What are job aids? Definition and examples

Job aids are tools or devices that help people do their jobs. Memory joggers and instruction cards, for example, are job aids. The term includes anything which helps people complete their jobs successfully. Job aids help us avoid making mistakes. They also guide us through the necessary steps to complete a task.

Many different devices and tools help us accomplish tasks. However, not all of them are specifically job aids.

For something to be a job aid, it must have certain characteristics.

Wiktionary has the following definition of the term:

“A sign, worksheet or other object which includes diagrams or a brief summary of instructions, such as a checklist.”

“Designed to reduce avoidable mistakes by helping a person remember what to do, or be sure that they have completed all steps required.”

Job Aids - definition and examples
Beginners and trainees rely on job aids more than their experienced counterparts.

Job aids – features

A job aid must have features that help a person accomplish a task.

A corkscrew, for example, is not a job aid. Even though it can help us get the cork out of the bottle, it has no instructions or directions. Additionally, a corkscrew is not a source of information. The corkscrew does not tell us what to do.

Job-aids must have instructions, information, or directions that help us complete tasks.

They are external sources of information. Therefore, any information that we manage to memorize is no longer a job aid.

A recipe book

A recipe book has information and instructions. It has instructions on how to prepare different dishes.

These are job-aid features. Therefore, recipe books are job aids.

In fact, any instruction manual is a job aid.

Job aids – examples

Self-assembly furniture

IKEA is a famous Swedish furniture and housewares store. When you buy its furniture, you have to assemble it at home.

If you buy an IKEA bed, for example, you will take home all the hundreds of parts plus an instruction manual.

Instruction manuals that tell you how to assemble items of furniture are job aids. They are job aids because they help you assemble furniture, i.e., they help you complete a task.

Smart TVs

If I buy a new smart TV, I need to set it up when I get home. I will use the television manual that comes with the new TV to set it up. The manual is a job aid.

Computer software

When a company purchases new software, its employees need to look things up in the manual regularly for a few weeks. Without that job aid, new software users would find it virtually impossible to work. In this context, software refers to a computer program.