Complete Guide to Creating Effective Training Manuals

Employees, whether old or new, require continuous training to stay updated with the latest skill sets. They need to evolve and understand the latest practices in their fields.

The American Society for training and development collected training information from 2500 companies. Here is what they discovered from their research. 

Companies that offer comprehensive training to their employees have:

  • 218% higher income per employee compared to those with less extensive training
  • 24% higher profit margin compared to those who invest fewer resources in training
  • Generates a 6% higher shareholder return  

Training will help your employees grow and become better at performing their jobs. It will benefit your company’s bottom line. 

Training will boost an employee’s efficiency, productivity, and overall profits. 

Our aim through this blog is to help companies create exceptional training manuals. So, let us get started.  


Why are Training Manuals Crucial for Your Business? 

A training manual plays an essential role for a company to teach its new employees about the processes it follows in the work. 

It also helps existing employees to learn about new tools, systems, and software that a company incorporates into its process.  

A current employee who is not learning and a new joiner who is not familiar with apps, tools, machinery, or software used by the company can become disengaged in their work. 

Such withdrawal will result in higher employee turnover and poor job satisfaction. It will eventually hurt both the company and the employee. 

Here are some stats to back it:

  • 40% of employees with a lack of training quit their jobs within the first year
  • 74% of employees feel that they aren’t experiencing any growth in their work due to a lack of development opportunities 
  • 72% of employees have to think of financially contributing to their training
  • 68% of employees feel that training and development should be an essential company policy
  • Only 15% of employees are engaged worldwide
  • Approx $500 billion is lost each year due to employee disengagement 

In short, employees want to grow and develop their skills through developmental opportunities and regular training. 

How can companies start this process? It’s by creating an excellent training guide or manual. 


How to Write the Training Manuals

It might feel daunting when creating an exceptional training manual, but it shouldn’t have to be. By applying the right approach, you can quickly go from outline to production and provide your employees with an easy-to-use, convenient manual. Here are six steps on what to include in training manuals.  

Step 1 – Determine your Audience 

Who is your audience? That’s the first thing to decide when you start working on your training manual. 

Develop a picture of when, where, and how your audience will access your training content.

Here are the questions that you must answer to determine your audience 

  • What is their level of expertise? 
  • How much time do they have? 
  • Are there cultural or language references that you need to be aware of regarding your audience? 
  • What will bring them to your training content? 
  • In what industry does your audience belong? 
  • Does your audience prefer visual or written content? 

Answering these questions will help you create compelling content. 

Understanding your audience’s skill level, content preferences,  and context will help you create content that will fulfill their needs and expectations.  

Do not skip this step. Devoting time to flesh everything out and bring the picture into a clear focus will help you create excellent training content. It will reliably solve your audience’s issues.     

Step 2 – Plan Your Content

The training manual should be easy to navigate. Readers reading it for the first time should feel comfortable in searching for the information they need. 

Returning readers should be able to find specific content and information quickly.      

How can you ensure this is the case? By strategically planning your content, it means logically organizing all your information. 

Here is how you can organize and categorize topics in your training manual: 

  • Jobs to get done
  • Usage frequency
  • Beginner to advanced topics
  • Product features
  • Popularity among the readers 

In case you have many topics, you can place them in groups and use headings and sub-sections to create a logical flow within your training manual. It will also accurately organize all the information. 

Use this structure to create a table of contents in the final version of your training manual.  

Step 3 – Determine the Format for Content Presentation

Once you have decided who your readers are and what you want to cover in your training manual, it’s time to determine how you will present your content. 

To figure out the ideal ways to deliver your content, you need to think about your readers and content. There are many options for delivery. Here are some common delivery mediums for training manuals: 

  • Video tutorials
  • PDF guides 
  • Knowledge base articles
  • Online courses
  • Printed pamphlets and guide book

For readers, consider their context: 

  • What resources and training tools do they have at their disposal? 
  • How much time do they have? 
  • From what location do they access the training manual
  • What tools do your readers don’t have access to for your content? 

These questions will help you determine what viable techniques to include in your training manual. 

Some topics may be more suitable for a video, while others are better for imagery and text. For showing complex processes, a video is a better option. If you are working on simple sequences, then a written format with images is an ideal choice.

Training manuals are nowadays delivered online most often. Hence, you can combine different formats in one and provide excellent quality content.

Step 4 – Create your Content

It’s time to start creating the content for your training manual for your users. 

  1. For Video Based Manual

    To create videos for the training manual, you can start with storyboarding, scripting, recording, and editing videos. 

    TechSmith Camtasia is an excellent tool used by professional video creators. It’s also easy for beginners. You will have access to excellent tutorials and get started in no time. 

    There is also TechSmith Academy. It’s a free resource where users who want to become advanced creators can find all the resources they need to get started and improve their skills. You can find many topics around training and video creation.   

  2. For Text and Image Based Manual

    Compared to videos, using texts and images for training manuals can feel old-fashioned. But it’s not. In many cases, they will be an ideal choice for your users. 

    If your manual is covering a computer-based process, then capture screenshots of every step. 

    For real-world processes, images showing the graphical illustrations or process are ideal. 

    Images and Screenshots often require many tweaks to get their point across. You can add annotations like arrows, shapes, and other callouts. 

    You can also remove or hide unnecessary or sensitive information for your users. 

    Through tools like Snagit, you can edit your images to convey the right message. Unnecessary or sensitive information can be removed or blurred. 

Step 5 – Assemble and Deliver your Manual 

It is during this step that creating a training manual can become a tedious process. Adding images to training manual template, document, or other source consists of image sizing issues or formatting frustrations.  

A better solution is to create templates in Snagit. It allows you to select the images you want to add in the manual, add text, arrange the order, and make choices about appearance through one quick process. 

Snagit has several professional templates for you to choose from for your manual. You can take each task or process you need to include and create a separate section in the manual. 

You can also save each as a PDF or image for sharing, compiling it into a comprehensive guide, or positing individually within the company.   

Although, creating individual stand-alone documents may not be the right approach every time. 

In such situations, you can go for tools like CloudTutorial. It can assist you in creating a help file document or knowledge base support center.  

With CloudTutorial, you can create a comprehensive knowledge base for your users. You can include video, images, and written content on this platform. 

CloudTutorial lets you get creative and develop content that covers everything your users need. 

Step 6 – Collect User Feedback and Keep Training Manual Updated 

The final step for developing a training manual is to ask for feedback  

The manual should also get continuously updated.  

Ask your employees to share feedback for the employee training manual. 

Based on the feedback of the employee training manual. Observe if any topics need to get expanded or haven’t gotten covered yet.  

Systems will change, features and products will get updated. Hence your employee training manual needs to remain updated to continue being helpful and relevant.

Preserve the source files for all your work so you can quickly return to it and make updates.   

Here we conclude all the six steps for writing an employee training manual. Follow these six steps and create an excellent training manual for your company. 

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4 – Step Employee Training Manual Template 

Training and Onboarding new employees isn’t as easy as checking boxes. 

It’s a tough job for hiring managers and HR professionals. But, the entire process can get simple and effective with an employee training manual template. 

By standardizing the primary components of new-hire onboarding, it will improve the overall efficiency. It will also provide a helpful structure for both employees and managers.

Training manual templates ensure that specific onboarding elements get fulfilled while having enough room to personalize training to fulfill new joiners’ individual needs. 

Here are the four components that the employee training manual templates should have. These are some of the best practices when creating a training manual template. 

  1. Clearly Define The Training Objectives

    Clarifying new joiners’ foremost objectives is an essential step during the onboarding process. With well-defined goals, both the manager and employee will understand the purpose of each part of the training sessions. 

    Once the goals get set, break them down into smaller action processes. 

    Let’s say the goal of the employee is to become proficient in new software. The manager and employee should remember that there is a learning curve involved. 

    Hence, measuring overall proficiency once at the end of the training program is not the best way to assess the progress. 

    But if the training program gets broken down into steps and evaluated as per smaller milestones, the evaluation will be more accurate, and the learning process can become targeted.     

  2. Milestones and an Established Timeline

    Clearing milestones shows new joiners how training allows them to accomplish their goals. Celebrating various successes also motivates employees to continue learning.

    Milestones can be projects completed, due dates, or different assignments. They should be related to the larger objective and set to a realistic timeline within the employee training manual template. 

    Like when learning new technology. The first milestone can be discussing the technology with another manager or employee. The following milestone can be a quiz. 

    Milestones could be anything that motivates employees to remember what they learn, demonstrates their knowledge, and prepare for the next topic.    

    When creating training programs, remember that different trainees work at varying speeds. 

    Hence, provide flexibility in your training programs to consider different learning paces and variances in existing knowledge. Some trainees may finish a section faster, while others need to devote more time to it. Provide flexibility to fulfill the needs of every trainee.       

  3. Avenues to Give Feedback

    Regardless of their status or role, all employees need training. Training affects everyone in the organization. Hence, it is essential to keep improving the training manuals. Honest suggestions and feedback on how to make a training manual more effective are valuable. Employee productivity depends heavily on it. 

    Asking for feedback and the end of the training is an excellent approach for improving it in the future. But it won’t help the trainees who are getting onboarded. 

    Another better approach is to collect candid feedback throughout the onboarding process. It will allow your company to make real-time changes to your program. 

    The training will be more productive and beneficial. It will fulfill all the training needs. 

  4. Reinforcements and Continued Learning Opportunities

    With a thoroughly planned training manual template, your employees will complete it with ease. But, retaining the knowledge of what they learned will be difficult without proper reinforcements to instill the new knowledge. 

    After employees have completed the objectives of the training manual template, they will have to complete the check-ins, quizzes, or other reinforcements. It will seal the new knowledge into long-term memory.   

Build an advanced knowledge base for your customers and give them answers fast – real fast.

Take your app and help center to the next level with CloudTutorial.

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What to Include in Training Manuals

Here we will look at the essential pages you should include in your training manual.

  • Introduction:  The first page of your training manual is the welcome screen. It should be a simple introduction to your organization and the overall manual. A welcome page will introduce the training process in a better way. An introduction is an essential page because it acts as a gateway into the manual as a whole.
  • Objectives:  After welcoming your readers with a brief introduction to your organization, it’s time to share the goals of the training manual. It will help your employees understand the content of the training manual and what results can employees expect once they finish it.
  • Instructions: Now it’s time to get to the essence of the company materials. It is the instructions. Clear instructions are necessary to help the readers understand the tasks they will perform during the training experience. This feature should be at the beginning of the training manual. It will allow employees to understand what gets expected from them in training. They will be able to personalize their user experience.
  • Summary: Add a summary page in your training manual. It provides an opportunity to review essential points of the manual. This section will consist of follow-up steps, reviews, and opportunities to reinforce the content.
  • Frequently asked questions: People will have questions during the training. You can address the most common ones through FAQs. This section will be at the end of the training manual to prevent confusion and complete the training process faster. Keep your answers short and to the point in the FAQ section. Visit CloudTutorial to get outstanding FAQ templates.

Examples of Great Training Manuals

Here are some examples of training manual templates: 


FAQs

Training manual template consists of:

  • Clearly defined training objectives. Clarifying a new hire’s main goals is the first step during the onboarding process
  • Milestones and an established timeline
  • Avenues to deliver feedback
  • Reinforcements of knowledge and continued learning opportunities

The purpose of creating a training manual is to organize the training method of employees throughout their employment. Having a training manual helps develop a standardized plan to lead employees to new heights of success.

A template is a file that serves as a starting point for a new document. When you open a template, it is pre-formatted in some way. If you find yourself creating similar documents again and again, it may be a good idea to save them as a template.
It will eliminate the need to format the documents every time you want to make a new one. You can open a template and start.


Conclusion

CloudTutorial will ensure that your training manuals are more than just plain boring text and images. Apart from allowing different users to collaborate on the manual, CloudTutorial enables them to add media like YouTube videos, Google Docs, One drive excel spreadsheets, GIFs, Tweets, and interactive chats. All this can get done by adding a shareable link on a blank line.

CloudTutorial will turn that weblink into live visual content on your manual.

So why wait? Visit our website and schedule an appointment today.

 

 

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