How to Design a Superior Employee Training Manual
Could onboarding new employees be as easy as checking boxes?
Unfortunately for human resource professionals and hiring managers, the short answer is no. However, the entire onboarding process can be drastically simpler and more effective with an employee training manual template.
Standardizing the primary components of new-hire onboarding increases efficiency and provides helpful structure for both managers and employees. A training template ensures certain onboarding elements are fulfilled, while leaving enough room to personalize training to fit the new hire’s specific needs.
An employee training manual template should include the following four components.
1. Clearly Defined Training Objectives
Clarifying a new hire’s main objectives is an essential first step during the onboarding process. With clearly defined goals, both the employee and the manager will understand the purpose for each item on the training agenda.
Once the objectives are set, break them down into smaller action items.
For example, if an objective is for the employee to become proficient in a new software, the manager and employee should keep in mind that there is a learning curve. Measuring overall proficiency once at the end of training may not be the best way to assess a new hire’s progress. But if training is broken down into steps and evaluated according to smaller milestones, evaluation is more accurate and learning can become targeted.
2. Milestones and an Established Timeline
For each objective, passing milestones shows new hires how training enables them to achieve their overall goal. Opportunities to celebrate numerous successes also motivate employees to keep learning.
Milestones could be as simple as due dates, projects, or other assignments. They should correspond to the larger objective and be set according to a realistic timeline within the employee training manual template.
In the example of learning a new technology, the first milestone could be discussing the technology with another employee or manager. A subsequent milestone could be a quiz. Milestones can be anything that motivates the employee to retain what they learn, demonstrate their knowledge, and prepare for the next topic.
When creating a training timeline, keep in mind that individual employees work at different speeds. Be sure to provide flexibility in the employee training manual template to account for variance in existing knowledge and different learning paces. Some employees may be able to breeze over a section while others need to spend more time reviewing. Provide flexibility to to accommodate each employee’s needs.
3. Avenues to Deliver Feedback
All employees require training, regardless of their role or status. Because training affects everyone in the organization, it is important to always strive to improve it. Therefore, honest feedback and suggestions for how to make training more effective is invaluable.
Asking for feedback at the end of training could be useful for improving your approach to training in the future, but it doesn’t help the individual currently being onboarded. Collecting candid feedback throughout the duration of the onboarding process enables you to make near-real-time changes to your approach and ensure the training will be beneficial and productive.
4. Reinforcements and Further Learning Opportunities
Your new employees will glide through training with a carefully planned employee training manual template. However, it will be difficult for them to retain everything they learn without adequate reinforcements to ingrain new knowledge.
Once employees have achieved the objectives outlined in the training template, they will need subsequent check-ins, quizzes, or other reinforcements to seal new information into long-term memory.
Of course, there is always more for employees to learn beyond the onboarding agenda. Encourage them to participate in an open dialogue about their individual goals, and ensure they have access additional resources that will help them continue to grow in their roles.
When employees start with the right tools, they are already on track to succeed. By developing a thoughtful and organized employee training manual template, you empower employees to become constant learners and help them succeed.