Knowing When To Use Job Aids And When Not To Use Them
The success of your organization’s marketing and sales efforts depends on many different factors. Such factors include your business’ strategies and processes, not to mention the training that you provide. Without proper training, your marketing and sales personnel can’t execute your plan or implement your processes. In addition to initial training, you’ll want to assist your marketing and sales personnel in doing their jobs more efficiently and with greater success. One of the most effective ways to provide this assistance is through the use of job aids.
What Are Job Aids?
Job aids refer to resources that enable your marketing and sales personnel to do their jobs more effectively. For example, a job aid can be a set of instructions that your staff can follow when implementing a complicated process. A job aid can also be a resource, such as a case study, that a sales representative can use to answer a customer’s question and nurture them through the sales funnel. When it comes down to it, job aids can help your personnel remember important information, adapt their performance to a unique situation, or solve a problem.
How Are Job Aids Different Than Procedures?
A job aid is a reference document that your employees can check to recall prompts and steps needed to correctly perform a task. Job aids aren’t always focused on processes either — job aids can be different types of resources.
Why Use Job Aids?
Job aids are beneficial for a variety of reasons. First of all, employees don’t have to rely solely on their memory to recall various processes. If they can’t remember a step, they can refer to a job aid. Secondly, job aids provide general guidance to employees who may not be sure how to proceed with a task. In general, job aids work as a safety net, reduce human error, save time, reduce stress, establish standardized processes, and improve productivity.
When Should You Use Job Aids?
You want to enable your marketing and sales teams to do the best job that they can do. While talented personnel can often remember complicated processes on their own or can figure out tricky challenges without help, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t provide a safety net that your people can rely on in case they need assistance. Job aids reduce the need for marketing and sales representatives to depend solely on their ability to recall information from memory. With that in mind, the following are everyday situations in which your personnel will benefit most from using a job aid:
When You’re Training New Employees
Although not a substitute for core training, job aids can be incredibly useful for new employees who are still learning. Many of the tasks and processes that new employees are responsible for executing and following will require time to learn. Job aids will help reduce the stress of remembering specific steps since they can turn to them for guidance. New employees will have more confidence knowing that they can always use their job aids if necessary. Job aids will help train new employees faster, allowing them to adapt to their new jobs more successfully.
When You’re Nurturing Your Customers And Prospects
Your sales personnel can nurture leads much more effectively if they can rely on job aids. Not only can job aids help your sales team take the right steps when engaging with their leads, but your sales team can also use them to educate leads better. Certain job aids can be made available to the public, such as case studies. These are known as external job aids. If a lead has a specific concern or question, a sales representative can provide them with the appropriate job aid.
When You’re Implementing New Processes
If you’re adding new processes or replacing existing processes with new ones, it can take time for your employees to adapt. Successful adaptation can be more challenging if your employees are used to the existing methods, and if your new processes are more complex than the old ones. Job aids can make it easier for employees to adapt to a new process and require less training (or re-training). It will also take less time for them to adapt to your new procedures, which means that it shouldn’t affect their productivity.
When You’re Implementing Changes To Existing Processes
In a way, adapting to changes to an existing process can be more challenging than adapting to an entirely new process. Such difficulties occur because your employees are used to following the current procedures, and the steps of the existing process are ingrained. Deviating from what they know will be less challenging with the use of job aids.
When You’re Providing Guidance For Complicated Processes
Some processes are too long or complicated to remember. Newer employees, in particular, may have trouble remembering the steps that they need to take. Having job aids available to guide your marketing and sales teams through longer processes can be very beneficial. Job aids will help reduce errors, and they will also help reduce unnecessary help requests, which can be very time-consuming for both sides.
When You Need To Ensure That Critical Tasks Are Properly Executed
There are likely tasks assigned to some of your employees that have no room for error. If these tasks are critical to your business, then developing job aids for these tasks is a good idea. Even if you trust your employees to execute the task flawlessly, providing a job aid for the task gives them a safety net to fall back on.
When You Want To Standardize Processes Across Your Organization
By implementing job aids, you’ll make sure that your teams are on the same page and follow the same processes and instructions. Such consistency will help make every department that relies on job aids more efficient and more productive. As a result, coordination between multiple employees and processes will be less complicated.
When Not To Use Job Aids
As beneficial as job aids can be, they should only be used when appropriate. An over-reliance on job aids can be detrimental to your business. For instance, they should not be used as a substitute for core training, especially when that core training is critical to the process or job function. Knowing when to use job aids and when not to is key to getting the most out of them. The following are a couple of situations where a job aid is probably not the ideal solution:
When the Task Is Time-sensitive
Tasks that are time-sensitive or that require quick thinking will not be helped through job aids. Job aids often require time for employees to look through and match the task at hand — and they are developed for specific tasks. While job aids should be easy to glance at, they shouldn’t be depended on to deal with unique challenges that require employees to use their experience and expertise to think on their feet.
When Credibility Is Required
When a customer speaks directly with a sales representative, the last thing they want to hear is a canned response. A scripted answer to a specific question will make the customer think the rep isn’t knowledgeable, which hurts your brand’s credibility. Although a job aid can provide general guidance, your representatives should be trained and educated to the point where they can answer unique questions on the spot without looking at a reference or resource.
When Tasks Are Dependent On Too Many Variables
Job aids should only be used on repetitive tasks. Tasks that require different actions based on a wide range of variables depend on the employee’s skill and know-how. If you were to attempt to create a job aid for a process with many variables, the job aid would become too long and detailed and would no longer be an effective job aid.
Job Aids Can Be Incredibly Useful When Appropriately Implemented
Job aids can be hugely beneficial to your employees. They are resources that your organization can rely on both internally and externally, whether to recall processes or nurture leads. However, before you begin developing your job aids, identify when they will be useful and when they won’t be. Once you understand this, it will be easier to create job aids that will benefit your employees and your organization.