How On-the-Job Training Brings You Value

Use Managers and Coworkers to Effectively Train Employees On-the-Job

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On-the-job training, also known as OJT, is teaching the skills, knowledge, and competencies that are needed for employees to perform a specific job within the workplace and work environment. Employees learn in an environment in which they will need to practice the knowledge and skills taught in the on-the-job training.

On-the-job training uses the regular or existing workplace tools, machines, documents, equipment, knowledge, and skills necessary for an employee to learn to effectively perform his or her job.

It occurs within the normal working environment that an employee experiences on the job. It may occur as the employee performs actual work, or it may occur elsewhere within the workplace using training rooms, training workstations, or training equipment.

The simple objective of OJT is to use the existing environment, tools, and skill training that are available in their workplace to train an employee to do their job—on the job.

Who Provides On-the-Job Training?

A coworker frequently supplies on-the-job training. The coworker qualification is that she can competently perform the job that he or she is teaching. But interpersonal skills, company policies, company requirements, leadership training, and more are also topics that Human Resources staff, managers or coworkers can show on-the-job or in the workplace.

An external provider occasionally performs OJT in the case of specialized equipment. In another example, a vendor might train employees in a marketing system that a group of marketing employees is adopting as their work procedures.

A vendor might educate the members of an HR team on the capabilities of an HRIS. The HR team then trains the rest of the employees about how to use the new system. This approach allows the trainers to reinforce their training as the employees apply the skills learned in training.

In another frequent use of a vendor for OJT, the vendor comes onsite and trains one or a few employees who are then expected to train all of the other employees performing a similar job. This is a common OJT model in activities such as Hi-Lo driving, computer software adoption, and the appropriate operation of any new equipment.

While the goal of OJT is often to teach basic workplace skills, it also instills aspects of the workplace culture and performance expectations in the new employee. OJT is also the approach organizations use to provide new employee onboarding information.

OJT is provided internally by both experienced coworkers and managers. 

Train Managers to Train

Definite advantages exist for your organization when you have developed the training capabilities of your managers. Teach managers to train and you will increase the effectiveness of your internal training.

Additionally, training, coaching, and mentoring become an expected and utilized part of the managers' jobs. Employees react positively when managers provide training, too. The employees believe they will have the opportunity to use the training; they react more positively to the expectations of the manager versus a trainer.

When they provide training, managers are able to articulate what they believe is important and to reinforce these ideas with employees. Employees are impressed that the training topic is so important that the manager takes the time to do the training.

Positive Experience With Management Training

At General Motors in the late 1980s, senior-level managers trained every employee in a corporate-wide change in operational and cultural strategy. The fact that senior managers provided the training made a huge impression on the employees attending the classes. They figured that to spend this much time and talent on training employees meant that the strategy change was seriously supported.

The senior leader used examples that illuminated both the GM of the time and the expected new direction in a way that an external trainer could never have done. He was also successful at communicating the why of the change in a way that promoted excitement and participation.

His knowledge and understanding of the GM culture allowed him to connect the training to the actual operation that employees lived in every day. This was powerful in reinforcing the work culture the company wanted to create.

Expecting managers to train employees is an effective on-the-job training strategy.

Train Employees to Train Coworkers

Definite advantages exist for your organization when you have developed the training capabilities of your employees. Teach employees to train and you will increase the effectiveness of your internal training.

Employees are familiar with the workings—both good and bad—of your internal organization. They are familiar with the goals, the culture or work environment, the company strengths, the company weaknesses, and they know the actual employees.

This gives employees an advantage over a trainer who has to learn about the culture, the company strengths, the company weaknesses, and at the same time, get to know the people.

Examples of Coworkers Training

In a medium-sized manufacturing company, the security specialist and the team leader of the safety and environmental committee provided training in security, emergency evacuation procedures, and safety to all staff. They also trained new employees during the new employee orientation.

In another company, a long-term sales representative trained all new sales employees about the sales Customer Relationship Management (CRM) computer programs, cold calling and prospecting, and how to take and process orders.

In the same company, a shipping employee trains, tests, and licenses all Hi-Lo drivers. Originally trained by outside firms, internal employees now train other employees. Their safety standards and accident rate have improved as a result and all drivers are now certified to drive Hi-Los.

On-the-job training is normally the most effective approach to training employees. Many of these training options emphasize the role of coworkers and managers in training fellow employees.

Here are your twelve best opportunities and methods for providing on-the-job training to employees.