While company manuals are a good way to introduce new employees to a business's policies and procedures, many organizations also need training materials that will help employees master specialized tasks. Work books are probably the most common type of document used during actual training sessions.
Let's assume you have been asked to develop a work book for new employees at a call center. The first thing you have to figure out is what skills an employee must master to be successful in their position. This is something your client should be able to tell you. Compile a list of skills and/or processes that will be addressed in the training manual. In this case, they might include dealing with irate individuals, transferring calls to supervisors, rebutting, and entering orders into the system.
For each of the skills that will be addressed, you should provide general information, examples, and exercises that provide an opportunity to practice the skills learned. Create a separate section for each of the skills to make the information more accessible.
As an example, let's look at the skill of dealing with irate individuals. At the beginning of the section, provide some general information. Explain that call center employees will have to deal with this situation on a regular basis, and outline why the skill is important. You might also discuss some of the major reasons why individuals may get upset (they are in the middle of something, they don't like being disturbed at home, etc.). Then, outline how the employee should deal with this situation (ask if there is a better time to call back, stay calm, try to empathize with the individual on the other end of the line, etc.). If applicable, you can also identify specific phrases that the company recommends employees use when confronted with this type of situation (I understand you're busy, I'm sorry I interrupted you, etc.). Basically, you want to provide a theoretical overview of the skill.
Next, provide some examples. In this particular instance, you might find it useful to construct some scenarios. Describe both the reason why the person being called was angry and outline how the employee was able to defuse the situation. Finally, give employees a chance to practice their skills by developing one or more exercises. Sticking with our example, you might present a scenario and then ask employees to decide how they would deal with the situation. Responses could then be shared and discussed. You could also construct partial scripts that do not include the employee's reaction to the angry individual. Employees could pair off and practice their responses.
The most important thing to remember when developing work books is that you should outline the skill and why it is important, provide examples of real world applications of the skill, and construct activities and exercises that allow employees to practice and master the skill. This applies whether you are developing a work book for a NASA engineer or a retail clerk.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014