The average U.S. company spent $1,071 per employee in 2021 on training costs.
While this is some serious money, it’s a necessary expense to strengthen employee skill sets and boost individual and organizational performance. But what’s unfortunate is that employees are likely to forget 70 percent of what they learned within the first 24 hours.
That’s when a lot of time and money gets wasted.
Employees are prone to distractions and information overload that make them uncertain about processes and tasks. Luckily, job aids can support workplace learning, helping them quickly remember or access the information they need to do the tasks at hand.
In this guide, we’ll go a step further and show you some of the best job aid examples you can use in your day-to-day operations to facilitate learning retention and boost productivity.
But first, what’s a job aid?
A job aid is a visual tool that quickly gives employees the information they need to perform tasks. It provides solutions to real-world functions on demand, boosting overall performance and minimizing confusion and errors.
Job aids can be anything from text-heavy checklists and step-by-step tutorials to visual infographics and explainer videos.
12 best job aid examples for inspiration
Before we talk examples, here’s a quick rundown of how to create a job aid that can genuinely help your employees:
- Identify and understand your target employees’ needs and preferences.
- Get buy-in from management to avoid any confusion later.
- Collect and consolidate your information.
- Choose a job aid format based on the type of content you want to present.
- Draft your job aid, ensuring it’s carefully worded and visually appealing.
- Encourage and implement employee feedback.
Now that you have the basic job aid framework in mind, it's time to get down to business. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best examples of different job aid formats.
1. Step-by-step job aid example
This job aid breaks down tasks into chronological (and relevant) steps to help users achieve the intended goal. At times, it also includes supporting screenshots and illustrations to serve as quick visual reminders.
You can use it to explain processes simply and effectively. Make sure your headers and explainer copy are short and to the point, like this step-by-step procedure made with Scribe.
Notice how it has a sequential flow with no alternate paths. There’s no scope for confusion or decision-making on the user’s part when they sit down to do the task.
Also, a short introduction provides users with background and guidelines (in this case, how making Slack channels is useful for organizing conversations around a certain topic or a group of people).
Scribe top tip: Want to capture your processes 10x faster like this too? Try out Scribe to automate process documentation at the click of a button.
If you want to keep things mostly visual and super brief, consider creating a step-by-step infographic like this one from Venngage.
While infographics are attractive, we don’t recommend them for complicated tasks that would benefit from screenshots and illustrations.
2. Video job aid example
Not all job aids have to be in print. Think about it: when undertaking soft skill training, would you prefer looking at an eight-page printed document or simply playing a talking head video that gives you a live demonstration?
Besides, e-learning can boost knowledge retention rates by a staggering 25 to 60 percent, which makes sense considering employees retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video compared to the 10 percent when reading it in text.
Creating a video job is similar to that of the traditional format. The only difference is you’ll need an engaging script that you can convert into a simple storyboard and a video creation tool like Animaker.
What’s more, you can choose from various video job aid formats depending on your content. How-to videos, for instance, are perfect for explaining DIY tasks like this one.
But if you want your team members to learn how to use new software, giving them a screen capture walk-through or product demo would be more appropriate.
Here’s a product demo from Mixpanel:
You can also consider making listicle videos to present step-by-step processes and lists or explainer videos that work best to explain relatively complicated concepts.
3. Flowchart job aid examples
Suitable for complex tasks, these job aids present in the form of a diagram and involve a sequence of actions employees need to take to complete the job.
As each task has consequences for every action, employees must have thorough knowledge when performing it.
Flowcharts use a rich mix of symbols, questions, lines and decision points to guide employees to their next decision and eventually arrive at a solution. That's why it’s better to use these when performing tasks with “Yes” or “No” decisions.
Here’s a fun and simple flowchart from Venngage.
Here, the reader can figure out where or not to nap by following a series of yes or no answers. (It’s a trick question. We know the answer is always “yes, you should nap!”)
You can also use a flowchart to visualize two parts or options. Place two flowcharts side-by-side or show how two paths from the same starting points can diverge. This lets the user compare and contrast for better decision-making.
Here's how it should look.
Besides “yes/no” statements, you can also use a flowchart job aid to create a troubleshooting guide or a process map.
4. Reference guide job aid examples
These job aids include a one- or two-page set of condensed instructions on how to do a task or use a product. They contain reminders and tips that are commonly forgotten or overlooked but can help simplify the task and reduce errors.
Think of them as cheat sheets with fragmented information.
Reference guides are better suited for tasks that employees are already familiar with and don’t need to be done in a specific order. It’s a way to supplement their memory.
Here’s a Scribe Page that combines several Scribes (step-by-step guides) with simple pointers for getting started with Slack.
The best reference guide job aids are visual and clear to follow. They have simple icons and illustrations as bullet points.
Scribe top tip: Break down information into easily digestible chunks. Use a lot of whitespace to avoid overwhelming the reader with information.
Infographics are another option that works well as reference guides, but you have to keep every element consistent. Uniform fonts, icon and header styles, backgrounds… everything should align, just like this job aid template from Venngage.
Don’t worry about your job aid looking too "simple." You can repeat design elements while keeping them aligned and consistent to make it accessible and effective.
5. Checklist job aid examples
If there's one job aid your team’s probably already using, it’s checklists.
A checklist job aid has bite-sized information to help employees organize, plan and manage tasks in no specific order.
It typically groups a list of action items, variables and requirements to remind employees how to do tasks correctly, subject to certain conditions.
Make checklists for tasks performed the same way each time to avoid any confusion. For example, you can have checklists for onboarding new employees, carrying out an audit or creating standard operating procedures (SOPs).
While this one has smaller text, we recommend using a slightly bigger font so employees can read it easily. Consistency is also important in terms of the checklist design and tasks.
You can also create a job aid on project management tools like Asana. Here, you can assign different employees specific tasks, ensuring each task is being executed properly and on time.
Observe how both examples use a verb or an action word at the beginning of each checklist item and are grouped into different stages.
Add a short introduction and conclusion and avoid unnecessary jargon while you're at. Employees should be crystal-clear about what they have to do and when.
6. Decision table job aid examples
Decision tables are slightly more technical than the previous job aids we discussed, so they’re more commonly used for complex software testing and requirements management.
These job aids are tabular representations of conditional logic that help define business rules. Think of them as an elaborate decision-making process where several variables influence the outcome, subject to certain conditions. As such, they are more suited for tasks that don’t need sequential steps and have limited options for each decision variable.
The key to designing a decision table job aid is to keep things to the point and concise. Short sentences and short words. Lots of bullet points.
You want to present all inputs vs. rules/test conditions/cases to check all possible combinations of conditions for testing purposes and allow testers to identify missed conditions. Take this decision table from Oracle, for example.
Headings are also important and should be in large, bold font to help users differentiate between the various rows and columns.
Scribe top tip: Use color theory to drive the message home. The following Venngage decision table creates a gradient from green (indicates low risk) to red (indicates high risk).
If needed, add icons to each section to serve as a quick visual reference. Using road dividers in different colors can also help break up the doc.
Why and when to use job aids
One of the most prominent benefits of incorporating job aids in the workplace is they emphasize performance management and on-the-job results.
They enhance the value of training and education, allowing employees to focus on the task at hand instead of scouring through layers of documents. These little documents also save time — five hours to be exact — that’s otherwise wasted waiting on people to share information.
Job aids are really game-changers to improve workplace productivity. They act as a reference tool, provide updated information and help retain more information.
But regardless of the amazing advantages of job aids, they’re not perfect for every situation.
The following are a few situations when using a job aid will be useful for your team.
To facilitate faster problem-solving
Job aid provides concise and relevant solutions on demand, enabling employees to solve problems faster.
For example, a flowchart job aid helps employees visualize the consequences of each action, thereby helping them make sound decisions promptly. Similarly, a cheat sheet or reference guide will provide them with the necessary tips to complete a process with minimal or no errors.
Everything that employees need to know to do a task is right in front of them, removing the need to consult superiors, go through bulky documents or retake a training course.
To help employees remember something
Training only goes so far. So when your employees finish training, job aids can serve as their handy guides that answer the “How do I do that?” question.
This also means employees no longer have to memorize content or procedures. Suppose the content is particularly taxing to remember or used in low frequency. In that case, a job aid can bridge the gap by supplementing their memory and cutting out on-the-job stress and mistakes on the part of the employee.
As the whole point here is to help employees remember how to do the task at hand and retain knowledge from training, you should make the job aid as effective as possible. In other words, concise and readily available.
To accelerate ramp-up time
Job aids standardize work processes and knowledge sharing to help your company’s new hires become productive faster.
With a handy job aid by their side, employees will be more familiar with new processes and can get up to speed quickly without compromising time trying to figure out how to go about things or work the tools.
Create job aids in seconds with Scribe
If you're looking for an effective way to fill gaps in your organization's formal training programs, you've got to try Scribe.
Use it to quickly turn any digital process into visually appealing and engaging job aids.
Scribe auto-generates step-by-step guides in seconds. Simply turn on the extension or desktop app and walk through your process. Scribe works while you work to automatically create your guide. It’s time to amp up employee productivity and proficiency.
Don't take our word for it. Sign up for Scribe for free and see for yourself!