An important part of hiring new staff is onboarding and training new staff - a process that requires both time and resources.
A worthwhile solution to consider is on-the-job training (OJT), which offers new employees a chance to develop their knowledge of the role through hands-on experience and working closely with existing staff.
On-the-job training is also an excellent way to immerse new recruits with your company culture, fast-track their networking within the organisation, and embed them with your values and practices.
If executed well, on-the-job training can help to ensure new employees are onboarded successfully, and have a lasting, positive impact on your company and its reputation.
Here are four effective OJT methods to implement with your next recruit:
1. Coaching or one-on-one training
Coaching is a positive way to train your new recruits. It is role-specific and seeks to comprehensively train new employees on the duties of their role. It will also highlight what is required of them to work efficiently and successfully in the team and wider business.
The coach can 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 recruit’s knowledge and practice, improving confidence and competence.
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 (physical or digital) 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.
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. Your new recruit can then use this as a manual and guide, referring back to it throughout the onboarding process. 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, during coaching and/or mentoring.
4. Job rotation
Job rotation is the practice of moving a new recruit between different roles in your organisation. This can help to give them broader experience and train them in a variety of skills. This approach will improve your new recruit’s knowledge of the work each team is responsible for on a daily basis. It will also help them to understand 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 critical that your on-the-job training techniques include continuous education elements. This can ensure your staff feel there is an opportunity to grow at your business, which can increase the capacity for retention.
Offering a combination of on-the-job training techniques is also a useful strategy, as it acknowledges that people learn in different ways. It also helps to avoid fatigue in your new recruit, who undoubtedly have much to take in.