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Bob Gourley

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The Ten Best Ways to do On-The-Job Training

There are a variety of different styles of job training, but typically the most effective training happens when employees are actually at work. Employee development is important for a number of different reasons, and on-the-job training can provide unparalleled opportunities for employee growth, job development, and more. But why is on-the-job training so valuable, and what is the best way to do it?

What Are the Benefits of On-the-Job Training?

In most cases, employees view training as a “necessary evil.” It’s a day or more spent in a class or lecture that may or may not apply in the real-world. However, with on-the-job training and corporate training programs, employees are extended the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills without leaving the workplace. This type of training is realistic and can be tailored to fit the exact needs, norms, and culture of the employee’s everyday job. Whereas external job training seems disconnected from the reality of the job, on-the-job training couldn’t be more real. This type of training also makes it much easier to practice new skills, terminology, and procedures.

This training isn’t just beneficial to employees, though. On-the-job training provides a significant benefit to the employer or company. This experience facilitates more effective development of skills and can even cut down on the costs of external training classes.

Most Effective On-the-Job Training Opportunities

As you consider the most effective on-the-job training options for your employees and departments, keep these ten training opportunities in mind. You’ll likely save money, and you’ll provide your employees with a more effective, appropriate training experience.

1. Mentoring

Mentoring is a training opportunity that serves dual purposes. It benefits the new or less-experienced employee, the individual doing the mentoring, and the organization as a whole. In this method of training, an employee of lesser experience with the company is paired with a senior employee who has more experience and greater expertise. The opportunity provides a forum for job training and leadership training that facilitates the exchange of experience, skills, and wisdom from one employee to the other.

2. In-House Training Seminars

This type of training is very similar to external training in that it often involves bringing in a presenter to address a certain topic; however, the training can be conducted by an internal employee as well. In any case, the information presented can be tailored specifically to your employees in their everyday work environment, so it is relevant and applicable.

3. Book Club

A book club is another great way to initiate in-house training. In most cases, this form of employee training is considered voluntary, but it can be instituted as a part of a weekly meeting or discussion. Ideally, the group of employees read the selected book and then meet on a regular basis to discuss and apply their new knowledge. This is one of the easiest and least expensive types of training available.

4. Transfer

A transfer is an effective way to broaden an employee’s skillset. It can also help an employee establish a career path depending on the timing and design of the company. A transfer involves moving an employee to a different department or to a new job in the current department. This experience allows an employee to view the company on a wider scale and learn the nuances of the different sectors of the business, which can be an enlightening job training experience.

5. Lunch and Learns

Lunch and learns, also known as brown bag lunches, are a great opportunity for on-the-job training. These training experiences are designed to be informal and can be used to spotlight projects or new initiatives in the company. You can even utilize these training times to help cultivate important work-life skills in your employees. These training sessions are typically very discussion-based and, obviously, involve a lunch provided by you, the employer.

6. Coaching

Coaching is a great delivery mechanism for on-the-job training. This type of training involves a boss, manager, or another skilled employee providing specific and tailored feedback to an employee to help him or her develop new skills. This training can be specifically tailored to deliver the greatest impact for the employee and the company.

7. Job Shadowing

Shadowing provides an employee the opportunity to observe another employee for a short period. This experience provides unique insight into the inner workings of the company and can help different departments work together more effectively.

8. Virtual Training

There are all sorts of virtual training options available – webinars, e-learning, virtual forums, video training courses, and more. These training options are great for providing training to as many employees as you need without having the expense and time lost due to travel. These training options are also effective for streamlining your employee onboarding process.

9. Employee-Led Training

Using your employees to complete training seminars is another great way to take advantage of the skills and resources you have available. Whether you’ve sent the employee to a seminar previously or he or she has simply developed a valuable skillset, allow the employee to present and train others in the work environment for an effective training experience for everyone.

10. Promotion

Although seemingly unconventional, a promotion is a good way to encourage an employee to develop his or her skills. The employee will either rise to the challenge and learn the new skills necessary for the job or demonstrate that he or she is not ready for that type of responsibility. Just be sure to provide appropriate coaching and mentoring to make the experience positive.

On-the-job training delivers growth opportunities that are realistic, unique, and applicable. Whatever form it takes, in-house training is generally the most effective and beneficial for everyone involved.


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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com