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On the Job Training, Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1810

Essay

Introduction

This paper attempts to consolidate the advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training. To begin with, the paper gives a brief description of what the term ‘training’ refers to and what it entails. It then describes the types of training available before concentrating on a description of what on-the-job training refers to. Methods of on-the-job training are also described briefly. After this introduction, the paper highlights several advantages and then disadvantages of on-the-job training before concluding objectively on the given pros and cos.

Training

Training refers to the process of acquiring skills, knowledge and competences through practical skills or vocational training in particular competencies. In popular usage, training forms a central part of apprenticeships. Training formulates the content backbone of most training institutes such as technical colleges, polytechnics and industrial training schools.  Basic training is required for one to join a particular profession, occupation or trade (Jacobs & Jones, 1995).

Nonetheless, labor-market observers recognize that today[update] there is an increasing demand for an individual to pursue further and continuing training even after acquiring the initial qualifications. Continued training helps one to upgrade, maintain and update his or her skills during the working life. This is especially important in this age of phenomenal technological advancements. Such ongoing training has been regarded as professional development (Jacobs & Jones, 1995). The conception of training differs from many learning activities in that training only accrues with specific goals for every individual such as improving one’s capacity, capability and job performance.

For ongoing training while one has already qualified for a particular job and successfully joined the industry in which he or she is trained, or when one is hopeful to join the industry, there are two types of training viable.  This are on-the-job training where training is facilitated while doing the actual task one is training for and off-the-job training where one first halts the working life to exclusively pursue training ends (Walter, 2002).

On-the-Job Training

The term on-the-job training (OJT) has gained acceptance universally to refer to the training facilitated for an individual in the actual place of work. In other contexts, on-the-job training is also called hands-on training.   OJT is the type of training offered in the normal working environment that one is training for, using the equipment, tools, materials and or documents that the trainee will use once he or she is fully trained. OJT has over the years gained a reputation to be very effective when it comes to vocational work.

In most vocational engagements, job training works better when facilitated at the actual place of work. A new employee can easily learn the job of his desire by doing that job under instruction, while still earning a pay check (Walter, 2002). There are several training methods applicable for OJT including demonstration and instruction (actually showing a trainee how to do something) and coaching (establishing a close and intensive work relationship between the trainee and an experienced employee). Other methods of OJT include job rotation (taking a trainee through several jobs successively so as he or she can gain experience on a wide range of responsibilities) and projects (conducting a task that exposes the trainee to a particular multi-disciplinary activity relevant to the business).

Hands-on training has a host of advantages and several disadvantages, the disadvantages accruing mostly when the training is not planned and or executed properly.

Advantages of On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training has proved to be greatly beneficial to both the employee and the company.  To begin with, OJT is very cost-effective to the company since instead of setting capital for a separate staff training program, they combine training with the normal operations of the business. Te trainee is also productive under the supervision of an experienced employee. Work does not stop simply because the employee is in training. This way, the company not only saves on the training program, but it also amplifies production since the training venture is still part of the normal work shifts.

Further, the company needs not invest extra capital for training equipment that is typical and perhaps as expensive as the actual equipment sued for the business operations. The company uses the business equipment as the training equipment in OJT programs. For the employee, OJT is having his or her cake and eating it. Instead of going for training and receiving a marginal training allowance, the employee gets his actual pay, not reduced from the normal pay scale of one who is not in training (Jacobs & Jones, 1995).

Secondly, OJT is less disruptive to a business’ normal operations. If it were an off-the-job training, work would have to stop or be entrusted to an additional manpower. OJT ensures that the business remains operational even as the training proceeds.  Thirdly, by training the employee in the normal working environment on which he or she will be working, with the exact equipment that they are or need to be familiar with, training being conducted  by people from whom they can seek for help after later during their work. Even after training, the trainee might have questions or things not well understood (Rothwell and Kazanas, 1994). If he or she was trained by a senior employee who has the benefit of experience and skills, he or she will seek clarification even after the training is over.

More so, the very fact that the trainee is having a direct experience not typical in the job market that may not be to the standard the employer needs or approves of. In many instances, companies have to retrain employees they absorb from the market even when the same employees have been trained (Lawson, 2002). OJT thus nullifies the need to retrain employees to the standards expected since that is the same standard that the OJT employees are trained in.

OJT gives employees more confidence in dealing with the job description assigned them after training since it is the same description on which they are trained. This is exactly the opposite of employees who have received training elsewhere since they are not sure that the training received gave them adequate and relevant skills to what will be demanded of them in the job. Skills learnt elsewhere do not always translate into practical performance. But OJT gives a 100% skills that are translatable into the practical aspects of the job. This confidence is essential in boosting production.

Once training is done, OJT makes employees feel at ease when being supervised by the people who trained them. The training and the performance of the tasks assigned their position are done with people they are familiar with and not complete strangers. After external training courses, employees usually take time to adapt and interact productively in their job position (Rothwell & Kazanas, 1994). Another advantage of OJT is that it facilitates supervisors and managers to assess the progress and improvement over a time. This thus makes it very easier for the company management to identify any problem in any employee and to intervene and or resolve the problem in time.

The fact that the employees learn on the job, it tends to develop a sense of loyalty while working for a company that trained them to do what they do. The company is thus regarded as the parent and this reduces employee turnover. This is completely different from what happens when the employees are trained elsewhere, since they can always move on to the next company that needs their services. In most cases, OJT gives employees the personal drive, enthusiasm and initiative to seek more skills on the job beyond those prescribed during training. This helps them progress to higher standards of productivity.

The morale of employees, they productivity and ultimately their professionalism is always high in those organizations with a sound OJT program. Additionally, the training time accounted for during OJT is grossly incomparable to the time demands for off-site training. Even more, an OJT structure provides a model for evaluating employee progress on their performance. Finally, the training feedback for trainees is always immediate in OJT programs such as where trainees do not understand. This is incomparable to the no-feedback on training exhibited by off-site training (Rothwell & Kazanas, 1994).

Disadvantages of On-the-Job Training

OJT has several drawbacks, the major one being conflict of work time and training time for the experienced employees on whom the company’s production is dependent. Determining which is the right time for OJT programs and the right time for normal production is usually a tough nut. In most cases, the personnel entrusted with OJT programs have to sacrifice their time from other responsibilities to train and evaluate.

Besides that, OJT is sometimes disadvantageous in that it is usually very difficult to determine the right employee to conduct it, supervise trainees and evaluate the training program. A company has to choose the person among the staff who have both the skills and the knowledge and with the work responsibilities and equipment learners need to be trained in. companies never entrust trainees to supervisors and trainers who are sloppy in their work habits, inefficient and unreliable. The choice criteria sometimes create apathy between existing workers when one is chosen over the other (Walter, 2002).

The most outspoken disadvantage of OJT is that being good in a certain job does not make one a good teacher to the trainee since teaching/coaching is in itself a specialist skill. If the trainer is good in the job and has the knowledge and the skills but no teaching talent, he or she will not be a good trainer and may not be of help to the trainees.

If the employee entrusted with the OJT program is too busy in other responsibilities, he or she may not give trainees adequate time so as to teach them properly. This means that, that the OJT will offer substandard training. Finally, the trainer like any other employee has some bad habits that the employer may not like despite being good on the job. This trainer ends up passing these bad habits to the trainee.

Conclusion

Despite the stated cons of OJT, the advantages greatly exceed any possible delimiting factors of such programs when considered for both the viewpoint of the employee and that of the employee. To make OJT work without disadvantages, managers and supervisors must assume the responsibility to efficiently train, carefully qualify and excellently develop their employees.

As Lawson (2002) says, OJT is without question, one of the best job training methods available if carefully planned, meticulously organized and precisely conducted. It is a primary method necessary to any company that needs to broaden employee skills and thus increase productivity. It is especially relevant for jobs relatively fast and easy to learn, and jobs requiring expensive facilities and equipment.

References

Jacobs, R. & Jones, J. (1995). Structured On-the-Job Training: Unleashing Employee Expertise into the Workplace. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Lawson, K. (2002). New Employee Orientation Training. New York: ASTD.

Rothwell, J. & Kazanas, H. (1994). Improving On-the-Job Training. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Walter, D. (2002).Training on the Job. Alexandria: American Society for Training & Development.

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