In business, no two days are the same. Organizations continue to evolve, adopting new practices and setting new work goals. To help employees keep up the pace, think on their feet and deliver their best, many organizations resort to on-the-job training programs.
On-the-job training is a hands-on training technique that teaches employees the vocational skills required to excel in their job. Employees work together with a more experienced staff member under regular working conditions in the workplace. They learn the ins and outs of the job by observing their trainers and gain practical experience by performing assignments under supervision. The feedback received in the process helps employees become efficient and productive members of the organization.
However, every rose has its thorns. There are both advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training. Here we explore some of the merits and demerits of on-the-job training.
Advantages Of On-The-Job Training
Experts highlight the hands-on nature of on-the-job training as its highpoint. Employees know what’s expected of them and deliver accordingly. Let’s look at a few other advantages of on-the-job training:
On-the-job training offers a simplified learning experience where juniors learn by shadowing seniors. A new employee finds it much easier to execute a complex assignment once they’ve seen a senior work at it. They have the required project information at their fingertips and become well-equipped to deal with setbacks.
Cost-efficiency is one of the most important advantages of on-the-job training. A recent HR Onboard study showed that the average cost of onboarding a new employee can go up to US$40,000. On-the-job training helps organizations cut down on these costs. It’s easy to set up and use existing resources to achieve training goals. There’s no need to hire outside instructors or send new hires for expensive training programs.
On-the-job training integrates learning into everyday assignments. Employees get to put into practice the theoretical knowledge they gain each day from their seniors, rapidly picking up job-specific skills. This is one of the most significant merits of on-the-job training, where employees learn as they work and work as they learn.
Among the other merits of on-the-job training is its systematic approach. A structured on-the-job training program assesses training needs to set up a training schedule with assignments and targets. Employees get a clear picture of the step-by-step execution of a project. By working with experienced colleagues, they become well-versed with the organization’s methodology.
During on-the-job training, employees receive immediate feedback from their trainers after the execution of a task. This is a significant advantage because it allows employees to spot errors, identify their strengths and weaknesses and get a grasp on the right approaches and techniques. All of this results in confident, motivated employees.
From improving organizational productivity to promoting teamwork among employees, the advantages of on-the-job training are many. Studies show employees who are offered on-the-job training are 30% happier with their careers than those who receive no training.
Disadvantages Of On-The-Job Training
Despite its advantages, on-the-job training does have some shortcomings. Let’s explore a few disadvantages of on-the-job training:
Lack Of Proper Trainers
The lack of qualified trainers is one of the disadvantages of on-the-job training. The best employees of an organization don’t always prove to be the best trainers. Skilled trainers have excellent communication skills. They’re patient and ready to answer any off-the-track question their trainee might have. In the absence of such trainers, on-the-job training can be counterproductive, leading to confusion among new hires, lost time and derailed projects.
Risk Of Accidents
During on-the-job training, new hires undergo hands-on experience, handling new equipment, tools and machinery. This increases the risk of accidents because they don’t have the required skill and knowledge to operate certain equipment. To ensure a safe training process, especially in industries that deal with dangerous machinery, new recruits must be given sufficient safety information about the tools they use.
On-the-job training can sometimes be conducted hastily. Organizations often want the majority of their employees—including new hires—to contribute to everyday workload and rush through the training process. Without the solid foundation, they need to excel at their jobs, new employees are left confused and doubtful about their roles.
Possibility Of Errors
When new employees are made to perform complex tasks during on-the-job training, there remains a possibility of error. This is because such employees are still learning the ropes of the job and haven’t yet picked up all the required skills to excel in their role.
There are both merits and demerits of on-the-job training. However, organizations can minimize the disadvantages by rolling out a well-planned program with long-term goals and developing the training capacities of existing employees.
Recent studies show 10,000 baby boomers are retiring daily and millennials are expected to occupy 75% of the workforce by 2025. These stats highlight the importance of employee training in the days to come. Although there are both pros and cons of on-the-job training, it’s widely considered one of the most effective methods of training new recruits.
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