Your business has a lot of moving pieces. When you hire new employees, it can be difficult to effectively communicate what their responsibilities are. This article will cover several aspects of what an effective work instruction template looks like and how you can write one.
Read on to learn valuable information about how you can implement a work instruction template in your business.
What is a Work Instruction Template?
A work instruction template is a tool that you can give to your employees that provides your workforce with the guidance necessary to understand their work processes. However, it can be known by many other names that may be more familiar to you, like a job aid or the user manual.
Why Use A Work Instruction Template?
A work instruction template can help new employees quickly get into the swing of your work process so that your business can keep its production up. Using a clear work instruction template can help reduce errors during production. This saves your company time and money while also improving efficiency. These templates can often be more engaging than other kinds of training and act as an excellent place for your employees to review procedures at any time.
There are many different kinds of work instruction templates you can have for your workplace. You may need one for safety, on how to use equipment, one about contacting human resources, and more. How you use work instruction templates in your business is up to you, but they can be used anywhere you need to communicate instructions to your employees.
Work instructions help ensure that everyone in your company is well aware of what needs to be done. This helps lessen the chance that employees will accidentally omit steps in the process or make easily avoided mistakes when producing and delivering your product. When your production is closer to being error-free, and your employees have an easy place to access answers to frequently asked questions, your business will save time and money.
Finding A Free Work Instruction Template
You may not have made a work instruction template for your business, because you were intimidated by the massive size of the task. Going through each sector of your company and writing thorough but clear instructions for all your work processes can be a lot of effort. Thankfully, this is the age of the Internet, and there are many free work instruction template choices available online.
When searching for a work instruction template to fit your business, make sure to include the right search words. For construction, manufacturing, engineering or assembly, visual design, or work templates for certain machinery, you’ll have to be specific if you’re looking for something specific. Even NASA has work instruction templates available online for free. If you’re intimidated by the task of writing your own template, know there is likely a pre-made one available online if you look carefully.
After you’ve found a template online that seems serviceable, don’t forget to open it in an editing or writing software of your choice and make all necessary changes. Reading through it thoroughly and adjusting it to your workplace will help you ensure that your new work instruction template is actually an effective guide for your workers.
Process Maps Are Not Equivalent to Work Instructions
Instead of looking online for a pre-made work instruction template, you may want to write your own. On the other hand, you may think you don’t need to write any work instructions because your business already uses process maps. There is a common misconception that work instructions and process maps are equivalent. Let’s explore.
A process is a string of actions needed to get to the desired outcome—in the case of your business, that’s the successful delivery of a product or service. A process map will take into account every major step, role, and responsibility necessary to complete your goals.
A work instruction template explains how each aspect of the process should be completed.
The major difference between the process map and the work instruction is that the process map describes a companywide process of production, and the work instructions describe how to complete those individual steps.
The Do It Yourself Work Instruction Template
By breaking down the process of writing a work instruction template, it can be easier to get started. Even if you’re using a template you’ve found online, you should ensure that each of the elements on this list is there. This will help ensure your work instructions are easy to read and will provide clarity to your workplace.
Here is a list of important elements you’ll need to be sure your work instructions template includes.
Simple Descriptive Titles. For the document title and any subheading titles, make sure they’re easily understandable. A good title will make it easy to find and reference this document later.
Introductions. The document should include a short description of what process it’s connected to, and how this task works in the grander scheme of your business.
Clear Purpose. On the line of introductions, your work instruction template should also explain why this task needs to be completed. This will show how the worker completing this task is essential to the workings of your business. Plus, it will help the reader understand the final objective, and better envision the entire work process.
Step-By-Step Instructions. The bulk of your document should be dedicated to guiding the reader through the task. Here you should be sure all the necessary tools are listed, how and when to use them, and also include any other instructions necessary to explain how the task is done.
Visual Guides. Often, if your work instruction template is only made of text, some employees will still find certain instructions confusing. Not to mention, some steps of your task may be difficult to describe clearly. When you include drawings, diagrams, or maybe links to helpful video instructions, it can increase understanding, and help answer common questions.
Roles and Jobs. This is the final essential part of the work instruction template that will be discussed. Make sure to include the “who” of who is responsible for this task. Be sure to include who is responsible for any sub-tasks if they are completed by someone else. Also, point out if the work needs to be inspected at any point in the process.
Tips on Writing a Successful Work Instruction Template
The most important function of the work instruction template, but often the hardest part of creating one, is ensuring that your document is easy to understand. Keep these tips in mind while you write to ensure that your work instruction template is as effective as possible.
Maintaining Clarity. Because many tasks you need to be completed are highly technical, you may want to describe them in technical language. However, especially if you’re crafting this document to help train employees, your new hire may not understand that highly technical jargon. You want this document to explain your instructions no matter what their experience level is. Using simple and short sentences can help increase clarity and make it easier for anyone to understand.
Remaining Accessible. You may write a great instruction manual that is easy to read and delivers excellent instruction. This won’t help your organization if nobody can access them. Have them be easy to find and reference through the workday. If your company has an intranet, these instructions should be easy to find, or easily searched. No matter the format you keep them in, make sure it’s easy for employees to exchange all important documents.
Include Accurate Information. As your business grows and develops over time, a work instruction template that once worked effectively may become outdated. By taking time to review all instructions routinely, you can make sure they still match the needs of your employees.
Consistent Formatting. No matter which of your instructions an employee is looking at, they should be able to easily navigate them all. By setting up a company style of document formatting, you can train your employees to more effectively take in instructions, and learn how to acquire new information more efficiently.
Be Engaging. Doing simple things, like using the active voice when writing your instructions, can help make your document easier to read. But there are other ways to engage your workers with your instructions. While choosing to make your work instructions into a long Word document can be effective at relaying instructions, it’s not the most engaging method of information delivery. Try an easily re-watchable presentation, or design a learning program that allows employees to learn at their own pace.
Applying Work Instructions to Your Workplace
By making effective work instructions, you can help your employees better understand the responsibilities they have as a member of your staff. You can save a lot of time by thoroughly explaining tasks while training employees, which can help increase productivity and reduce human error. Whether choosing to find a template to use online or writing one yourself, a work instruction template can bring lots of value to your business.