Training Materials Made Easy

Save Money, Enable Growth, Free Up Time

This is the continuation of this article where I talk about hiring strategies and their pros and cons.
Now, let's talk about your onboarding process and how it affects your productivity.

Training Problem

The quality of your onboarding and training process directly affects your free time.
Let's come back to the formula of the free time during the training period (see more about this formula here):

Free Time ⬇️ = Working Hours - (Training ⬆️+ Coaching ⬆️ + Execution + Management ⬆️)

We did cover the trends (ups or downs) of the time spent but we did not cover the duration of each activity.
There is a huge difference between training a team member within 24 hrs (short duration) or training a team member within 4 weeks (long duration).
I am sure everyone can allocate extra time to train the team member during the next 24 hrs.
But can everyone allocate the time to train the team member within the next 4 weeks, consistently and on a daily basis? I do not think it is realistic unless you have a solid training program in place.

So you end up throwing your new hire into the fire and expecting him/her to catch up.
Sometimes this strategy is great. As the saying goes:

What is the best way to conquer an island - burn the boats.

That's more or less what happens when you throw the new hire into the fire. Chances are, he/she survives and thrives or it is going to be a complete disaster.
It is almost 50/50 and it is not great if we are looking for consistency and a low employee turnover.
We definitely have to do better.

The end result is of course:

  • I hired people and my quality went down;
  • My team is not performing well;
  • I spend more time in operations than ever before.

All those are symptoms of inadequate training.

What to do with it?

You may not need a crazy ass training program if you are ramping up the operations. But you definitely need some solid training materials in place!

Solid Training Materials = Reduced Training Time

So the Training Time is the variable we are going to affect. And the lower the training time, the faster we are going to get our free time back.

Let's figure the training materials out below!

Training Materials

Essentially, all training materials are broken down into:

  1. Process maps;
  2. Supportive material;
  3. Implementation instructions (which can become a part of supportive material);
  4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

What do all these mean? Breaking it down into smaller pieces below.

1. Process Maps are just visual representations of what you do. It is usually presented in a form of a flow chart or a swim lane diagram.

A flowchart is like a step-by-step map showing what to do in a process, while a swim lane diagram is like a game board that divides tasks between different people or groups.

Every swim lane diagram is a flowchart and not every flowchart is a swim lane diagram.
Same as cognac, every cognac is brandy, and not every brandy is cognac.

2. Supportive material may be in the form of videos, or written documents.

3. Implementation instructions can be in the form of documents and videos explaining how to execute this specific process in a particular software/app or on location. This is the piece of your training materials that unites your process maps and supportive materials with the actual real-life work.

4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are documents that encompass everything we listed above in one single document and hence are usually created only after all that material is already in place.

In other words, you need process maps to create supportive material and implementation instructions and you need everything to be able to create an SOP.

Hence, do not focus on the SOP creation. Focus on those composing parts first and you will eventually end up building great SOPs.

If you are looking for needle movers - that's process maps. Those create the biggest impact on your training materials right away. The rest you can put together gradually as you go through the training process.


Now you have everything you need to kickstart the training materials development and to understand their purpose. Do not make them for the sake of making them. If you are not planning to do hiring any time soon, just having a few draft process maps might be more than enough.
Always focus on needle movers.

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