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Job Aids: Worthwhile Investment or Time Consuming Busy work

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

What is a job aid, and is it worth the time to create? Is it simply instructions on how to do a job, a departmental SOP? It can be in some organizations, but the importance of a job aid is to help every employee with the details of the job and of each day. A job aid breaks down a job or position to its elemental task(s). For example, if I have a job aid for an Instructional Designer, you would first need to isolate one of the position’s job functions. Let’s use building an online class for this example. The initial breakdown is best laid out below:

Breakdown of Job functions to Tasks, to Elements, and to steps
Job Function Breakdown

Although this example is simplistic, you can see how the breakdown can help break down each job function by task, element, and steps on how to complete it. This format will not only show an employee the needed steps in completing their job function but will also make it a searchable document for anyone else who may need to reference the job aid in the case that the individual who may normally handle this job function is absent for any period of time.

Now, I have written many job aids over the years, and I can say that this is one of the easiest ways to manage staff responsibilities in the long run. I have also learned that this is a living document. As many of you know, our jobs tend to change, and we need to adapt to each change relatively quickly and efficiently. When you already have a document set up with the proper formatting and headers, you can easily add and remove job functions, tasks, and elements.

One other important aspect that makes a job aid vital in any organization is turnover. Every organization has turnover, in some industries, it is part of the territory. Having job aids in place for each position creates a smooth, efficient transition from employee to employee and can create a reduction in necessary training. This, in turn, eliminates waste with a more effective process, which creates more ability to become productive.

Finally, we circle back to the original question, “are they worth it?” It has been my experience in both the private and public sectors that they are not only worth it but one of the more efficient business practices. In the beginning, a job aid can take a while to develop, but in the long run, when you have developed a job aid, it will pay for itself many times over in saved time and energy when completing job functions, whether simple or complex.

If you would like to learn more about Job Aids or need help creating one, reach out to Higher Design, LLC at

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