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Training Manuals Aren’t Boring — 5 Examples You Can Replicate Today

Companies today have more than 40 software apps in use. With these training manual examples, create resources to help teams ramp up quickly with any tech stack.

Introduction

Have you heard of the 10,000 hours rule? 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” he writes that a person needs 10,000 hours of intensive practice to master a skill.

Well, 10,000 hours is a lot of time. That’s three hours of practice a day for a little more than nine years. 

A few years later, author Josh Kaufman released his counterargument to the rule, saying, “In this nonstop world, who has that kind of time?”

Instead, he proposed an approach called “rapid skill acquisition”  in his book, “The First 20 Hours.” He teaches readers that with 20 hours of focused and deliberate practice, they can master a skill too. It starts by breaking complex processes into smaller digestible parts, practicing the most important components first and removing barriers to consistent practice. 

As leaders and managers in the workplace, we can learn a few things from this. 

  1. Teams rarely have enough time to master something new from scratch, so we need to help them break things down
  2. It’s easier to grasp complex processes when you can clearly see the important elements.  
  3. We must optimize learning material to overcome bottlenecks and points of friction within the team

Employees can’t ramp up quickly without resources to help them climb the learning curve naturally and seamlessly while working.

Training manuals are an efficient way to deconstruct long and tedious processes into distinct sections and simplified information. It’s a  worthwhile investment as you build your employee learning and development initiatives. If you’re wondering when to build a training manual and how you should create them, we’ve got you covered with a few examples. 

What is a training manual? 

A training manual gives employees clear and comprehensive instructions to help them perform tasks at the highest level of precision. Training manuals can be physical handbooks, digital guides, visual step-by-step walkthroughs, video recordings and more.

To set your team up for higher retention, your onboarding program and overall employee experience should include elements like a(n):

  • User-friendly IT setup.
  • Functional technology stack. 
  • Clear workplace communication
  • Well-documented walkthroughs of core business functions. 

You can achieve this with an organized training manual optimized for self-paced learning and easy distribution. 

But why is it so important? Let’s get into it. 

Why does your team need a training manual? 

Fifty-one percent of employees believe that proper workplace training gives them more self-confidence on the job. When your team feels fully prepared to conduct procedures accurately, they’ll more likely take more ownership in their work. 

What would that look like in your day-to-day environment? Here are some examples of what a training manual can do for your team.

Stronger time management and task prioritization 

Process documentation is especially important if you expect your team to manage collaborative projects with high stakes. 

For example, DevOps teams improve process efficiencies so companies can have smoother software deployment. Training manuals help the engineers spend less time figuring out operational technicalities and more time on actual projects that impact the business. 

Create a culture of strong communication

Training manuals create a standard where all tasks and projects go hand-in-hand with clear instructions and expectations. 

Show up for your team with documentation that helps them confidently do work. This motivates them to practice the same attention to detail when communicating within your team and with other departments. 

Keep employees motivated and engaged 

Your team wants to feel part of a culture that values their time and efforts. Ninety-two percent of employees say training programs encourage them to be more engaged in the workplace. 

Proper guidance and resources empower your team to take on responsibility and explore new and exciting opportunities.

For example, employees are more motivated to master new technology systems if they can quickly reference an up-to-date manual that walks them through the basics. They’ll grow more comfortable learning about new processes and incorporating them into daily activities. 

Better yet, they might even discover new interests and skills that can further push them forward in their careers. 

5 examples of training manuals at work

Now that you know what a training manual is and why you should invest in creating them, it’s time to move on to the part that some might call challenging: 

Getting to work and actually creating your manuals. 

If you’re wondering what types of training manuals exist and how you can create them in a less time-intensive way, then you’re in luck. We’re big fans of doing documentation right, which means we like to share examples that are fun, reader-friendly and shareable. 

Let’s walk through five types of training manuals and a few tips you can follow to make them appealing to your team members and customers. 

IT and software training

Most workplace departments today have between 40 to 60 software applications each. If you’re in DevOps, you’re expected to learn 5 to 10 types of technology tools immediately as part of your responsibility to manage end-to-end processes. You also have the added learning curve of understanding how these tools work together to create entirely new processes if your team needs it.

Becoming skilled at all these new systems is a tall order — plus, you don’t have the luxury of spending months to get up to speed. You need structure in the way you approach your learning. 

Training manuals give teams this structure, formalizing and documenting accurate instructions, so you don’t have to rack your brain second-guessing yourself every time. 

When we think about software or IT training manuals, we might imagine a thick little booklet. You know, the one that comes with the tiny fine print and graphics that don’t even show what you’re supposed to do next. 

But you don’t have to follow that approach when creating training manuals for your team. Instead, you should narrow down on issues they need the most help with while arranging the material to be engaging.  

Your software training manual can highlight: 

  1. Complete walkthroughs of a new software system
  2. Frequently asked questions about certain elements of a new software systems
  3. Mistakes to avoid when using a particular system
  4. Tips and shortcuts to help employees use new systems more efficiently

Here’s an example of how a modern training manual can be created using Scribe Pages to answer a simple yet loaded question — “how can I get used to a Mac if I’ve only ever used Windows?” 

The manual includes three peer-approved tips for familiarizing yourself with a new Mac, each tip with its own set of instructions to follow (like how to locate and update system settings). 

Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that documents your processes for you. Simply click on the extension or desktop app, and let it follow along as you work. The end result is a visual guide, complete with text and screenshots. 

Develop and combine several Scribes into an interactive training manual with a clean and appealing layout using Scribe Pages.

Workplace tips and best practices 

One of the best things we can learn from TikTok (aside from a few dance moves) is the benefit of documenting quick hacks and tips. It’s engaging and memorable to share information in bite-sized formats that you can pull up whenever. 

More importantly, it shows us how much information can be shown through a quick video — that’s why almost 40 percent of Gen Z use TikTok instead of Google to answer certain search queries. 

The same principle applies in the workplace. Many of us have learned new things from managers or the company's work ethic, whether it’s a new system for prioritizing tasks or desktop shortcuts that you never knew existed. 

Instead of letting this information sit idle in company channels or verbally jump from one person to the next, capture it in training manuals.

In this example, we show you a training manual for documenting best practices for using Google Sheets. 

Let’s be real — you’re never really done learning about what spreadsheets can do. And it’s hard to get everyone excited about learning it if it's not something they genuinely enjoy. 

This training manual shares knowledge in a quick, clear and interactive way. It works for beginners' training or as a quick reference guide to refresh employee memory.

Role-specific or department-specific guides 

Each job function manages various tasks and procedures with their own expectations and outcomes. Most of the time, we measure a new hire’s performance by how they familiarize themselves with core tasks. There’s also the added pressure of staying up to date with new technologies without getting frazzled or burnt out. 

Fifty-nine percent of employees say that training improves their overall job performance. If you can create a training manual for specific job functions, you’ll help these employees shorten ramp-up time, improve work outcomes, and most importantly, stay motivated as part of your team. 

Your role-specific training manual should include:

  • Tutorials on how to operate a particular software or system.
  • Best practices on how to perform a process consistently.
  • Introductions to role-specific terminology and standards.  

Microsoft Azure’s introductory DevOps tutorial is a great example of comprehensive role-specific information centralized in a single location. The webpage links to several additional tutorials on processes like how to build Java apps in Azure pipelines and how to start monitoring Java Web applications. 

To streamline this content into a user-friendly training manual, you can use Scribe to record technical processes on your screen and automatically turn them into step-by-step guides. Then, compile your guides in a Scribe Page to send a single link. 

Employee and customer onboarding 

The first 45 days of employment set the tone for your relationship with a new hire. Twenty-five percent of employee turnover traces back to a bad onboarding experience. 

What are some components of a poor onboarding process? 

  • Disorganized schedules. 
  • Lack of clarity on next steps.
  • Little to no information on pending action items. 
  • Missing or incomplete information. 
  • Fragmented and siloed communication.  

These components don’t just apply to the employee onboarding experience, but to customer onboarding too. Eight in ten users say they would delete an app if they didn’t know how to use it. 

The good news is that training manuals fit perfectly into how employees and customers want to learn ― at their own pace. Organize your content to make sense structurally, with divided sections and supplemental graphics or annotations.

 Your onboarding manual should cover everything your audience should know in their first few weeks and months with your organization. This includes areas like:

  • Their first few action items and how they should go about doing them.
  • Where to find information if they need help or who to contact.
  • Tips, reminders and warnings that can impact their experience.
  • What success looks like if they follow instructions thoroughly.

Here’s an example of a customer onboarding tutorial made with Scribe Pages.

Security and legal compliance

Training manuals are often tied to procedures with extremely high stakes, like human resources and security training compliance processes. 

A simple Google search can turn up a series of multi-page text-heavy PDFs. It’s what most teams have come to expect and why 49 percent of professionals choose to skip or not listen to mandatory compliance training.

Organizations today are exploring different ways to package dense material. There are video-based training courses with bright illustrations and interactive quizzes, and even courses designed to look and feel like multi-player games. 

But another tip to make these training materials more digestible is to break them into smaller. pieces. of. content. 

You know you must use some of the tools in your technology stack according to a strict process approved by your HR, IT, legal or finance departments. Failure to comply with this exact protocol could result in inconsistent documentation or reporting that impacts your company's performance. 

In short, it’s a big deal. 

Burying it in a training course makes it hard to reference and harder to remember — like when you’re in a software system and can’t seem to recall your next step. 

You can use screen recordings to walk through these processes — like how to create an invoice that checks off all of the finance department’s boxes — and embed them in places that your team can easily find. 

Successful training manuals are unique and personalized 

The definition of a training manual has changed over the last few years. 

Today, training manuals look different. They’re vibrant, exciting and easily adaptable for offices and home offices. Most of all, they’re customized to bring out a team’s best learning. 

We hope you take these examples, replicate and personalize them to fit your company’s voice and style. With automated and visually-driven training manuals, you don’t have to spend all your time fixating on overcomplicated descriptions.

Remember, the best training manual doesn’t have to be hard to make. Take advantage of Scribe to auto-generate step-by-step guides that you can edit and combine in beautiful process docs. 

Now you can focus on the more impactful portions of your training program, like identifying broken processes, gathering feedback and results, and distributing content in the right places.