It’s a beautiful problem you run into when you have more work than you have workers, and you need to scale. It’s great news that you have a workload (especially if it’s generating profit), but there’s usually a decline in productivity when you hire on a new person because you have to show them the standards, expectations, and the way you want things done in your company.
Like I said, it’s a beautiful problem–if something like that exists. In this article, we’ll discuss how to expedite the productivity downtime by learning how to create a training manual. Let’s get started…
- 1 My Story
- 2 Do I Need a Training Manual?
- 3 What to Include In A Training Manual?
- 4 The Most Effective Questions to Ask To Create A Winning Training Manual
- 5 Best Examples Training Manuals
- 6 How To Create A Training Manual Materials
- 7 Free Training Manual Templates
- 8 Final Comments on How To Create A Training Manual
- 9 Now, it’s your turn…
I spent nine years in the Air Force: one of the highest turnover careers there is. We weren’t high turnover because people were getting fired or quitting, but we were high turnover because we had to deploy, change duty locations, and get training that displaced us from our primary workplaces.
Training manuals were the bread and butter for our organization because I would need to pick up where someone left off quickly, and others had to do the same for me. Without effective training manuals, we would’ve been an ineffective organization because of loads of downtime and excessive training times.
Do I Need a Training Manual?
I always hear horror stories of delegation gone wrong or long, inefficient training programs. When I see stories like this, I always wonder to myself, “What do their training manuals look like?”
When you have high turnover like I experienced, you have to have a way to maintain productivity despite people interchanging rapidly and often. If you want to delegate, you have to have effective ways to communicate what needs to be done. Some (maybe even alot) of the problem is the leaders are not creating effective systems to before trying to scale or delegate.
You can’t have a team of 10 with half rotating around every 3-6 months, then expect to have slow productivity and training for another 6 months! During my time in the military, there would have never been a peak time if we didn’t have a streamlined way to communicate standards, expectations, and processes in a streamlined way so interchanging could be done without a huge lapse of low productivity.
More companies need to know how to create a training manual: from the solopreneur to the big businesses. While the solopreneur may have no intentions of hiring a big team or scaling, they still may find they want to take a vacation, take care of a loved one, or worse case scenario–maybe they get sick.
Businesses (both small and large) are built on a stable foundation if they provide consistent and reliable services. When planned occasions or unexpected events occur, they don’t alleviate the customer demand, therefore it’s best to have a backup plan the can be implemented rapidly.
Similarly, big businesses have unexpected and planned events that occur as well. Co-workers have babies, there are paternity leaves, maternity leaves, sicknesses, employment transfers, and so many others changing situations that occur where manpower has to be shifted. It’s important to know how to create a training manual so that turnovers can be smooth and brief.
What to Include In A Training Manual?
For a training manual to be effective, you want to show and tell within it. Let me explain…
For my job as a blogger, if I wanted to hire someone to create content for a period where I’m absent, I would want to explain my goals with the content I create, then detail my exact process. The most effective training manuals I’ve seen are tailored for various learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. You can have list-based instructions like “How I Write a Blog Post in 7 Steps”, you can include screenshots, you can include video, and MP3 audio (if you want).
The most effective training manuals I created in the military (my high turnover environment) were composed of written instruction (which was sometimes a dull but necessary read), along with screenshots and video.
It was very helpful for me to create my training intermingling with someone who had little to no experience with my job, or someone who had a similar skill level as the person who would be filling my position. I would observe the questions they might ask, the problems and concerns they posed, and use their knowledge gaps to include further information in my training manual.
If you can find comparable training manuals in your field that have streamlined the turnover process, you can use them as references for how to create a training manual for your company. For example, a comparable training manual that I could use might be from a publishing company, journalism company, or somewhere with a more established turnover process. Their training could make it extremely effective for me to hire someone and streamline the productivity here at How To Entrepreneur.
You don’t want to put a large barrier from getting the training manual project done, so use tools that you feel most comfortable, and when you get the chance, you can always revisit, tweak, modify, and upgrade. The most important thing right now is to create a training manual that will effectively communicate your processes, the “Why” behind your processes, and the “How” to execute them.
The Most Effective Questions to Ask To Create A Winning Training Manual
Every training manual is a solution, right? Rather than a person spending loads of time training a new hire or having a work stoppage during rotations, you create this manual to speed things up.
When you’re creating the training manual, you want to think about, “What are all of the questions a new employee may ask that would prevent them from accomplishing the job?”. Once you ask that question, you can brainstorm from there.
A good exercise for you is to write on a piece of paper or a fresh Word Document, “Before being effective, maybe the new hire might ask…”, and go from there. Start writing everything that comes to mind, and you’re training manual can answer those questions for you.
Best Examples Training Manuals
There are many training manuals you can take a look at, however, there are only a few that I use to give me inspiration. Pinterest has amazing examples of training manual designs. This article, 6 Inspiring Employee Handbook Examples, has quite a few great examples of training manuals that communicate core values and increase company productivity, however, my all-time favorite training manuals were from my time in the military. The military has a training manual for EVERYTHING!
Even though we wear uniforms, they STILL have a dress code that tells you how to dress! They tell you how to exercise, how often to get health checkups. The training manuals in the military are a great template for small businesses to take a look at. I wouldn’t recommend trying to create a training manual that is even 1% of what the military has. They are an 100+ year old company. LOLOLOL. Create the training manual that accomplishes the mission of streamlining the training times for you.
How To Create A Training Manual Materials
The most effective training manuals I’ve seen have been created using fairly simply-to-use technology like:
- Microsoft Office
- The Google Suite
- CRM software (I personally use Trello for this)
- Some Payroll Processors (like Zenefits) have an HR portion of their technologies for recording employee performance and manuals
- Learning Management Systems like Podia, Teachable, LifterLMS, or Thrive Apprentice,
Then, the training can be simply placed in sheet protectors and a nice big binder (like a 3-5 inch).
Some learning management systems can only be used for online courses, but Podia can be used for membership sites, online courses, freebie optin offers, and many more training or sales conversion functions.
If you wanted, you could add your training manual there, and upload it as a online course, then your trainees, could have their own logins and take the course with ease. It would not be location specific, therefore, if there was an unexpected emergency, you can have them log onto the training course from wherever you are. It is a great option in the digital age.
The military was crossing over to digital training when I separated, and it increased the efficiency so much, and made base to base coordination much easier. If this would help lower your training challenges, you should definitely check out Podia!
There are other alternatives out there, and I’ve done reviews of quite a few. You can check them out here:
Podia can be used for multiple purposes–the sky is the limit with it.
Free Training Manual Templates
Every business is different, so no two businesses should have identical training manuals. If you plagiarize another training manual, not only is it illegal, but it’s ineffective to show a person how you handle the unique quirks of your business. Here are some free training manual templates you can use for guidance while building your training manual.
Free trainng manual templates can be helpful because they can remind you of different categories you may have overlooked. On the other hand, you may find alot of verbiage that doesn’t help you streamline your processes because many training manuals are filled with legal verbiage, standards, theories, and policies most people don’t actually want to read or write.
Try to have a balance between what you need to say to satisfy requirements and what you need them to be able to do. Create engaging content, so those being trained can read, engage, and get up and running quickly. No one wants to read BLAH, so don’t create BLAH. Create compelling content that sticks, and you’ll see their productivity accelerate.
Final Comments on How To Create A Training Manual
I really hope this information will enable you to achieve great success in your business–streamlining your operations. I can’t tell you enough how important it is to prepare your business for growth and rainy days.
Creating a training manual would definitely be a step in the right direction. If you have simple questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to help you out.
If you’d like to start or grow a business, check out my free e-course. It’ a framework to grow from idea to full-time income, and from full-time income to enterprise(if you want to. Check out my free e-course here.
Now, it’s your turn…
Have you created a training manual in your business? Have you tried to outsource or delegate without a training manual? How did that go? Let’s share experiences so we can all achieve more business success!