Advantages and Disadvantages of On The Job Training (OJT)

Advantages and Disadvantages of On The Job Training (OJT)

When it comes to building a successful business, the importance of effective employee training cannot be overstated. A well-trained workforce propels business performance and shapes a company’s ability to innovate and adapt.

However, determining the best employee training method is a question many businesses struggle with.

This is where on the job training comes in – a hands-on approach that allows employees to develop skills in the actual work environment.

Interestingly, research reveals that an impressive 68% of employees favour learning and honing their skills on the job. It demonstrates a significant preference for this method. So, is on the job training the silver bullet for your business’s training needs?

In this blog, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of on the job training.

employees learning on the job

Advantages of On-the-Job Training (OJT)

1. Immediate Application

Immediate application of new skills stands as a compelling advantage of experiential training. Employees can instantly implement fresh knowledge and skills rather than waiting to apply what they’ve learned in a seminar or workshop. This fast approach boosts productivity while reinforcing the learning process, turning theory into practice in real-time. Ultimately, it reduces the time taken from identifying skill gaps to upskilling employees

2. Contextual Learning

Contextual learning elevates the value of on-the-job training further. Learning in a real work context provides practical training that cannot be replicated in classroom training. Employees get a chance to comprehend and navigate the unique dynamics, challenges, and nuances of their specific job roles. This makes the learning process more relevant and impactful.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Heavy expenses are often associated with formal external training/off-the-job training, including travel, accommodation, and course fees. On the other hand, On the job training can be considerably less costly.

On-the-job training reduces time spent away from the workplace to minimise productivity loss. This makes on-the-job training a financially sound approach to nurturing talent and skills within your organisation.

4. Improved Employee Performance

A surge in employee performance emerges as another salient advantage of on-the-job training. As workers gain hands-on experience and refine their skills in real-time, they tend to perform tasks more efficiently and productively.

Such hands-on learning expedites their understanding of tasks. It reduces errors and enhances the overall quality of work.

5. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Retention

When businesses invest time and resources in their employee’s professional development, it communicates a strong message of trust and commitment. This perception can significantly improve job satisfaction, as employees feel valued and invested in the organisation’s growth.

Consequently, it can lead to reduced staff turnover among existing employees. Contented employees are more likely to stay with the company longer. Thus, it fosters a stable, skilled, and positive work environment.

6. Practical Skill Building:

For deskless workers, such as those in construction, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing industries, practical training can be extremely beneficial. It allows these workers to learn practical, job-specific skills in real-life working environments. This type of training can be far more effective for such roles compared to traditional classroom-based learning because they often involve physical tasks or use of specific tools or equipment.

7. Enhanced Understanding of Work Environment:

Hands-on training provides deskless workers with an in-depth understanding of their work environment. This hands-on approach allows them to better navigate the unique safety protocols, procedures, and challenges of their specific job roles.

workplace training

Disadvantages of on-the-job Training

1. Dependent on the Quality of the Trainer

A notable disadvantage of on-the-job training lies in its dependence on the quality of the trainer and their skills. An employee’s learning trajectory can be significantly influenced by the skill set and competency of the individual assigned to train them.

A trainer with superior technical expertise may not necessarily possess the communication skills or patience required to impart knowledge effectively. Conversely, a person with excellent teaching abilities may lack depth in the practical aspects of the job. This potential variance underlines the need to select and prepare those chosen to lead on-the-job training carefully based on their trainer skillset.

2. Lack of Theory

A deficiency in theoretical understanding can arise from over-reliance on on-the-job training. This training method is often intensely practical and hands-on, focusing on tasks and responsibilities specific to a given role.

Consequently, it might not equip new employees with a solid theoretical framework to understand the broader context of their tasks. This lack of theory can hinder employees’ ability to adapt to new roles or understand complex problems outside of their routine duties.

3. Potential for Bad Habits

On-the-job training could also serve as a conduit for bad practices. If the trainer has developed poor work habits or shortcuts over time, these could be passed down to new employees.

Without a proper checks-and-balances system in place, such patterns can become institutionalised. It may reduce work quality and create a risk-prone work culture.

4. Disruption to Productivity

Another consideration when deploying on-the-job training is the potential disruption to productivity levels. Initially, as employees learn new skills, the pace of work can slow significantly, impacting timelines and overall productivity levels.

Companies should factor this into their planning and set realistic expectations for output during training.

5. Inconsistency in Training

The risk of inconsistency in training is a significant concern. When multiple trainers provide instruction, they might offer different approaches, insights, or even conflicting information. This variation could confuse trainees and compromise the uniformity and integrity of the training process, thereby diluting its effectiveness.

It’s important to balance the advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training and integrate them wisely into a broader training framework. It’ll help your business optimise the potential of this powerful learning tool.

Making the Most of on the job Training

Businesses can implement several strategies to maximise the benefits of on-the-job training and address its potential pitfalls. Here are some of them:

  1. Select and prepare trainers carefully: Effective trainers need expertise in their field and solid communication and teaching skills. Subject-matter experts are often the key to unlocking successful on-the-job training. But even experts might not know how to instruct. You should also provide training to ensure they have the necessary trainer skills to become better mentors and transfer knowledge more effectively.
  2. Supplement on-the-job training with a solid theoretical framework: E-learning platforms, workshops, and seminars can provide the broader context and theoretical understanding that in-service training may lack. For example, employee training platforms like Cloud Assess offer flexible and comprehensive training solutions that can blend seamlessly with your on-the-job training programmes.
  3. Implement a robust professional supervision and feedback system: This will avoid perpetuating bad practices. Regular evaluations can help identify unhealthy patterns that might have crept into the training process and promptly take corrective action.
  4. Planning and patience:  There might be an initial disruption to productivity during the training phase. The short-term slowdown will likely be compensated by increased productivity and efficiency as employees gain proficiency.
  5. Developing a standardised training plan: This will help outline the key skills and knowledge areas that need to be covered to ensure consistency in training. It often also includes a skill matrix which will keep track of any skill gaps. This plan can serve as a reference point for all trainers and help ensure uniformity in instruction and learning outcomes.

On-the-job training is an essential component of a comprehensive training strategy. However, it should not be viewed as a standalone solution.

You can integrate on-the-job training with other forms of learning to follow a balanced approach and provide a more rounded and effective training programme. In this way, your business can leverage the immediacy and context-rich benefits of on-the-job training while mitigating its potential disadvantages.

Final Thoughts on On the Job Training Advantages & Disadvantages

On-the-job training serves as a potent instrument in talent development. It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training to avoid unexpected surprises.

Businesses can shape a holistic learning ecosystem by blending it with other learning methods and smartly address potential challenges. This approach fosters employee development, enhances productivity, and paves the way for enduring success.

Cloud Assess can help make on-the-job training a seamless experience for your company, ensuring that you make the most out of the process. Let our demo team take you through the process or sign up for a free trial and see the benefits first-hand.

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