Tweets, interactive charts, etc. by on the internet with a link (i.e.unnecessary www.example.com, https://example.com) can be shared and Bit will automatically turn it into live visual content that lives on your workplace documents!
Just copy-paste the URL of your content on a blank line of the document editor and hit enter. Bit then generates a live preview of your digital content within in your document. Imagine how rich and interactive your training guides can become!
Bit has a minimal document editor which allows you to write your training manual without the distraction of unnecessary buttons and tabs. At the same time, it’s powerful enough to format your training manual document in any way you like.
Bring your writers, editors, and peers under one roof!
Creating a training manual from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. You have to research content, come up with an outline, add awesome visuals, and create an overall interactive experience for your employees. Doing this amount of work alone can be pretty daunting and time-consuming.
Thus, Bit allows you to work with your peers to get the training manual ready as quickly as you can. Working in teams also allows you to brainstorm ideas together and get your content and design people together in a single workplace. Bit allows teams to collaborate together, give real-time feedback, suggest changes and get work done quicker. Most importantly, say goodbye to back and forth emails.
Create an interactive and never seen before training manual!
In this digital age, you need more than just text to engage your readers. All the other document editors limit your creativity by only allowing you to incorporate text and static images in your document. Since training manuals are long-form professional documents, having to read so much text can be dull and ineffective. This is why we empower you to add any type of rich media content, like YouTube videos, Google Docs Spreadsheets, PDFs, presentations, Spotify playlists, SlideShares, GIFs, Polls, and Quizzes etc. With Bit, you can create smart training manuals by incorporating hundreds of file types and making it dynamic and interactive.
Save time with an automated table of contents.
Bit also has an automated table of contents based on the headers you add to your training manual. It’s a fast way to scroll to different sections of your training manual as a creator, collaborator, and for your audience viewing the final published manual!
Track those training manuals.
How do you even know whether your employees have fully gone through the training manuals you distributed? Imagine if you were able to track the time spent by employees on these training guides, how frequently they were viewed, and if they were viewed at all. That way you know whether new employees have actually read the training material given to them. Bit allows you to track your documents and gain amazing insights, helping you create an even better version of your documents.
Bit allows various types of teams in marketing, sales, HR, technology, customer service, designers, etc. to work together, collaborate, brainstorm ideas, and create the best looking internal as well as external documents quickly and easily. Since creating a training manual is no easy task- you have to research, write, and design it effectively to get the most out of it- we empower teams to get the work done in half the time and with more conviction. Have a great time crafting that training manual with Bit! If you need any help, let us know in the comments below.