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Improve the odds for on-the-job training

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Whether you take responsibility for on-the-job training, or hand it over to the most senior employee, or trust every team member with training, you need to make sure you're all well-prepared to support efficient and effective learning. Here's a step-by-step approach you and your employees can use to become topflight trainers:

Analyze the trainee. Find out about the trainee's background. If the trainee is a new employee, determine if the individual has worked in your type of organization before and has any transferable skills. Find out from past supervisors or peers, if possible, how the trainee might learn best.

Establish training objectives. Determine a specific goal for the training — such as performing a certain task, using the available tools and technology, within a certain time frame and with a defined level of quality or accuracy. The more precisely you can define training objectives, the more efficiently you can focus your time and the trainee's attention on what you really need.

Prepare the trainee. Give an overall picture of the job task — how it fits into the organization, who's responsible for the procedure, who's affected by it. Explain the route the work takes to reach the trainee's desk, and where it goes after the trainee is finished with it. It may help to bring other team members into this discussion.

Explain the task. Talk through the actual written procedures, step by step, without neglecting elements that seem trivial or self-explanatory. For example, if the task involves data processing, explain that the first step is to log on to the computer, then to enter the security code, and so on through completion.

Show how the task is done. In this step, actually perform the task with the trainee watching. Then let the trainee try it. The trainer's job is to note places where they seem confident and where they seem confused — but not to interrupt unless absolutely necessary.

Review performance. Finally, give immediate constructive feedback about the trainee's trial run. The trainees then should get chances, as needed, to practice their new skills before jumping right into actual assignments and deadlines.

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