Organizations use on-the-job training to help their employees acquire new competencies and skills necessary for them to succeed in their work. This training strategy is particularly beneficial for companies looking to upskill and reskill employees to stay informed, engaged, and proficient in the always-evolving workplace.
On-the-job training—commonly referred to as OJT—is a practical, hands-on method of teaching the skills and competencies required for an employee to perform in their role. This training method differs from more traditional, classroom-based training as it uses the employee’s actual work environment to teach them the knowledge they will need for the job.
Examples of on-the-job training could be simply having a new employee shadow a seasoned technician as they perform service maintenance, rather than just reading about the service protocols in a manual. Or having a new hire practice sales scripts with another colleague rather than taking a course on it alone.
Administering an on-the-job training approach has become more popular in modern, device-agile times as it allows employees to gain experience that directly relates to their working situations, meaning less time is lost on irrelevant training and more competencies are gained that specifically benefit the work they perform daily.
“On-the-job training uses the existing workplace tools, machines, documents, equipment, and knowledge to teach an employee how to effectively do their job. Consequently, no stand-ins exist that will require an employee to make the training transfer to the workplace.” – The Balance Careers
Having an effective OJT structure can not only prepare new hires to better perform in their roles but can also help seasoned employees continuously gain new skills required for the workplace.
Here are a few other notable benefits of an on-the-job training approach:
- Faster onboarding and new hire training with real experience
- Quicker adaptation to a new job
- Focused, relevant, and inclusive training for various learning styles
- Improved retention of employees through valued training opportunities
- Better team building with increased sociality and collaboration
- Agile democratization of learning and recognition of subject-matter experts (SMEs)
- Enhanced ROI with more cost-effective training opportunities
Upskilling and reskilling are two concepts that can be implemented into an organization’s development strategy through on-the-job training. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, the intentions and results of the approaches can differ significantly.
Upskilling is a type of training that offers employees new skills, or enhances the skills they already have, to improve in their current role or position. This type of training is best applied to employees that require new knowledge or more advanced expertise to continue performing in their role at a higher level.
Upskilling is a great option for organizations who want to:
- Invest in their current employees’ personal and professional development
- Promote from within, boosting retention and saving on hiring costs associated with bringing in a new employee
- Show employees that they are valued and the company is dedicated to their growth
Reskilling is a type of training that offers employees new skills or enhances the skills to fill a different role than their current job. This type of training is often provided to employees that require new knowledge or experience to prepare them to take on a new position within the company.
Reskilling is a productive practice for organizations who want to:
- Reassign employees to fill roles that have become critical to business productivity
- Create new roles within the company and explore how they can fit within the current structure
- Show employees that they are valued and trusted with taking on a new position
Both learning approaches of upskilling and reskilling can be strategically implemented into your on-the-job training structure through career pathing. Career pathing is a way for organizations to set a specific “path” for an employee’s career development.
This type of organized development plan can help build employee competencies in a structured way, allowing them to progress to different professional levels and grades. This is especially important in, for example, government agencies and similar industries where higher skills equal higher benefits and increased contract possibilities.
Offering career pathing within your company can allow you to:
- Stay future-focused by identifying the current skills of your workforce and planning the development of your employees to meet future demands.
- Encourage talent mobility by creating a learning culture that is focused on ongoing development and growth.
- Discover hidden skills by observing the expertise of your employees to identify the potential for subject-matter experts (SMEs) to emerge and for democratized learning to take place.
One of the best tools to implement for developing and administering on-the-job training is an LMS or digital learning solution.
As learning management platforms combine the tools needed to create, deliver, track, and analyze company training, they are incredibly helpful systems to use when upskilling and reskilling your workforce, especially those working remotely and in hybrid environments.
Organizations use learning management solutions to:
- Provide structured career mapping and learning paths with competency management tools
- Automate the learning process from onboarding to monthly check-ins of policies
- Have open knowledge-sharing sessions through virtual meetings and brainstorms
- Collect feedback on upskilling and reskilling efforts to improve overall processes
- Identify SMEs to help create and lead training
- Provide training on-the-go for firstline workers to learn while on-site
- Offer industry courses and certificates from outside the organization and promote external development opportunities
By incorporating an on-the-job training style, organizations can enhance their upskilling and reskilling efforts, leading to improved employee engagement, retention, and job performance.
A tool such as a learning platform can aid in this process, by giving companies the necessary environment to create, deliver, and track their training, all in one streamlined platform.
To learn more about how a learning solution like LMS365—the only learning platform built into the Microsoft 365 suite—can support your companies’ upskilling, reskilling and on-the-job training goals, you can reach out to one of our learning specialists to book a demo of our solution.