Training is necessary across all positions and for many different reasons. You’ll need to provide training to new hires during the onboarding process, but you’ll also need to deliver mandatory corporate training on topics like diversity in the workforce. One training-related area where many employers struggle is tracking on the job training, which can lead to critical problems within the business and reduced outcomes for employees.
Tracking on-the-job training is critical, but it can be hard to accomplish. After all, it doesn’t take place within your LMS the same way that other types of training do. Because it’s not digital, it becomes harder to keep tabs on what employees are learning, when, where, and how well they are retaining the information being taught. In this post, we’ll cover several critical tips to help ensure that you can accurately track OJT and maximize its value.
Know What’s Necessary
You cannot track OJT if you do not know what’s required. To ensure that your tracking capabilities are up to par, it’s important to take a deep dive into what training might be required for various positions within the organization. The key to this is an in-depth analysis of specific areas and answering a few critical questions. Those questions include:
- What do employees need to know? Here, you need to ensure that you are aware of what employees must know to perform a job role successfully. Often, doing so requires a combination of different skills and the ability to combine those skills to achieve desired outcomes.
- What do employees already know? It’s important to realize that all employees have some knowledge already, and it can be simpler to build on that than to try to start from scratch. It also helps empower and encourage employees – they feel like they are on more even footing and better equipped for the training.
- Who will provide the training? There are several different options when it comes to OJT delivery. Will you have other employees handle the training? Will it be a manager? Will you outsource your training to a professional trainer? Each method has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to know going in how you intend to work this.
- What do you need from employees? What’s the ultimate outcome of the training? What do you need to see from the employees being trained? The end goal should be directly related to the position in question and should include demonstrating skills that show mastery of the knowledge necessary to properly carry out position-related responsibilities.
- What do employees need to succeed? OJT can take many different forms, from quick introductions and walk-throughs to having an employee shadow another for one or more days. What will employees need in the form of training to succeed? Note that the answer to this question will vary from position to position, but may also vary from employee to employee based on how they learn best, the knowledge they already have, and other considerations. Every situation is unique, so be prepared to be flexible.
Build Out the Right Systems and Materials
It’s important to realize a few things about OJT. First, it occurs in more forms than you might assume. For instance, learning about company policies from the employee handbook can be considered OJT if it’s done on the clock, just as much as how to work a factory line or how to use a new inventory-tracking program.
What this means is that you’ll need a broad range of systems, tools, materials, and people in place to handle different on the job training needs. Each of those will need to be tied into your tracking efforts, as well. This is where accurate knowledge comes into play, along with a cloud-based Learning Management System capable of tracking OJT across multiple touchpoints. You will also need the right tools, systems, and materials, including:
- The LMS we touched on previously
- An up-to-date employee knowledge-base
- Company handbook
- Mentorship programs
- Formal training systems, such as employee- or manager-led training
It’s also important to realize that OJT is rarely a one-time event. Instead, it’s a sequence of events that occurs over an employee’s lifetime. Take professional CE as an example – these employees will need to complete a specified amount of training every year to stay current (and credentialed). The same thing applies to many other positions within your organization, not just to credentialed professionals with industry or government CE mandates.
Based on your assessment and the information above, each OJT effort should have a relevant outline that highlights the key factors involved. Have each section’s primary focus be the objective you want the employee to achieve before moving on to the next – this makes tracking training simpler, as you can assess progress and performance based on the most meaningful metrics (did the employee learn/master the key objective of that section?).
Your outlines don’t need to be created in great depth. Often, a broad outline with just the high points picked out is the best, as it allows flexibility in learning while providing at least some structure and guidance to help employees move forward. It also allows you to build in additional training elements within the overall plan based on the employee’s specific skills and knowledge to create a customized learning journey.
Get Employee Feedback
One of the most critical elements of tracking OJT training success is employee feedback. After all, if the employee doesn’t feel that they have mastered the knowledge, it really doesn’t matter what your other metrics are telling you. They are the ultimate judge of whether they’ve learned what they need to succeed.
Seek out employee feedback early and often. Also, don’t limit yourself to questions related to information mastery or an employee’s comfort level performing in their new role. Instead, seek information about how you can improve your OJT efforts, what the employee liked and didn’t like, and more. You can (and should) also obtain employee feedback in less direct ways, such as observing their performance and ability to apply the knowledge they’ve learned within their position.
Onward to Success
OJT is a critical solution that offers many benefits. However, tracking success is vital. Use the information we’ve discussed above, combined with a cloud-based LMS, to track on-the-job training and achieve greater success.