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What is a job aid? How do they create effective employees?

If your people are going to be effective in their job, they need access to the right content and resources in their moments of need. But overwhelming them with too much detail will have the opposite effect. What they’re crying out for is the key information in a format that’s easily understood, and it’s this idea that informs the role and format of job aids.

So, what exactly does a job aid look like?

It might not be a term that you’re familiar with, but you’re probably using and encountering job aids every day. If you’ve ever used a cue card to remember something complex for a presentation, you’ve created one. If your office has the Wi-Fi details plastered around to stop everybody heading over to the router or asking a colleague, you’ll already have an idea of how helpful they can be. 

These are informal job aids, they make sure you’re connected and confident, but they don’t necessarily make you better at your role. In a more formal and productive sense, job aids provide important information and instructions in an easy-to-follow format, allowing people to work smarter, faster and more independently

They’re step-by-step guides, checklists and resources that provide the right amount of detail to help people complete a task, by clearly detailing how it can be done. As we’ll now discuss, this empowers employees to find the resources when they need them and complete work in a more accurate and timely fashion.

How job aids can help employees perform better 

  • Easy-to-follow reminders on processes within your company.
  • Clearly communicate when information and processes have changed.
  • Summarise useful resources and data into bitesize amounts.
  • Provide key information that encourages better conversations with prospects and customers.
  • Ensures consistency, with people working from the same resources.
  • Reduces question/answer exchanges between employees and management.
  • Reinforces what has been learnt in courses and training sessions.

Let’s wrap up and explain what this all means. If there are necessary tasks when adding new customers to your system or the process changes, an effective job aid would outline all the steps for your staff with brief guidance. This ensures that they have the resources to onboard those customers accurately. 

If customer-facing employees need to talk prospects through a list of key features, an aid that describes these and their key benefits will enable them to have better conversations. The same guide would also mean those employees are literally working from the same page, meaning there’s consistency in how you’re talking to customers. And its availability means there is less back and forth with them as they search for the resources they need.

Lastly, they’re an excellent tool to reinforce what employees have learnt during courses and training sessions. When done well, job aids can summarise the key takeaways concisely and this makes for more actionable learning for your staff.

How learning platforms can help deliver job aids to your people

It might sound a little simple to say, but job aids are only useful if people can find them easily. They can only help in the moments of need if they can be found in the moments of need, and that’s why learning platforms are so helpful in delivering job aids. 

If you’re unfamiliar with learning experience platforms (LXPs), the important idea is that they create a library of internal and external resources that can be found by your employees, either through you assigning them in courses or people searching for them. Essentially, you’re creating a searchable database of resources, in various formats, that’s available on-demand. This streamlines and amplifies those concepts of consistent job aids, resources that can be found when they’re needed, and employee independence in finding that information.

At HowNow, we integrate with the apps you use every day, so that job aids and other useful resources can genuinely be found in the workflow. 

Examples of good, informative job aids

Source: Nielsen Norman Group
Source: Asana


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