The definition of a job aid is a written tool to guide job performance in real time (when it is needed). Some job aids are written for additional support to exemplary performance by employees. For example, if a certain function is part of a job description, but not performed on a daily basis, a job aid can be accessed that provides information on how to do the job with ultimate success.
Job aids contain such information as check lists, sample completed forms, and how-to directions. This information is actually a refresher and can also be considered a cookbook (step by step instructions) type of job tool.
Review Job Description and Standards
Review the job description and standards. You may choose those particular job responsibilities that are done less frequently. For example, performance appraisals may be conducted once a year. Therefore, since this is not done very often, there may be a need for a refresher when time comes to prepare the appraisals.
A job aid that provides detailed instructions on how to complete the appraisal with completed sample appraisal forms and step-by-step instructions could be very helpful.
Use Job Aid Examples
Use lots of job aid examples such as prepared document samples, spreadsheets and checklists. For example, if an employee must back up the computer once each quarter, there may be a step-by-step checklist with all the necessary information for a successful backup. The checklist should be very clear to avoid any confusion.
Plan for Optimal Job Aid Use and Performance
Plan the development of the job aid to obtain the optimal use and performance. It may be important to bring in the subject matter experts (persons who are top performers with outstanding skills and experience) to determine which job aids are most needed. Also determine what format the job aid will take (checklist, step-by step instructions, spreadsheet and document examples). Other decisions are format (paper or software) and who will manage the job aid project.
Conduct a Trial and Improve as Needed
Conduct a pilot (roll out the program to a selected group for a certain period of time) to ensure the job aid is written in clear, quick and easy-to-use language. Review the job aid at the end of the time allotted to make any changes and improvements prior to a major "go-live" (roll out of the job aid to all appropriate employees). Eliminating all of the errors and bugs in the job aid prior to release can ensure a more successful project (see Checklist to Design Effective Job Aids).
Involve the right people to support and drive the job aid program, and have subject matter experts and editors to review the materials. Remember to update any changes made to the job descriptions to the job aid.
Do not use the job aid instead of training.
Do not count on the job aid being a cure all for poor performance.
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