Companies that provide on-the-job training are setting themselves up for long-term success. Labor shortages are projected to affect nearly all industries for the next 10 years. You can’t predict the future (no one expected a pandemic or its lasting impact) but offering on-the-job training when recruiting or to upskill seasoned employees will help secure a strong workforce that can take on new challenges.
Keep in mind the type of training you offer matters. According to Josh Bersin, companies need to offer their employees a wide range of development opportunities. Don’t rely on just one or even two of these job training methods. Instead, investigate offering these four types of on-the-job training.
Coaching or One-on-One Training
Coaching involves one experienced employee providing advice and/or guidance to another about a specific position, skill or even their career. While coaching is a type of one-on-one training, it isn’t the same as mentoring. According to SHRM, the difference is in the level of guidance. Mentoring is usually focused on career development, where coaching is more personalized to the task at hand. SHRM also notes coaching is not counseling, teaching or used as part of a progressive discipline system. It is all about guiding the coached employee from one level of competency to another.
Why Use Coaching?
It has been found that coaching employees can bring tremendous value to organizations. According to a survey from the International Coach Federation and the Human Capital Institute, a strong coaching culture is linked to better talent and business outcomes in many areas.
- Customer satisfaction
- Attracting talent
- Shareholder value
- Labor productivity
- Large-scale strategic change
When to Use Coaching
Coaching can be used for all levels of development from upskilling executives to newly recruited entry level employees.
- Executive coaching. Executive leadership coaching is used to strengthen leaders and help them make key transitions. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the coach may help the executive understand and use information from assessments, create and work through a development plan and address specific business and interpersonal challenges.
- Team coaching. Team coaching works at every level and helps high-performing employees work together. Team coaching can occur in groups, at a retreat for example, or within the normal work environment.
- Entry-level coaching. Coaching works for entry-level employees as well, although the guidance will need to be more specific than you would offer your executives or teams. Remember to put the employee at ease, evaluate their learning, provide feedback and reward them for participating.
If coaching is all about tasks, mentoring is about building relationships. A mentor can offer an employee technical training and position support along with emotional advice. According to Robert Half, the emotional support aspect of mentoring helps develop bonds, especially during onboarding, which contribute to building a cohesive team. Half further explains that a strong mentoring program has the capacity to build an organization that feels supported professionally and connected personally.
Some Employees Prefer Mentors
Workplace trends have shown Millennial employees prefer, and possibly even demand, mentorships over other types of training. Millennials want to meet new people, learn new skills and find deeper meaning in their work and they’ll move on if they don’t get it. A Deloitte survey found 71% of Millennials will leave a position within two years if they feel their skills aren’t being developed. As The StartUp pointed out, Millennials aren’t lazy or narcissistic, they simply have more uncertainty about the future. Pairing them with a mentor helps eliminate uncertainty and see how their current role fits a plan for their career.
How to Create Mentor/Mentee Partnerships
Mentorships work best when the mentors and mentees are partnered appropriately. Robert Half suggests partnerships should be based on a combination of personality type, skill, role and career journey and aspirations. Mentor Resources suggests you ask participants to fill out precise profiles and surveys – 20 questions that get to the point but gather the information you need to make a good mentor/mentee match. Make sure you ask mentees about their mentor preferences. Some mentees might be looking to develop skills while others want to be mentored by someone with tenure.
Don’t neglect regular catch-ups to monitor progress. Both in-person and online reviews make sure the mentor/mentee relationship is positive and productive.
Job rotation works as its name implies. New recruits are moved between different roles in your organization, offering them broader experience and training in a variety of skills. According to Robert Half, job rotation allows organizations to show new recruits what each team is responsible for and who the best points of contact are for each. A construction company, for example, might use job rotation to train a new laborer on various building tasks: masonry, roofing, carpentry and siding.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Rotation
Job rotation helps develop multiple skills in workers but also allows them to meet employees from several different areas or departments, encouraging relationships.
For employers, job rotation training creates a well-rounded employee who can do a variety of jobs. This type of flexibility means employers are never left scrambling if one employee quits because a handful of others can do the job. Job rotation can also provide big benefits during orientation. Giving new employees or graduates the option to learn several jobs might uncover hidden talents, according to Digital HRTech.
For employees, the option to try different roles can increase motivation by offering a change in scenery and responsibilities. This increased satisfaction may improve retention rates.
Downsides to job rotation can include a prolonged training schedule due to the number of positions new employees must learn. This means employees won’t get up to speed as quickly, which could lead to inefficiencies. Job rotation might also lead to confusion. If a new employee gets trained on three or four positions, they might be confused as to what their priorities should be. Furthermore, you may have an employee who finds a position they love during training, only to be rotated out. That employee could easily get frustrated if they’re not moved back, prompting them to quit.
Computer or Online-Based Training Modules
Online training modules allow employees to access multiple types of training materials from anywhere on a flexible schedule. Organizations can upload custom content from virtually led courses to on-the-job training. Online training’s biggest benefits include the ability to train when convenient and the ease of documenting completions. This can be useful if your organization must comply with training requirements such as those outlined by OSHA or the sexual harassment training mandated in some states.
Online training is more necessary now than ever with the expanding remote workforce. By 2025, 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month. Not only that, the amount of remote workers is estimated to double this year alone. Having an online training option means every single employee, no matter where they’re located, will be able to complete the necessary training and access content that could help develop their skills and further their careers.
Online training complements other on-the-job training methods—coaching, mentoring and job training—by letting managers track and report on progress.
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