- On-the-job training is a professional development approach that leverages a department's existing talent, resources and knowledge to train employees at work.
- OJT can entail a combination of structured or unstructured programming, and standalone learning or blended learning depending on an employee's skillset.
- The ADDIE process is an effective was to implement an OJT program from scratch.
What is meant by on the job training?
On-the-job training is when employees receive professional development in their work environment. This learn-as-you-go approach equips new employees with the tools, documents and knowledge they need to succeed in their role.
OJT can also take place virtually by providing remote workers with access to the same resources and materials, and connecting them to members of the company for specific insight.
What is the off the job training?
Off-the-job-training occurs outside of work, usually involving employees to listen to lectures, attend conferences or participate in workshops or other instructional activities.
Types of on the job training
New employees may complete on-the-job training in varying degrees based on their needs or the structures in place by the company. We listed some of the most common types below:
Structured vs. unstructured OJT
Structured OJT is when an experienced employee follows a standardized checklist of tasks to trains new hires. Steps may be detailed by who will supervise each task, desired goals to reach throughout the training and a timeline of when each task should be completed.
Unstructured OJT is an informal learning approach that allows new hires to shadow an experienced employee over a certain period of time. New employees receiving on the job training without structure can gain the professional development they find necessary based on their strengths and weaknesses
Standalone OJT vs. blended learning
For new employees who are already have some experience in the role or field, standalone OJT is a hands-on approach that immediately allows them to roll up their sleeves and continue learning through practice.
Blending learning is similar in that employees can look forward to hands-on learning, but their training will also include a blend of videos, written text and possible courses or events.
On-the-job training examples
OJT looks different across different roles and industries, but some of the most common examples include:
- Completing an online course or certification
- Shadowing a call or conversation before making your own
- Getting acquainted with the company's business outlook by studying a series of documents
- Observing interactions between experienced employees in your role and other team members, clients or customers
- Completing a subtask for a larger internal project
- Scheduling informational interviews with different members of your team
For remote workers, on-the-job training may lean heavily on virtual software or learning activities, and could look like any of the following:
- Researching information to complete an internal task
- Collaborating with members across the company through video conference
- Completing online questionnaires after studying company documents
- Watching videos of experienced professionals completing similar responsibilities to your own
- Taking notes on webinars, courses or other virtual meetings
- Checking in with your manager on a regular basis via video call or a shared document
On-the-job training benefits
OJT comes with a host of benefits for employers and employees. We've highlighted the best ones below:
1. You get paid to learn.
With OJT, you can gain the skills, education and resources you need to succeed in your role after your start date, meaning you'll get compensated for your time and practice.
2. You'll build connections right away.
As part of an OJT program, you may be paired with other employees at your job to help you complete certain tasks, so you'll start making connections as soon as you walk in.
3. Improved experience and retention.
The opportunity to learn as you go will help you memorize your new knowledge in a way that's applicable to your particular company. This will not only improve your performance when you are evaluated after the training is complete, but it could also improve your satisfaction as you will feel more confident or capable of completing tasks satisfactorily.
4. Increased hiring.
When OJT is offered, companies with a high number of open roles can source candidates who are willing to learn from a greater pool of talent because certain "qualifications" can be learned over a period of time. This need is especially applicable now because many employees are being laid off
due to the economic interruption of the COVID crisis, and some others are aggressively looking to fill open roles with capable candidates.
How to develop an OJT program
The ADDIE process — short for analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation — is the backbone of every effective OJT program. If you'd like to start your own program from scratch, take the following steps:
1. Analyze: Identify what your new employees would need to know in order to successfully complete their job duties. This could include examining the job specifications, understanding the needs of the team and anticipating what employees need to be trained on.
2. Design: Plan what the program would look like from the format to the materials needed to the training topics that will be offered. This is also where you identify which employees will help facilitate certain parts of the training program and create a timeline for the program.
3. Develop: Gather internal and external resources, establish methods and source on-boarding materials like the company's handbook. Also, create a schedule for the program if you did not do so I the design stage, and define the employee's goals throughout the program.
Once the OJT begins, have new hires take notes or check in with their managers regularly to gauge effectiveness. Open communication
is extremely important in this stage because employees should be able to demonstrate their progress as they complete the program; regular conversations will allow managers to refine the program to better fit the employee's needs.
5. Evaluate: At the end of the program, review the efficiency of the OJT and get feedback from all parties involved to improve the design moving forward.
Stephanie Nieves is the SEO & Editorial Associate on the Fairygodboss team. Her words can also be found on Medium, PayScale and The Muse.