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How To Make A Great Training Manual

A well-executed training manual is a great tool for employers and employees alike. Here are a few tips for putting together a useful and informative reference document for your new employees.

General Outline.

The things you will want to include here are your company's mission statement, and if there is an existing chain of command, what that is. The idea is to give the employee an idea of where they fit in the general company structure, who they report to, and what the goals of the business are.

Specific Policies.

Begin this section by clearly stating what the general policies of your business are, and don't be afraid to go into some detail about what it is that you expect from each and every employee. Here is where you are able to codify rules such as dress codes, time cards and expected arrival and departure times, sick and vacation day policies, and other details including the time that is allotted for meals and other breaks. The important thing here is to state in black and white exactly what is expected, in what areas there may be some wiggle room, and where there is not. This is not only critical to establishing the environment you'd like to create, it helps your employee to feel more comfortable by knowing what the rules are.

Define Roles and Tasks.

In the same way that your employees will be more comfortable when they know what the company's codes and rules are, he or she will be well served by having his or her role within the company or division clearly spelled out. This way, they start by feeling that they are a crucial part of the business, and that their contributions are important. This can also help to clear up any confusion between employees about who is supposed to be doing what. The more clearly you can define those roles, the fewer headaches you will have later.

You will want to start with the general and drill down to the specific. The position of Communications Director, for instance may start off with "engages the public on company business and affairs" or something like that. Then you will want to list the ways this is to be done, such as "writes and distributes press releases, updates company blog," etc. Start with the most major tasks, and move down in order of importance from there.

Set Standards.

If, for instance, you would like to have a certain number of meetings scheduled on a monthly basis, state that number in the manual, and also state the types of numbers and statistics you would like reported to you and when. These are only examples, of course, but the idea is to make it clear that certain aspects of future employee evaluations will be based on these standards. That way everyone is clear from the outset. If there is a training time involved, make it clear by what time frame (for example, three weeks, six months, etc) he or she is expected to display full skills and competency.

Make it Durable.

When you put your training manual together, make sure that you choose a binding style that is both durable and functional. Spiral coil binding is a way to ensure that the pages stay in the book, and that your employee can lay the book flat or open to 180 degrees for easy, hands-free reading.

By Jeff McRitchie
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