7 Methods of On-The-Job Training

One of the most important things a manager or leader can do for their employee is to offer them on-the-job training. On-the-job training not only provides employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their individual jobs, it also gives them an idea of what the company culture is like, how employees are expected to interact with customers and with each other, and gain a better understanding of workplace needs and job expectations. Having on-site training that also caters specifically your company is also beneficial because more conventional means of business education (i.e. college or trade school) only focuses on universal practices, and not those specifically used by your company or organization.

So what are the most effective methods of employee training that you can use to develop and train your new employees? There are various ways you can train your employees, but some tend to work better than others, owing to factors like hands-on learning and real-world scenarios. Try these seven common methods of on-site training to ensure your employees have the skills, knowledge, discipline, and passion necessary for doing their jobs as proficiently and effectively as possible.

1. Use a mentoring program.

Assigning work mentors is a great way to ensure new employees receive adequate job training that will continue to help them as they progress in their careers. Mentors can offer new hires knowledge of the company and industry, as well as wisdom that has stemmed from the experience of working for the same company, or in the industry, for an extended amount of time. Mentors also provide new employees with a trusted safety net; they act as someone the employee can go to with questions or concerns without the fear of being judged, ridiculed, or disciplined.

2. Job shadowing.

Shadowing is another effective method for training new employees. Shadowing involves a new employee learning the company and business processes from an experienced employee that has already been working there for some time. This method gives new employees the opportunity to see how they are expected to handle various tasks, and exactly how to go about carrying out those responsibilities. It also offers up the opportunity for new hires to learn how to deal with strange or unusual requests or circumstances, and become more comfortable in working in their position.

3. Online training materials.

Most companies now offer training modules and videos on their company websites that employees can access on their first day of work. These modules usually cover company policies, job expectations, requirements, and tasks, as well as other online resources to help employees carry out their individual duties. For example, an insurance company would provide its employees with a quoting program so that they can accurately provide customers with information regarding their monthly rate and policy details.

4. In-house book clubs.

This might seem like a pretty unconventional idea, but it's actually highly effective in providing credible and ongoing training for your new and existing employees. Have your employees, or individual departments break off into teams and have them conduct weekly reading "club meetings" to discuss the material you all read over the course of the last week. These materials should be business or industry-oriented so as to provide you with useful knowledge and information pertaining to your job or company.

5. Lunch and Learn.

Also called brown bag lunches, these semi-informal training sessions offer great opportunities for employees to lightly interact with each other and discuss work or work-life related issues. More experienced employees can offer advice on how to handle certain situations you may be discussing, and the added fun of lunch helps employees build trusting and lasting relationships with each other. Leaders and managers can also use such occasions (even buying lunch for everyone) to highlight important company information like new products or promotions, projects, and/or company initiatives.

6. Transfers, promotions, and lateral moves.

Although a more indirect form of on-site training, promoting or transferring employees to various positions within the company is a useful way to prepare them for higher positions later in their careers. Promotions force employees to throw themselves into a totally new position and either work hard to find new success, or fall flat in the process. Transferring an employee to a new position within the same or completely separate department, or laterally moving them to a position equal to that of their current one, also exposes them to different facets of the business or industry, and opens up the possibility for a whole new career path for the employee.

7. Have employees train employees.

Many employers also offer their employees the chance for off-site training. In other words, they afford them the ability to attend a seminar or conference in order to acquire new knowledge and skills that they can then come back and teach to their fellow employees. This not only helps employees become competent and knowledgeable professionals, it also offers them the chance to gain experience teaching and training others to perform well in their own careers.