In an office setting, employees have job aids all around them. But employees might be unfamiliar with the term. Job aids are a form of instructional tools or devices with which employees can use for performing jobs effectively. With job aids, employees can easily access important information needed to carry out their responsibilities without difficulty.
Types of job aids
Job aids come in various forms and sizes. There is no clear-cut method of categorizing them. However, these are some of the most common types of job aids found in workplaces.
Checklist – It is used for presenting items or steps in a way that ensures accuracy and completeness.
Decision Table – It usually contains a list of conditions that ensures adequate decision making.
Flowchart – A flowchart is very similar to a decision table. The major difference between the two is that a flowchart contains a series of conditions that must be considered before arriving at a final decision. A flowchart can be in the form of boxes, arrows, or standard charting symbols. It’s highly useful when there’s the need to consolidate information.
Procedure – It is a tool that serves as a guide through a series of steps that are required to achieve a particular objective. Procedural job aids are step-centric, and they incorporate some elements of decision tables as well.
Reference – This refers to aids that collect and organize one or more sets of information in one place. They often serve as a quick reminder or refresher. References are also useful to consolidate information.
Worksheet – The worksheet is a collector because it provides space to record, organize, and analyze data.
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How to create an effective job aids
As stated earlier, job aids improve employee productivity and effectiveness. It enables employees to fulfill their job responsibilities without difficulty because of its knack for task simplification. However, to use job aids to achieve this, they must be properly created.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a job aid that skyrockets your team’s performance.
Gather information about the task
Since a job aid contains information which employees can use for performing tasks effectively, the first thing to do when creating a job aid is to collect job-related information. As they do this, organization leaders must ensure they collect information from every employee – old, new, motivated, and unmotivated. Information collected should address steps taken to complete each task and the objectives.
Choose a structure
Typically, the nature of the job aid will determine the structure it would take. For instance:
Checklist – Works well for situations where there are many things to be done, but there is no particular order of doing them. For example, maintaining consistency for equipment inspections and new hire paperwork. A job aid will ensure that all safety measures are met.
Step-by-step – This structure works for tasks that have a defined order of events. Job aids that work well with this structure are flowcharts and decision trees.
Reference – A reference structure is perfect for tasks that have no concrete steps and all related information isn’t needed at once. This job aid structure helps employees recognize important information at a glance.
Pick a format
The final design of the job aid will determine the appropriate format. Choose the format early to make sure the information will fit. One-page job aids or job aids visible on one screen without scrolling having to scroll up or down are usually the most effective.
Research by TechSmith and Cebr reveals that two-thirds (67%) of people understand information better when it’s communicated with visuals. So, job aids should use more pictures, charts, or any other visual in place of word blocks.
Benefits of using job aids
Effective cross-job training: There are situations whereby an organization will have to reduce its number of employees. During this period, several retained employees will have to take up job roles with which they have no experience or familiarity. To keep the organization running smoothly, leaders would have to embark on on-the-spot training for these inexperienced employees.
Job aids cater to this situation effectively because they emphasize performance management rather than focusing on the classroom. They also pass across information and instructions using a results-oriented style. What this means is that job aids focus on ensuring employees have the skills they need to perform their responsibilities effectively. They enhance the value of training and education by emphasizing on-the-job results.
In addition to this;
- Job aids increase the reputation of training and education. It also makes it easier to measure the results of employee training because it is result-driven.
- Job aids make training easier for instructors. Training is smoother and more effective.
- Because job aids are durable and easily accessible, employees don’t have to spend much time away from work because of training
- Since they don’t always contain much content, job aids are more flexible and easier to revise than instruction
- With job aids, there’s little need for massive printing of learning materials
Increased productivity: Job aids are typically designed to ensure employees work efficiently and produce top quality results. However, advancements in technology have seen to it that employees can now surpass previous levels of productivity due to the existence of digital job aids. They save time by providing employees instant access to accurate information when they need it. As such, employees are more empowered in carrying out their job responsibilities.
Enhances learning flexibility: Aside from providing on-the-spot training for employees, job aids also support flexible learning. Because job aids are not hard copy instructions anymore, they now provide more functionality and flexibility that caters to a different level of user needs. Job aids now incorporate videos and illustrations, which enhances an employee’s learning experience.
Greater clarity when performing the job: Job aids reduce the incidences of employees feeling flustered and unsure of their duties. Because the content in job aids are task-based instructions designed for easy comprehension and application, employees will have little to no trouble performing tasks.
Support organizational change: With effectively designed job aids, employees can adapt to changes within the workplace. Job aids will help ease the process of re-learning critical tasks of their job more efficiently and effectively.
- Types of job aids | Dave’s Ensampler
- How to create job aids that skyrocket your team’s performance | Kara Swanson (TechSmith)
- What is a job aid? How to create effective employees | Gary Springer | September 22, 2020
- Back to basics use of job aids to jumpstart employee leaning to performance | Johnson Won | September 2, 2018
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