Posted by Andrew Brushfield on 17 January 2017
On the job training (OJT) offers employees a chance to use a range of tools, resources, existing staff and methods to better understand their role, and perform their duties effectively. It’s also an excellent way to immerse new recruits in your culture and people, fast tracking their networking in your organisation and embedding them in your values and practices.
Both employees and employers can benefit from on the job training, and if executed well, this process can have a lasting, positive impact on your company and its reputation. Here are four effective OJT methods to try out with your next recruit.
1. Coaching or one-on-one training
Coaching is a great method of targeted training for your new recruit. The coaching is role-specific and seeks to comprehensively train your new employee on the duties of their role, highlighting what is required of them to work efficiently and successfully in the team, and wider business. This person may be a manager, subject-matter expert, researcher or team member, but the central part of this on the job training technique is that it is conducted one-on-one, and seeks to increase the new recruits knowledge and practice, improving confidence and competency.
2. Mentoring programs
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial training technique in which a more senior staff member provides support and guidance to a new staff member. In addition to technical training and support, mentors also tend to provide emotional advice and support to new recruits. This is important for onboarding as it helps to effectively develop bonds between staff of varying departments, fostering cohesion throughout the business. A strong mentoring program has the capacity to build an organisation that feels truly supported professionally and connected personally.
It is however, important that mentors and mentees are partnered appropriately, according to a combination of personality type, skill, role and career journey and aspirations. It’s also essential that regular catch-ups and reviews are conducted to monitor progress, ensuring that the relationship is both positive and productive.
Strong mentor-mentee relationships can also inspire and encourage employees to apply for more senior roles within the organisation, as they better understand what their mentor does and how to progress internally. In this way, mentoring can promote employee retention and help to develop staff with extraordinary knowledge that extends far beyond their own role and team.
Have you also considered the opportunity of reverse mentoring?
3. Computer or online-based training modules
Systems like Mindflash, Velpic and Course Genius enable employers to create training modules, measure progression and test skills with assessment tasks like quizzes. These programs are an easy on the job training solution, as they are comprehensive and don’t require the presence or time of other staff. Most programs can be tailored specifically to the needs of your new recruit and the team in which they will work.
This OJT technique provides a detailed and documented way of learning that your new recruit can refer back to throughout the onboarding process, using as a manual or guide. It also provides you with tangible measurements of their learning and identifies areas that need to be further developed. Computer or online-based training modules complement other OJT methods and allow your new recruit to apply what they learned from staff in a different and more personalised setting.
4. Job rotation
Job rotation is the practice of moving a new recruit between different roles in your organisation to give them broader experience and train them in a variety of skills as part of their on the job training. This approach will improve your new recruit’s knowledge of the work each team is responsible for on a daily basis, and let them know who the best points of contact are for each team.
Like mentoring, job rotation can help develop strong ties between staff members from a range of departments, creating a confident and transparent group of employees who are excited about working collaboratively. It is also important that there are distinct tasks and goals in place, so that you and your new recruit can critically assess the benefits of this OJT method.
Keep the on the job training going
On the job training allows new recruits to learn about your workplace culture, organisational structure, preferred processes and the specifics of their role within the context of your organisation. It is however, critical that your on the job training techniques include continuous education elements, so that your staff feel there is opportunity to grow at your organisation, and you increase the capacity for retention. Recent Robert Half research found that in the tech and creative industries, “The top causes of employee turnover are limited opportunities for career growth and job boredom…” so it’s vital that your OJT program looks beyond initial onboarding.
Offering a combination of on the job training techniques is also a useful strategy, as it acknowledges that people learn in different ways, and helps avoid fatigue in your new recruit, who undoubtedly has much to take in.