(In a prior post, I suggested that providing employees with Job Performance Aids might do more than training to close performance gaps–and do so at less cost.)

An online performance support system is the way to make JPAs available to employees, if you have the expertise to create them and your employees work at computers most of the time.  If not, a hard copy JPA may be your best bet.  (Interestingly, many employees will create these binders on their own, even if you do have an online system!)

Before you create a job performance aid, think ahead to a future when you have provided your employees with a dozen or more aids.  Will these be jumbled in your employees’ desk drawers, needle-in-the-haystack fashion?  Job Performance Aids that are hard to find are hardly likely to be used.  So how can you make your JPAs easy to find?

Your path of least resistance is to create your job performance aids on letter-sized, hole-punched paper, and to provide each employee with a colorful three-ring binder to house their aids.  The downside of this is the bulk of the binder.  If your employees work at desks this may not be a huge problem.  Still, it may embarrass the employee to be blatantly searching for answers in front of their customers.  (Bulk may not be a problem, of course, if your employees generally interact with their internal and external customers via their phones or desktop keypads.

There are alternatives to three-ring binders, but these can be pricey.  For example, several companies sell “flip books” that house aids printed on index cards.  These are great, but the books can run over $20 apiece, which may put them out of reach.  Even the card stock—assuming you’ll create the aids on the computer—can be a cost concern if you have a lot of employees and a lot of performance aids.  Also, swapping updated cards for out-of-date cards is a hassle; your shiny new cards may be tossed in a drawer and quickly forgotten.

So, let’s go on the assumption that you’ll be housing your letter-sized JPAs in a three-ring binder.  The next question then, is “How will you create job aids that are useful—and actually get used?”

Look to a future post—JPAs That Answer the How Question—for some useful tips.