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August 13, 2020

Harnessing the Power of Employee-led, Structured On The Job Training

In a world that’s constantly changing, we all need to ensure that we’re fully prepared to address changing work environments and advances in the tools and technology that we use to carry out our jobs effectively.  

On the job training has many advantages and challenges the perception that the skills a company needs (and the needs of the individuals within it) always rest outside the organisation. While classroom based courses delivered by an external training organisation continue to have a valid place in a company’s training portfolio, employees will often be the experts in how to carry out specific tasks and procedures at the highest level.

Different techniques can be applied, from leading a quick and simple training session to multiple colleagues through to 1-2-1 task demonstrations and coaching over a period of months.

With this in mind, and with the right support in place, existing employees can be best placed to share their knowledge through structured on the job training programmes. There are significant advantages in taking this approach to training. The learner gets to benefit from tailor made support from an expert in the field, whilst it can also be hugely satisfying for the trainer as they also get the chance to broaden their skillset and feel more valued as a staff member. What’s more, it can also boost a company’s productivity levels and help to improve employees’ wellbeing.

Identifying the best training fit

As with any training intervention, on the job training needs to address an identified skills need. Whether it’s supporting a new recruit to learn how to undertake aspects of their new role through to upskilling existing employees; clear objectives and learning outcomes need to be established.

As training is tailored to the needs of the individual learner, this is also reflected in the delivery method. Different techniques can be applied, from leading a quick and simple training session to multiple colleagues through to 1-2-1 task demonstrations and coaching over a period of months.

Tips for passing on skills

Just because someone is great at doing their job doesn’t mean that leading training will come naturally. Establishing ground rules, as well as clear and consistent procedures is essential for any structured training carried out by current employees, to make sure they are supported throughout the process. Strong guidelines need to be developed, shared and understood, to ensure all training is carried out safely and in a way that meets the company’s values. 

Overseeing colleagues’ practical experience is a great way to reinforce rapid learning.

In addition to formal guidance, there are some key steps that employees should adopt when training others, including:

–   Making the time

Leading a training programme shouldn’t be at the detriment of the employee’s own work. The time taken to plan and deliver training should be factored into the employee’s schedule and workloads should be adjusted accordingly. Remember that in addition to any structured training, an employee may also be called upon for ad hoc support and questions which may impact on their day-to-day activity.

–   Building trust

Having gaps in knowledge can make employees feel vulnerable and something that they may be reticent to share with another colleague. Creating an environment of trust is therefore crucial, to create an open, honest and confidential space to share information and learn.

–   Encouraging questions

One of the greatest benefits of on the job training is the chance to get support tailored to an individual’s needs that is delivered on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. To make the most of this, encouraging learners to ask questions will enrich the learning experience, as well as highlight where additional support may be needed.

–   Keeping it real through practicing

While demonstrating the right way to carry out a task is incredibly valuable, one of the most effective ways of training is to learn by doing. Where and when it’s possible to do so, overseeing colleagues’ practical experience is a great way to reinforce rapid learning.

–   Getting feedback

Learning is never a one-way street. By getting feedback from colleagues, an employee who is leading a training programme can gain an insight into what works, and more importantly, where changes need to be made to improve the training experience for the future.

–   Identifying where there’s issues

However hard an employee might try, their training may not always work. It’s important that the employee leading the training can quickly identify if there are any issues, be confident in using their own judgment to address the situation, or know when and where to seek additional more formal advice and guidance.

Measuring success

As with all training interventions, it’s crucial that the success and impact of the training can be identified and measured. Success can be measured in numerous ways. For example, a learner’s performance can be tested during a training programme through quizzes and assessed on their ability to carry out practical exercises. Measuring long term impact can also be beneficial, from monitoring KPIs such as increases in productivity, improvements in error rates and quality of work. It’s also useful to evaluate the learner’s training satisfaction, such as the relevance and usefulness to their job, as this can significantly impact on performance and overall job satisfaction.

Future Visual’s remote collaboration platform VISIONxR™

How immersive tech can support peer-to-peer learning

Many businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of introducing immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality into their training programmes. These innovative tech advances can also support structured on the job training that is delivered by current employees.

Future Visual’s VISIONxR™ platform highlights how virtual reality can facilitate collaborative work based learning in a hands-on and practical way. As training takes place in a safe, but realistic and shared environment, colleagues can work together on practical exercises under the supervision of the employee who is leading the training. It’s a great way to share practical experiences, collectively review what works and what doesn’t, learn from mistakes and repeat until perfect!

Is on the job training the key to success?

A well planned on the job training programme that’s integrated into a company’s training and development portfolio can be a powerful tool to increase knowledge and skills, and motivate employees.  As great employees are often a company’s biggest asset, developing an environment of collaborative learning provides the foundations to build bonds and make businesses stronger.

To find out more about how Future Visual can help support your company’s on the job training programmes, visit www.futurevisual.com