6 Examples of Effective Job Aids (& Free Job Aid Templates)

Rana Bano
August 15, 2022
min read
January 5, 2024
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Give your employees the right information on demand to prevent mistakes and boost productivity. Try these job aid templates to beef up your training program.
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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.

This begs the question: how can employees access the right information at the right time? 

The short answer is job aids. These handy little tools are the perfect performance support system that provides employees with helpful information on completing a task. 

In this guide, we’ll go a step further and show you some of the best job aid examples and job aid templates you can use in your day-to-day operations to facilitate learning retention and boost productivity.

TL;DR: Job aid templates

  • Job aids are helpful tools that provide employees with concise instructions on how to do a task.
  • Successful job aids have clear and specific content, consistent layout and design, visual appeal, reliable tools, and easy accessibility.
  • Prioritize relevant information and match the job aid format with the content.
  • Follow the CRAP principle of design (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) to create effective job aids.
  • Use job aid templates like checklists and worksheets to improve employee productivity.

What is a job aid?

A job aid is any material — like reference guides, flashcards, cheat sheets, videos and one-pagers — that contains concise instructions on how to do a task.

It provides employees with the right information on demand, preventing mistakes and boosting productivity.

Free Job Aid Template | Scribe

Understand that job aids are different from job training and in no way a replacement. 

Job aids help employees when they need to recall specific information or get the information they don’t have. They are suitable for tasks that don’t involve detailed explanations, lengthy procedures, and interactive simulations. 

Job training uses comprehensive learning materials to align expectations for overall success in a specific role. Through goal-setting and outreach, it familiarizes employees with what needs to be done to improve long-term business outcomes.

As both serve different purposes, job aids are the perfect supplement to job training to continue giving your employees additional performance support after sessions and beef up your training program.

What are the elements of a successful job aid?

Job aids should be simple, succinct and direct — not complex content dumps. You need a structured process that includes certain core elements to do this. 

The following are the five elements of successful and effective job aids:

1. Crystal-clear job aid copy

The whole point of a job aid is to empower your employees with on-demand, relevant knowledge. But it can’t do that if you fill it with vague and unnecessary information.

Talk to a subject matter expert to better understand the complete process. Know all the steps of the process and your employees' skill levels. Then, create crisp and concise content.

Also, be specific when writing the job aid. Use direct instructions to help them tackle the task at hand without second-guessing what a word or phrase means. Focus on individual tasks instead of addressing multiple projects.

We recommend dividing the information into two categories: 

  1. Critical tasks and information.
  2.  Important but non-essential tasks and information.

When creating job aids, add the critical tasks and information right away. If you have extra room, you can include the non-essential information.

2. Consistent layout and design elements

It’s rare for job aid templates to be static molds that you can pour content into. 

All information and tasks can’t fit in the same design, so you need to improvise. But while you do that, you also need to ensure consistency.

Why? Consistency in your job aid helps eliminate unnecessary distractions, making it easier for your employees to follow and comprehend the information. Take this flowchart job aid from Gliffy, for example:

Gliffy flowchart - job aid template
(Source: Gliffy)

‍Notice how consistent the overall design and layout are. The start and end shapes are oval, and everything else in between helps create a clear pattern. All the shapes are the same size, aligned and spaced out evenly.

Alongside the visuals, be consistent with what you write. If you use certain words to describe an action in your step-by-step instructions or checklists, stick to them throughout the job aid. For example, if you use “Go to“ or “Click” in your job aid, don’t change it to “Navigate” or “Press,” later on. 

3. Visual appeal

If you want to transform a good job aid into a reaaally good job aid, you need visual elements. 

Without a considerate mix of screenshots, illustrations, icons, images and other visuals, your job aid wouldn’t be half as engaging and effective — something that makes sense considering we’re wired to process and respond to visuals much faster than words.

Plus, if there's anything better than telling employees how to complete a task, it’s showing them.

Use high-quality and relevant visual work instructions to convey information and reduce the text density of your job aid content. At the same time, striking a balance between text and visuals is also important. Don’t go overboard with images and screenshots. Otherwise, your job aid will lose its value.

4. Job aid tools

Reliable process documentation tools can significantly simplify job aid creation procedures. 

From ensuring the right story flow between text frames and screenshots to annotating and editing the overall layout for greater customization, these tools make everything possible without you investing any extra time.

Not to toot our own horn, but Scribe can give you engaging and effective job aids within less than a minute.

No, seriously.

Simply open the page you need for the job aid, and switch on the Scribe recorder to quickly start documenting workflows. When you’re done, click stop. Scribe will automatically convert your process into a chronological step-by-step guide, complete with screenshots and short instructions… in seconds. 

You can also use our built-in editor to add, remove or edit screenshots and text and include any alerts and tips to give tasks more context. Finally, send your Scribe directly using a URL link or export or embed it into your knowledge base, wiki or preferred platform.

Process documentation hasn't ever been so convenient.

5. Easy accessibility

Think about where your employees will use the job aid. 

If your audience is the remote sales department, publish your job aid in a digital format instead of getting a printout. Share the work instructions through direct links or embed the links on your staff portal or website. 

Similarly, if the job aid is about using equipment, take a printout and place it next to the equipment. 

After all, what’s the point of having a job aid if your employees can’t use it when needed? 

Job aid templates to steal 

  1. Standard job aid template
  2. Checklist job aid template
  3. Worksheet job aid template
  4. Step-by-step guide job aid template
  5. Video job aids
  6. Reference guides

Here are six handy job aid templates you can use right away. Simply customize these job aid templates based on your content and employee preferences and share them with your employees to get started.

1. Standard job aid template

‎This job aid template is designed to help you create a comprehensive and user-friendly guide for your employees. It includes sections on job overview, procedures, checklists and references.

You can use this template to create a job aid for any role or task, including customer service, manufacturing, construction, or anything else that requires clear and concise instructions.

2. Checklist job aid template

‎This HR onboarding checklist template makes it easier than ever to keep track of tasks for specific time periods. 

This job aid template also meets Williams’ CRAP principles. For instance, there’s a clear contrast between the headings and the tasks and the elements follow a consistent design and are well-aligned. Task grouping tells managers what needs to be done within each time frame.

3. Worksheet job aid

Visme competitor analysis worksheet template: Job Aid Templates
(Source: Visme)

‍This is a relatively simple competitor analysis worksheet template from Visme that reinforces design uniformity while helping employees perform a SWOT analysis. The fact that it allows you to compare market positioning with three competitors at once is a thoughtful addition to saving time. 

4. Step-by-step job aid example 

‎This step-by-step guide template 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).

5. 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 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.

Note that when you're making videos, you need to make sure that employees have access and a strong enough VPN to view and use the videos in real time.

6. Reference guide job aid examples

‎These job aids include a one- or two-page set of condensed documented workflows 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. 

Quick 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 an excellent reference guide example — this Scribe Page combines several Scribes (step-by-step guides) with simple pointers for getting started with Slack

‎If you need more inspiration for making job aids, check out the Scribe’s extensive gallery to explore 40+ how-tos, reference guides, and step-by-step tutorials. 

3 tips to make your job aids more effective

Now that you know the elements that make a job aid successful, here are three additional best practices to enhance your performance aids.

1. Prioritize relevant over extra

Effective job aids don’t copy the entire step list or flowchart from training or process. They are carefully curated, edited and reworked to provide genuine value to employees.

If you want your employees to use or continue using your job aid, keep it relevant to them and the task. Having theoretical and unnecessary information will make the job aid wordy and too long, which will only frustrate employees.

Before beginning your job aid, do an audience and task analysis. Consider questions like:

  • How much knowledge do your employees already have on the subject?
  • What are the demographics?
  • What task is the job aid supporting? How difficult is it?
  • What is the average education level of your employees?
  • How much of a priority is this task?

Be sure the information in your job aid sets the context for your employees. This will help them understand, retain and process information faster.

2. Match the job aid format with the content

Choosing the right job aid format is an important aspect of a consistent layout. 

Will your job aid be an A4-size laminate paper hung on the wall? Or will it be a shareable link on the computer? Perhaps it’ll be an interactive app. You can pick any format you like, as long as it aligns with your information. 

For instance, if the task requires a chronological sequence of steps, you should create step-by-step instructions. But if you think your employees would engage better with charts and images, a flowchart or a reference guide infographic would be a better bet.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of job aids:

  • Step-by-step guide: These include step-by-step instructions in sequential order.
  • Flowcharts: These use various boxes and arrows to guide users through a series of conditions before arriving at an outcome.
  • Decision table: This is a more technical job aid format that uses a grid to help users arrive at a decision after considering certain conditions.
  • Checklists: These contain a series of tasks or action items for each day, week or month presented with checkboxes.
  • Worksheets: These often test learner knowledge, carry out real-world tasks and give employees space to organize and record information for future use.
  • Videos: These can be explanatory or learnerknowledge base videos to give users a live demonstration or visual rundown to execute the task at hand.
  • Reference guide: These are handy for situations when your employees are already familiar with the procedure but would benefit from quick reminders and best practices.

You can also refer to our job aid examples guide for more in-depth guidance on how to choose a job aid format based on your content.

3. Follow the CRAP principle of design

If you’re familiar with UX design, you’ve probably heard of Robin Williams and his infamous CRAP acronym (yup, you read that right) for the four main principles of design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity.

Here’s what these principles mean for your job aid:

  • Contrast. Add contrast between headings and text so that employees understand the different sections of your document. Consider making the headings bold or in full caps, incorporating color or selecting different fonts for your headings and paragraphs. 
  • Repetition. Having a consistent design throughout the job aid gives it more integrity. For example, you can repeat color headings with bullet colors and note/tip styles or repeat small logos or other shapes to unify the design.
  • Alignment. Ensure symmetry between elements like images, paragraph blocks and headings. Focus on alignment more than symmetry (for example, keep your content aligned along the right or left side) to sharpen and strengthen your design.
  • Proximity. Group like-objects or similar information near each other so employees can see the connection between them. If objects aren’t related, don't place them too close. This visual grouping lets employees know the location of the content has a relationship with its meaning, even without reading the text.

Presentation matters. And when you design your job aid based on these principles, you’ll be more likely to create effective documents that successfully reinforce training knowledge and reduce task-related errors.

How job aids help enhance employee performance

If you're wondering how to improve employee performance and productivity, job aids are easily the top handy tool at your disposal. These nifty helpers are designed to assist employees by helping them:

  • Remember tasks: After completing training, employees can use job aids to jog their memory about how to perform specific tasks.
  • Solve job-related issues: When faced with a complex problem on the job, job aids can be a lifesaver by providing quick solutions.
  • Adapt to change: Job aids can also come in handy when employees need to adapt to new workflows or other changes in the workplace.

But here's the catch: in order to improve job performance, job aids must be simple, highly relevant to the task at hand, well-designed, and user-friendly. Anything less, and you might find that an ineffective job aid can do more harm than good.

Wrapping up: job aid templates

Are you ready to empower your employees and fill gaps in formal training programs? Get Scribe for free and make your own job aid within 60 seconds.

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