Value of on the job training

How companies can make on-the-job training work effectively

I read a great article recently by Kevin Uphill, Chairman of Commercial Business Sales and Mergers & Acquisitions Consultancy, Avondale, about the positive impact of internal team training on the long-term, professional development of staff in the workplace. When companies enrol their staff in formal training and development programmes, they can subsequently reap a range of benefits, many of which can help them to form a strong network of capable, qualified replacements for senior members of staff, if needed. Having a consistently high level of quality staff results in a strong workforce which, in turn, contributes to steady and prolonged company growth. For me, that’s a ‘no brainer’!

 Whilst I think staff training in any form, be it in-house or from an external training company, is absolutely essential for a company’s long term growth and success, it’s also worth remembering that most companies will always have a number of tasks that they need to be completed in a set way. Whether that means following a manufacturing process, inputting records, or processing a refund, they have a defined way of doing things correctly. When consistency and quality are important, managers need to be able to train people ‘on-the-job’ to complete tasks consistently and to the right standard. So with this in mind, here are five top tips to make on-the-job-training work:

  1. Plan it Think about what you will cover in your training: why, when, where and how it will be delivered. Consider if there is a particular order in which things need to be covered, and the support materials you have to help you (such as SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) or any other procedures manuals). Remember that you don’t need to cover everything at once! A sequence of short, mini-training sessions over the course of a few days, with some practice time in between, will be far more effective than one long, super-detailed session.
  2. Prepare it Prepare your training environment and equipment. Make sure that you have a suitable place in which to deliver the training, as well as any relevant tools, documentation and equipment you will need. It’s also useful to prepare your trainer: give him or her proper notice and put their mind at rest by telling them about the training that they need to give to staff and why, and any points which they need to prepare beforehand.
  3. Break it down When you are very familiar with a task, it’s often tempting to go through it super quickly, and all at once. Don’t do that! When you are training someone about a topic that is new to them, you will need to break the information down and deliver it in smaller, bite-sized chunks. You also need to take things more slowly and be more deliberate in your approach and actions. This will make it far easier for the trainee to understand what you are doing, and why and how it’s being done.
  4. Demonstrate it In those small, logical, bite-sized chunks, you need to demonstrate the actions you expect your trainees to deliver. You can demonstrate during or after an explanation, depending on how appropriate it is for the skill you are training and the trainee’s preference. Remember to take the demonstration slowly, and refer to any procedures manuals or processes so that the trainee can visibly make the connection between the theory side of training and its application.
  5. Encourage them Make sure that you give a trainee plenty of encouragement and constructive feedback whilst they are learning and training. Remember this: what gets rewarded gets repeated! The trainee is likely to be quite self-conscious and highly aware of their mistakes in the early stages of their training. Trainers need to help a trainee to focus on the things that he or she does well, as well as correcting any mistakes they might make, in a supportive and constructive way. This will help to maintain a trainee’s motivation and their preparedness to keep on trying until they succeed.

Mark McCormack is Business Development Manager at Creativedge Training and Development Ltd. Creativedge is the UK’s leading 90 minute training specialist, and creates bespoke courses, programmes and events that are delivered by the innovative ‘rapid results’ training method. The company offers a variety of options for the delivery and ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) accreditation of its training, including virtual training sessions which can be attended by up to 100 participants. The company is headquartered in Milton Keynes.