Here are some quick tips for those who want to support their staff at work. There are online and offline ways to give people helpful information: videos, guides, checklists and infographics to name a few. What’s important is who, how and why.
- Job-specific content should only be created by people who actually do the job.
The temptation is to put your trust in the vocal few who say, “the job should be done like this”. Often these folks are the most passionate and see themselves as the experts. The problem is, without input from those doing the job, you’ll end up with irrelevant bits of advice based on the ideal not the reality. Another error is to have a learning person produce the content because they will focus on ‘Learning Objectives’: what people need to know, in theory, not what they need to do in practice.
2. Tell people “how” to do something, not “what” to do.
This is possibly the most difficult thing to get right because there is a subtle difference. Ultimately it determines whether something is theory or practice which is crucial if you are going to provide something useful. An example would be advice which says, “remove the outer cover on the front of the dishwasher”. What this doesn’t say is how. What tool should you use? What should it look like when it’s removed? Is it held on by screws? Where are they located? These practical details are the difference between good and bad support.
3. Agile development means weeks not months.
Things in business move slow, everyone is an expert and leaders want a say. It’s hard to work quickly and get access to the people you need. It’s important that a working prototype is delivered in weeks not months. The longer you leave it the more time and money you spend on dangerous assumptions.
4. To be relevant you have to be specific.
Sometimes it’s okay to generalise. Leadership advice, for example, can be applied to a number of scenarios; although individual differences exist, and there is no one way to get results. Other things, like specific job roles are unique and defined. It’s important to segment your audience into distinct groups based on their individual experiences of work. The more personalised you can get, the better. If you pitch your support at too high a level, you risk missing the mark altogether. Using the dishwasher example again; a person who can only fix Hotpoint brands is only going to find limited relevance in a “how to” video which covers Bosch.