How to Develop Job Aids

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A job aid includes pictures and words to describe a work task or procedure.
A job aid includes pictures and words to describe a work task or procedure. (Image: job sight image by David Sexton from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

A job aid is a printed or electronic document users can reference quickly to review the steps involved in performing a task. Developing a job aid can be simple or complex, depending on what information is included. A job aid's format should be targeted toward the audience, displayed and packaged for easy reference. Plumbers, for instance, might require a different style than call center representatives.

A job aid will only be helpful if it provides the most essential information. Consult with the managers and workers who perform the job or task to collect information.

Write a list of basic steps a person with the right background skills and knowledge can follow. These steps may include references to tools needed and training an employee must complete before being able to use the job aid effectively.

Use a text box, with a visible border, to package very important information.

Add a picture to the right side or bottom left to ensure that it does not detract from the list of steps.

Add a separate notes section in smaller print to provide instructions for special situations. For example, a job aid might include a hyperlink to find information or training resources.If an employee has to click on a hyperlink during the steps, that hyperlink should be pasted into the step.

Revise the layout of the job aid. This may include moving the numbered list, text boxes and pictures around to make it easy to read. Ensure that each page in the job aid has lots of white space. Crowding too much information on a page makes it harder to use on the job.

Ask employees and managers to review the document to see if it would help them train a new employee. Then test the document on several new employees. Make changes to the visual and written presentation that will make the job aid easier to use.

Tips & Warnings

  • To ensure that the numbered list describes what a person actually does, observe the task being performed multiple times.
  • Focus each job aid on one set of tasks, not a combination of tasks or procedures.

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