Tips To Write An Effective Employee Training Manual
Even if you have been offering training for a long time, a training plan is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your training needs and re-organize your training strategy accordingly.
Up next, you’ll discover the process of writing an employee training manual. We’ll start from the preparatory phase, which is examining your training needs, and go beyond creating the final version of your training manual.
1. Re-Evaluate Your Training Needs
You might already have training in place, or you could be starting from scratch. Either way, before you start working on your training manual, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your training needs. You might discover that you need to revamp existing courses and eliminate a few or add more to the list. Some places to look for to identify your training needs are:
Checking your KPIs is a trustworthy way to get a first idea of employee performance. People or departments that are not reaching their goals might need training. You could use a skills gap analysis to identify specific areas for improvement.
Performance Reviews And Informal Discussions
This is how you’ll learn what numbers can’t always tell you. Ask employees how they feel about their performance and where they need improvement. Don’t wait until the annual performance reviews. Keep your door open for employee feedback and initiate these types of discussions to prevent drops in productivity and piled-up complaints.
Employees and managers can’t always recognize issues and opportunities for growth. In that case, job observations will show you how different departments are working. Unearth inefficient processes and problematic lines of communication.
Repeated accidents in the warehouse, for example, mean ineffective or insufficient safety training. Frequent absences indicate low engagement. Anything that seems off needs to be discussed and possibly solved with employee training.
Other Factors To Consider:
- Industry-specific training needs. Think about any industry-specific training your employees might benefit from. For example, a tech company needs to be on top of technological developments and offer relevant training early on. Anyone working in the health industry undergoes rigorous compliance training to comply with health safety regulations and protocols.
- Company culture. Is your organization an inclusive workplace? If you’re running a big company, make sure people of all ages, ethnicity, etc., are treated equally and feel respected and appreciated. Inclusion and diversity training, in addition to a strict anti-discrimination policy, will help everyone feel safe and comfortable at work.
2. Assemble A Team To Create The Employee Training Manual
Writing an employee training manual is a lot of work. Below you’ll find the list of people who need to get involved to achieve the desired result—an informative, engaging, and professional-looking training manual.
As a rule, having a training manual template will help everyone in the team stay on track and create a work plan. If you’re developing your own training courses, most of the professionals below will also be members of your Learning and Development team.
Here’s who needs to be on your team, and why:
- Content writers, to develop well-written course descriptions, and clear instructions and policies.
- Subject Matter Experts or instructors, to help your writers create content when specialized knowledge is required and to cross-check the accuracy of the end product.
- HR and management, to determine and communicate policies, such as requirements to attend a course and any special conditions or benefits that may apply.
- Graphic designers, to enhance visual design and create sneak peek videos and engaging content that will turn your manual into an intuitive training guide.
3. Develop Your Learning Objectives
After re-evaluating your training needs, it’s time to get to work with your SMEs and content writers to develop the learning objectives of each course. Learning objectives, which are part of your course descriptions, are key to drawing employees in. Closely related to your training needs, the learning objectives should reflect how a course will address skill gaps and improve
If you’re writing the learning objectives on your own, here’s a little heads-up: they might already be under your nose! For example, job descriptions often contain all the information you need to craft targeted learning objectives. If a prerequisite for a job is to handle customer complaints, then this should be reflected in your learning objectives, as well.
You could say, “After completing this course, customer service employees will be able to answer complicated product-related questions, handle difficult customers with ease, respond to customer complaints faster, etc.” Remember that the result must be obvious, and expressed using active verbs.
4. Include Short But Informative Course Descriptions
Mystery and surprises don’t work well in employee training. Since the employee training manual is often where employees will learn first about a course, a description is essential to tell them all they need to know. However, your course description needs to be informative and comprehensive without being wordy.
First, you need to lay out the learning objectives for each course. This will also help employees single out optional training courses that interest them. Include a detailed schedule with the learning material for each session and the meeting dates for synchronous sessions if you know them in advance. Be very clear about additional information, like eligibility criteria, benefits, and attendance requirements.
5. Share Your Training Manual
Next, upload your brand new training manual on your Learning Management System. Your LMS is the best place to share a training manual, especially if most of the courses take place online. Another option is to incorporate the training manual into your employee handbook.
Once you’ve found the right place for your employee training manual, let employees know about it. Share the news via an email and arrange a brief presentation to go through it together, answer employee questions, and create excitement.
The development of an employee training manual signals a change in the learning culture in your organization, so it should attract the appropriate amount of attention.
6. Update The Employee Training Manual As Needed
A company grows and evolves to stay current with industry and technology advancements and accommodate a growing number of clients and employees. New business needs mean that you might need to equip your teams with new skills.
As these changes occur internally and externally, your training strategy needs to change accordingly. Therefore, when you create new courses or update existing ones, make sure to document these changes in your employee training manual, too.
The development of an employee training manual is also a chance to re-evaluate your training needs and strategy. In addition to your in-house HR team, reach out to Subject Matter Experts, content writers, and graphic designers.
Pay attention to your course descriptions and learning outcomes, as these should reflect the benefits of training to motivate employees. And finally, don’t forget to update your training manual to reflect the current opportunities for training and development.
Download the eBook Creating An Employee Training Manual: A Complete Guide for insider secrets to keep employees in the know and motivate them to expand their skillsets.