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What Are Some Typical On-The-Job Training Methods?

Person wearing a headset and using a computer in an office setting

What Are Some Typical On-The-Job Training Methods?

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There are many different types of corporate training around, and each has its own unique set of benefits. From the day staff are inducted into your business to the day they leave, you should ideally be offering a range of different learning options. From e-learning to facilitated training courses, it’s always a good idea to mix things up and offer variety. That’s how you can appeal to everybody’s different learning styles.

However, one of the most common, and in many ways the easiest to implement, is on-the-job training. Now, on-the-job training doesn’t mean just throwing your employees in at the deep end to see if they sink or swim. Rather, it should be a planned process whereby they’re given a range of opportunities to develop their skills and even learn new ones.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the different types of on-the-job training that you can offer to your staff members, and also some of the benefits.

Induction Training

The first type of training that any employee should be given is induction training. Depending on the role, they may be required to complete certain other training programs that could be more facilitated. However, a lot of the early learning can be done on-the-job.

In many ways, induction training might encompass a range of the other types of training we’ll discuss, such as job shadowing, mentoring, coaching and more. One of the ways that successful companies handle induction training is to assign each new staff member to an existing employee. In this way, the experienced staff member is responsible for helping the new employee through each day. They may listen in on phone calls to provide immediate post-call feedback. They may direct them through daily tasks and help them access the information they need.

Ultimately, induction training is perhaps the most important of all on-the-job training, as it can significantly impact how productive and successful your new staff members become.

Coaching

Coaching is another popular type of on-the-job training that most businesses use. The great thing about coaching is that it’s regular and planned. Whether you have weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly coaching and performance meetings, it’s a scheduled opportunity to get away from the desk and discuss performance, concerns and seek help.

Coaching sessions can be structured in a number of ways, and it really depends on the capabilities of the employee and the type of work they do. In a very statistics-based role, a coaching session might involve going through last month’s numbers to ensure to identify areas the employee may need assistance with. In other roles, it may be more of an informal chat, but the result is the same. In all cases, it’s about speaking to staff members, identifying any concerns, and implementing the help they need.

Mentoring

Many companies offer mentorship programs that are quite structured. In some ways, it can look a lot like coaching, however there is more emphasis on the employee’s needs rather than the employee’s performance. In other companies, mentoring is less formal, with employees invited to seek out their own mentors. It could be someone they look up to, or even someone in a role that they hope to one day obtain for themselves.

Mentoring can be just as much about personal development as it is about professional development. In most circumstances, mentoring will involve regular catchups where employees can discuss their careers and seek advice from someone more senior than themselves.

Online Training Modules

While technically this falls slightly outside of the ‘on-the-job’ training box, because it may often involve external course content, online training is a great way for employees to learn while at work. Unlike traditional classroom-based training courses, online modules can be completed easily from wherever the employee is working. Courses can vary in content, from internally-produced training to longer forms of study like diplomas.

Online training is also extremely beneficial because of how accessible it is. In modern workforces where many people work from home or remotely, it’s an easy way to give people the training they need without the common problems associated with freeing everyone up for classroom training. Staff can complete online modules on work time, so in that sense, it can still be considered on-the-job training.

Job Rotation

Another popular form of on-the-job training takes inspiration from the way that some companies structure their graduate programs or apprenticeships. However, you don’t need to be completing a formal training program to get the benefits of job rotation.

If your company has many different work areas, many staff benefit from spending a certain amount of time working in each. Ideally, they will rotate through several different roles, learning about how different areas work and also the relationship between different roles and how they come together to make the company function as a whole. It’s a great way to give people a ‘big picture’ view of the work environment.

In addition, they learn a wide range of valuable skills, meet and work alongside a large group of the workforce, and the workforce becomes more agile as a result. While they may settle on one area of speciality at the end of the job rotation, they will have a lot of different skills to take with them.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is similar to job rotation in the sense that it gives an employee a level of exposure to a different position. Job shadowing, though, is usually more targeted towards one particular job. For example, junior marketing employees may spend some time each week working alongside a marketing professional.

This gives the employee some insight into the pressures of a more senior role, but it also helps them to develop their own skills quickly. Job shadowing is a particularly good option for those who have a passion for career advancement. From the company’s point of view, it helps strengthen the workforce and build a solid succession plan, because job shadowing often results in someone being able to step into a more senior role if somebody retires or leaves the organisation.

Acting Positions

Offering people the chance to act in more senior positions is another way to promote career advancement in your organisation. In a lot of ways, it’s the next step up from job shadowing. This method of on-the-job training can be used when people go on leave for a certain amount of time. Rather than juggling all of that person’s tasks, you can temporarily promote someone to fill that role.

Again, this is excellent for promoting a culture where career advancement is possible, and it also sets the business up well for succession planning. In addition, you get to see how people perform when given more responsibility, and you may discover that some staff members have a range of skills you weren’t previously aware of.

Special Projects

Getting people involved in special projects is another way to build their skills and even help them develop new ones. The practise involves setting up certain projects that benefit the business in some way, and assigning a small group of people to work on those projects. Ideally, the projects are closely related to the assigned staff members’ regular roles, but still gives them a sense of heightened responsibility.

Participants can learn new problem-solving skills, deal with different stakeholders, and perform roles slightly different to their daily jobs. It’s a great way to help people to learn while also having them complete important work for the business.

The Benefits Of On-The-Job Training

There are several benefits to on-the-job training, including:

  • A more agile workforce
  • Building a culture of learning
  • Excellent for succession planning
  • Improves staff engagement and loyalty
  • Promotes career advancement
  • Staff develop skills while in real work situations
  • Well-trained staff are more productive

If your business could benefit from an on-the-job training overhaul, try implementing some of the business training ideas above. Your staff will love it, and productivity should increase as a result.

Featured Image: Person wearing a headset and using a computer in an office setting supplied by the author from Shutterstock
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