Documentation

How to (Quickly) Create a Training Manual that Your Team Can Count On

Build an engaging online manual for your employees instead of forcing them to read a dry fire safety operation manual. Here's how!

Introduction

A training manual does not have to be a dull textbook with no illustrations that takes a long time to read.

Most employees, I'm sure, will not appreciate reading such text-heavy papers.

But fear not because technology has advanced such that modern training manuals of a company are more interesting and have an interactive online interface.

According to Brandon Hall Group research, companies with a good onboarding process increase new recruit retention by 82 percent and productivity by more than 70 percent.

For employees, modern digital manuals may be aesthetically appealing, short yet effective, and interesting. It's possible to build an engaging online manual for your employees instead of forcing them to read a dry fire safety operation manual.

But first, let’s dive into what’s exactly a training manual…

What is a training manual?

A training manual is a series of instructions designed to improve the quality of a job, process, or operation. In-person, remote, on-demand and just-in-time training manuals are used by companies. The following are a few typical examples of their use:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • implementing new systems and applications
  • Documentation of a new procedure or technique
  • Sharing processes and best practices
  • Customer education and training
  • Information about how to use a product.

Organizations produce manuals for employee training in order to boost productivity and guarantee that everyone gets the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in their occupations

These manuals help employees in their professional development, but they also directly impact the company's bottom line. They have the potential to improve employee effectiveness, competency, production, and profit.

The most effective training manuals are educational guides that are simple to follow. They explain topics using relevant examples and pictures in a way that is easy to understand. A well-written training manual may become a trusted resource for employees, supervisors, customers, and clients alike if done correctly.

The benefits of a training manual

A few reasons why you should use a training manual for your company include the following. 

1. Inform employees of training programs

All of your workers' training-related questions should be addressed in your employee manual. A list of all offered courses, together with a full description and schedule, is the bare minimum of information to include. It goes without saying that the more details you provide, the better off you'll be.

Make it clear which courses are required and which are elective, for example. Compliance and job-specific training often go under the first category, whereas soft skills generally fall under the second group..

Alternatively, there might be a division between departmental and company-wide training. In order to make the manual more user-friendly for employees, categorize your courses by the department if your organization is huge and provides several programs. This allows for a distinct area for courses that are given by several departments.

When synchronous courses are necessary, they might be a challenge for busy personnel. Employees, on the other hand, will be aware of any upcoming obligatory or synchronous training sessions if they have a training manual handy. They will be able to better plan and manage their workload as a result of this. By scheduling training around their busy schedules, they won't have to worry about missing a course deadline.

Employees can also find information on how to handle specific situations in a manual for on-the-job training. Before taking a course, for example, they might need to notify their supervisors first Alternatively, they might be given time off or additional flexibility at work so that they can attend a training session.

2. Create and maintain transparency in the conduct of training

When it comes to training manuals, whether you own a major corporation or a little firm, you can't do without one. As part of developing and implementing a template for a training manual, human resources and management collaborate to plan training events and resources, identify possibilities for cross-departmental training, and discuss innovative ideas.

Everyone knows what they can do and how much training they are entitled to, so there is no confusion in the workforce. Introducing a new training program shouldn't be left to word-of-mouth referrals from a coworker in another division. In order to create trust and honesty with your employees, be open and transparent in all parts of the business.

3. Reinforce a lifelong learning environment

If your company has a handbook for training employees, they will know that training is an integral element of their work environment. An employee training manual may entice even the most reluctant members of your staff to take new classes.

Start your employee onboarding process by informing your new team members about the importance of learning and growth at your company. Employees who strongly agree they have a clear strategy for their professional growth are 3.5 times more likely to say their onboarding process was excellent.

It is a good idea to include a training manual in your company's employee manual to remind your staff that learning and growth are always accessible. Your employee training manual will be the glue that holds training together if you follow through with benefits and accommodations for those who participate, as well as assistance and advice from management.

4. Streamline onboarding

When a new employee joins the company, the HR department is swamped with paperwork and, more importantly, planning activities for orientation and onboarding. You've probably heard that the honeymoon phase for new recruits generally ends quickly. As many as half a million workers are being laid off in the first six months of their job. When it comes to onboarding new employees, you'd best do it correctly.

New workers, HR and management all benefit from a training manual since it helps to organize the onboarding process. Training plans may be tailored to fit the specific skills and experience of new hires by using the employee training handbook as a "cheat sheet" for human resources and management. New recruits will be able to adapt more quickly to their new roles if they have an effective onboarding strategy in place.

A training handbook may be both educational and inspiring for your new hires. As a positive side effect, newly hired employees will be better prepared for their initial few weeks on the job. After completing their basic training, they will have the opportunity to learn more about the many career paths that are open to them.

In contrast, a training manual serves as concrete evidence that a specific training plan has been devised for the individual student in question. Welcome new employees into the organization by showing them how much they are appreciated and how much they are a valuable part of the team. Getting off to a good start with new workers will pave the way for a fruitful working relationship in the long run.

5. Lessen the employee workload

If you provide your staff with all the essential direction, then your managers and HR specialists won't have to repeat answering the same questions over and over again. They are now free to focus on other vital activities, such as the development of new company strategies or the solicitation of applications from prospective employees. 

6. Make fewer costly mistakes

The cost of noncompliance with regulations might be enormous. In the event that, for example, an invoice is not issued in the appropriate manner, your company will not get the necessary payments. Having a training manual that details all of your processes will help you reduce the likelihood of this risk occurring.

What a good training manual looks like and what steps to take

A training manual isn't nearly as difficult to put together as it appears. However, like with any procedure, there are several steps. To make things simpler for you, we've compiled all of the instructions into one place. It's as simple as following this step-by-step tutorial. 

Step 1: Define your audience

Knowing who you're writing for is the first step in the process of creating a training manual. It's important to envision how and when individuals will access your training materials.

It's a good idea to ask and answer questions like:

  • What drew them to your training manual?
  • What's the extent of their knowledge?
  • What type of business do they work in?
  • Do they have enough time?
  • Is it preferable for them to read or watch?
  • Is there anything you need to be mindful of in terms of cultural or linguistic context?

Answering these questions helps you determine how much material you should provide. Knowing your audience's skill level, context, and content preferences can help you create content that meets their needs.

Step 2: Plan your content

A user-friendly training manual is a must-have for every organization. A new user will feel at ease finding the information they need, while a returning user will be able to locate certain material and subjects with ease.

Strategic content preparation can help you ensure this for your training manual. Laying out your training materials and structuring them in a sensible manner is all that is required here.

The topics in your training handbook can be organized and classified according to a variety of themes. You might categorize them by:

  • Topics ranging from elementary to advanced
  • Things to do
  • Features of a product
  • Frequency of use
  • Popularity with the target demographic

For small, one-off training content, this may be a rapid procedure, but if you're writing a full guide, it may take some time.

If your manual has a large number of subjects, group them together and use headers and sub-sections to organize the content. Create a table of contents for the final handbook using this format.

Step 3. Define the manual format

Now that you've identified the kind of training manuals your company need, it's time to choose the format in which you'll provide them to your staff. Here are some of the most prevalent options:

  • Guidebooks and pamphlets in printed form
  • Manuals in Word or PDF format
  • Articles
  • On-line training
  • A series of instructional videos.
  • Quick interactive modules

A format should be chosen based on the type of topic you intend to write about. For example, if you want to teach how to utilize a piece of software, then you should use a screencast. A PDF handbook or an online course may be the best way to teach new workers about the company's policies and processes.

Step 4. Create the content

Printing booklets is a simple process. A simple text editor and a printer are all you need. However, there is a cost associated with this simplicity, which is that reading such things is tedious and does not facilitate the retention of knowledge particularly well.

On the other hand, interactive modules, courses, and videos demand specific inputs of time and effort from the user. In addition, you can't make this kind of material without the appropriate tools. However, you can rest assured that this strategy will be profitable since, after all, when you invest in developing an engaging handbook just once, you can then use it to instruct hundreds or even thousands of workers.

Step 5. Deliver a manual to your employees and track their progress

If you communicate with your audience, be sure to pay attention to their comments on the help you offer. Investigate, on the basis of what they say, if there are any problems that require more discussion or ones that have not yet been addressed at all.

A learning management system is the most effective approach to use in this situation. You will be able to store all of your manuals and other learning resources in a centralized location using an LMS. Furthermore, you will be able to delegate the information to your staff members and monitor how they are using it. 

Step 6: Training survey

After you have considered these insights on how to make your manual even better, you may want to consider updating it in one of three ways: adding more useful content, refining the design, or even putting the manual into a different format.

Your material will need to be updated in order to maintain its usefulness and continued relevance as systems, products, and features are always being improved and updated. Be careful to maintain the source files for all of your work so that you can simply go back to it and make any necessary changes.

Scribe "Pages" can help you do more in less time.

Effective training manuals are more than simply a bunch of text, and you need the necessary tools to get the job done. 58 percent of businesses say their onboarding program is centered on processes and paperwork. This is why interactive training manuals are so important to provide an engaging onboarding experience to new employees.

Scribe's newest feature Pages makes this easy to accomplish.

When you combine Scribes on a process document, Pages enables you to add text, descriptions, hyperlinks, Loom and YouTube videos, and more!

A page is a document that allows you to create your own process guidelines. Scribes may now be captured, organized, and shared in a variety of ways. Pages give you the power to include:

  • Textual and graphical representations
  • More than one scribe
  • Hyperlinks
  • Loom and YouTube vids

Make it simple, but personalize it. Explain complicated procedures such as:

  • On-boarding a new employee
  • Technology rollouts and training for customers

Here’s how create a new Page on Scribe

Important details to note:

  • You can add texts in Scribe Pages by typing a forward slash and inserting the required text whether that be for a training manual or for any other company documents.
  • You can even add videos to Scribe Pages by embedding them into the document. Currently, Pages supports Youtube and Loom videos.
  • When you’re ready to add Scribes. Click "Add a Scribe" to access your team Scribes. You can change the size of the embedded material to small, medium, or large.

You can share your Scribe Page with other members of your team and add an option to let others edit or just view the document. And you’re on your way to creating an interactive training manual for your employees that won’t bore them to death!

FAQ 

We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions concerning training manuals.

Are handbooks and manuals the same?

The two terms "handbook" and "manual" mean the same thing. In contrast to manuals, which give directions and instructions, handbooks concentrate more on regulations and policies.

What is the purpose of a user manual?

From a business function standpoint, a user handbook gives explicit instructions on how to use a product. This sort of manual should be written in simple and straightforward business English, using terminology that is not technical, and it should address the most important aspects of the product, such as its features or functions.

How do I create a training manual in Word?

Create a training handbook in Word by following these simple steps.

  • Select New from the File menu in Microsoft Word.
  • Make a selection by double-clicking on the Books folder. Double-click on the Other Books folder.
  • Simply double-click on the Professional Manual Template

It is possible to change the user manual template in Microsoft Word to your liking. 

All of these features may be found in Microsoft Word's built-in templates. It also offers tips on how to write a user manual that your customers will like.

Conclusion

A training manual for employees is a useful tool for organizing and standardizing the onboarding and training processes throughout an organization. It also provides employees with a tangible image of your training options and plays an important part in the establishment of a culture that values ongoing education and professional development. 

Sign up for Scribe (for free!) today to create your first training manual for your company!