It seems like so many roadblocks in the workplace come down to a matter of communication. Or, rather, miscommunication.
Miscommunication has a snowball effect–if a process is explained poorly or overlooked altogether during the onboarding process, the incorrect information will be perpetuated by the new employee moving forward.
But you can avoid miscommunication early on by offering new employees helpful documents to guide them in learning important processes.
Have you tried offering process posters to employees?
Process posters introduce a new process and then walk readers through the steps for how to complete the process. They are concise, one-page reference sheets that may stand on their own or act as a supplementary sheet for a more in-depth process guide.
Having process posters handy in the workplace are super useful for directing new employees and for keeping established employees on the right track.
But you might be thinking at this point: that’s a great idea and all, but I’m not a designer. How am I supposed to make a professional-looking poster without any design experience?
Don’t worry. I’m not a designer and I still made the infographic in this article! If I can do it, there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t too.
In this guide, I’ll give you tips for how to create each type of process poster, as well as some general poster design tips. Some of the design tips will be the same as ones I offered in my article on creating event posters (but you should still check that article out as well for tips I didn’t cover here).
And if you’re using Venngage for the first time, we have a whole library of articles on our support page that explain how to use specific parts of our tool.
Here’s the poster design process in a nutshell:
1. Define your audience.
2. Include only the key information.
3. Choose the best poster template.
– A step by step guide?
– A flow chart?
– A timeline?
4. Optimize your poster for distribution.
5. Customize your design.
Let’s get right to it!
<img class="aligncenter" src="https://venngage-wordpress.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/10/process-poster.png" alt="Infographics: HR Process Poster" /> See this <a href="https://venngage.com/blog/hr-process/">infographic on Venngage</a>.
Use the embed code above to post this infographic on your own site, but please attribute!
1. Define your audience.
The information you include in your process poster will be determined by the audience the poster is intended for.
Because you have very limited space on a one-page poster, the more specific your information is, the better.
Determine at what stage will you give employees this poster.
Is it a standard process that every employee should become familiar with during their onboarding? Or is it a new process that you need to introduce the entire team to?
Perhaps there is a process that your company’s customers/users need to become acquainted with as part of their onboarding process.
Once you know who your audience is, you will have some direction for where to start with both the content of your poster and the design.
For example, if the poster is addressing new employees, you know that the information will have to be very basic and introductory. You will probably have to start right at the beginning. You may have to reference places where they can get more information on specific points.
Generally, a process poster works best as a quick reference sheet that offers the basic outline of a process. The poster should clearly state where employees can go to get more detailed and in-depth information, if the process requires it.
2. Include only the key information.
Now that you have a sense of where to begin, you can drill down on what the key information for each step in the process is.
You won’t have space in a one-page poster to go into detail about the finer points of each step in the process. So you will have to figure out what the most crucial information is and focus your content on that.
Start at the end of the process.
What should readers know once they have finished reading the poster? Once you have that figured out, you can work backwards to determine what information employees will need to be given to get to that point.
Label each stage in the process as an actionable step.
You should always create a draft before beginning your design. Use phrasing that clearly tells readers what action to take. For example, “Create an account on the employee intranet,” as opposed to, “Creating an employee intranet account.”
Define any terms a new employee may not be familiar with.
While there are certain industry-specific terms that a new employee will probably already know, there may be certain terms specific to company or product that a new employee may not know. If the term is very important, consider including a reminder of the definition in the poster.
Think of what visuals will make the process easier to follow.
Because you have very limited space, you don’t have the opportunity to bog down your design with unnecessary visuals. Instead, think of how you can use visuals to better explain concepts.
Sorry, no room for cringy stock photos.
Look for ways to use icons, charts, or screenshots to clarify your points.
Icons. Icons present a concept in one small, compact graphic. Use icons to not only embellish your design, but also to highlight particular points. Check out this article about using icons.
Charts and graphs. If you want to include contextual data, a chart is the perfect way to pack a bunch of information into one graphic. If you’re not sure what charts to use, give this article on selecting the right charts a read. Just make sure that the chart style (colors, fonts) is consistent with the rest of your poster design.
Screenshots. Screenshots will show employees exactly what they need to see. You can incorporate screenshots seamlessly into your design by using the Image Cropping tool on Venngage.
3. Choose the best poster template for your information.
Based on the kind of process you’re visualizing, there are three basic templates you can use to guide your design.
A Step By Step Guide
For many processes, a step by step guide is often the most straightforward layout.
Number each step. Keep it at straightforward as possible. You may also want to number points within each step. If you decide to number the points within a step, differentiate between the numbering of the overarching step by using A, B, C instead of numbers, or by using a different font style or color.
Use descriptive headers for each step. Headers should summarize steps in one short phrase. The language you use should be instructive and actionable. Begin headers with verbs like “Make,” “Use,” “Write,” etc.
Divide the poster into sections for each step. You can do this using a dividing line or by using different colored background blocks for each step. This will make it easy to distinguish between each step with one glance.
Take the poster below that outlines the tasks that need to be completed by an HR professional before a new employee’s first day:
Say you have a process that involves making decisions, with several possible outcomes. In that case, a strictly linear step-by-step layout might be too constricting. This is where a flowchart comes in handy.
When done right, flowcharts are a fun and effective tool to help employees make decisions.
Draw a rough draft before designing. Flowcharts require a fair bit of pre-planning. You’ll definitely want to draw out a rough draft of your flowchart so you can figure out the spacing.
Use icons to highlight important points. Because flowcharts go in so many different directions, it can be confusing to know which direction your eye should go in. Pair icons up with important information to attract readers’ eyes.
Condense information as much as possible. Flowcharts often have a tendency to come out really long, so take that into consideration if you’re planning on printing your poster. Look for the most concise way to communicate your information.
Take a look at this neat flowchart that helps you decide whether or not you should send an email to your coworkers:
If the process has a particular timeframe that needs to be followed, use a timeline. While flowcharts indicate multiple different directions you could take with the process, a timeline generally follows along one linear path.
Create a classic timeline. A timeline in the most common and classic of senses has one connecting line straight down the middle of the poster, with points branching out.
Take this paired down timeline that uses a simple design of color-coded headers and one anchor icon to denote each step:
Create a “roadmap” or “snake” timeline. What I mean by that is, a timeline that winds back and forth across the page like a road.
Take a look at the poster below, which walks sales team members through the client onboarding process. Note how they’ve used a box to section off additional information at the bottom of the poster–this is a great way to include bonus information without disrupting the flow of the timeline.
Check out this post for a more in-depth guide to creating timelines.
4. Optimize your poster for distribution.
Before you you get into the nitty-gritty stage of your design, consider how you’re going to distribute your poster.
Web or print? Or do you want to keep it optional?
Whether or not you’re creating your poster for print will determine certain aspects of the design.
Use CMYK colors for print.
Certain colors come out wonky when printed. That’s why it’s important to use the right color palette from the get-go, so you don’t get attached to a design that won’t translate properly to print.
Printers use a CMYK color palette (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK). To make sure that your poster looks the same in print as it does on your screen, design your posters for print using a CMYK palette.
See the difference?
If you want to optimize your design for both web and print, play it safe and use A CMYK palette.
Use RGBA colors for web.
If you’re creating a poster for web distribution, you don’t have to worry about color restraints for printing. There is a wider scope of RGBA (Red, Green, Blue, Alpha) colors, so you might as well just design in RGBA for a web-exclusive poster.
Choose a font that’s easy to read from far away.
This is especially important if you are creating your poster specifically for print.
Size your fonts between 24-48 points big. Basically, readers should be able to still read the poster (or at least the headers) from a couple of meters away.
I made this very succinct image for my article on creating posters for events and I’m happy to share it again here:
Export your poster in a high resolution.
Again, this is especially important if your poster is being created for print. Export in a 300 dpi resolution so that the image won’t come out blurry.
Use the PNG HD export option in Venngage.
Design your poster for a standard paper size.
Creating a long poster means you’ll be able to fit more steps and more information. And that’s fine for web distribution.
The problem is, if an employee wants to print out the poster to pin up in their workspace or to bring home with them, they’ll run into formatting problems.
If you want to eliminate this problem, then just design your poster to fit a standard A1-A5 printer paper.
5. Customize your design.
Once you’ve decided whether you’re creating your poster for web or for print, you can get into the fun part: the design!
Here are some tips to follow when creating your process posters.
Make the main idea in the title stand out.
Say your poster is about what new hires can expect throughout their first week on the job. Make the subject the title of the poster and make the font 3x larger than the rest of the title font to ensure that it stands out.
Use thematic images.
A simple hack to spruce up your poster design is to use thematic images as a background design.
Just make sure the image styles are consistent. For example, don’t use a few images that are in color and a few that are in black and white.
The same principle goes for icons. Don’t use a few icon with bold lines and a few icons with thin lines. Pick one style and keep it consistent throughout.
Take a look at this poster about how to safely defuse a situation where an employee is angry:
To create this effect in Venngage, simply overlay a square icon on top of the background image. Use the color picker to select the color you want and then adjust the opacity so that the square icon is semi-transparent.
Choose your color scheme deliberately.
Colors have an emotional impact on the reader. Consider the mood that you want your poster to convey when choosing a color scheme.
Light, bright colors are often perceived as energizing and youthful, while darker colors can lend to negative feelings. Pastel and muted shades are often considered soothing.
Think: do you want your employee to get stoked about a process? Do you want to soothe their worries? Do you want the feel of your poster to be bright and energetic, or cool and professional?
If you need some help deciding which colors to choose, give this article a read.
It will take some time to get the hang of designing posters but once you’ve personalized a few templates, you’ll be able to crank out designs in no time.
Remember, if you don’t know where to begin, start with a template.