IATF 16949:2016 Clause 7.2.2 Competence — on-the-job training

On-the-job training is a form of training provided at the workplace. During the course of this process a trainee is given a hands-on experience of tools, techniques, machinery, software, materials, or equipment. This training is provided by the co-worker, training manager, or professional trainers. The motive of on-the-job training is to train the workers on a certain skill set, which they will use in day-to-day tasks. On-the-job training (OJT) is a type of job instruction that takes place directly at the worksite. The learner, who may be inexperienced, performs job tasks or observes them being performed by a more experienced worker in the same work area. This provides an opportunity for the learner to use real machines, equipment, tools, processes, and procedures while developing the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to perform their job role. It is important to note that OJT is not the same as job training that takes place in a classroom, via a webinar, e Learning courses, or in an academic setting. However, OJT can be included as part of a well-constructed, well-structured job training program that includes other types of job training.

Clause 7.2.2 Competence — On the Job training

Any person having a new or modified responsibilities affecting conformity to quality requirements, internal requirements, regulatory or legislative requirements must be provide which on-the-job training including the customer requirements training. Contract or agency personnel with similar responsibilities must also be provided with the on the job training. The level of detail required for on-the-job training has to be commensurate with the level of education the personnel possess and the complexity of the tasks they are required to perform for their daily work. Persons whose work can affect quality shall be informed about the consequences of nonconformity to customer requirements.

You must determine the scope and duration for effective on the job training for product related work. This training must be provided to all full-time as well as contract and agency personnel performing such work. They must also be informed of what nonconformities may arise and the consequence to the (internal and external) customer. Appropriate records must be kept of such training as well as training effectiveness. On-the-job training applies to all employees, with all levels of skill, in all fields, regardless of education. A good OJT program gives new workers hands-on experience to learn how the workplace functions and how their role and responsibilities fit in. It’s an essential process employees must go through to be able to successfully perform their job duties. There are two common types of on-the-job training: structured and unstructured. Unstructured OJT programs lack specific goals, plans, and objectives, and they’re often inefficient and ineffective. Structured OJT programs, on the other hand, have defined goals and outcomes, a list of necessary information and skills, and specific roles for the mentee, mentor, and OJT supervisor. Structured programs tend to be more effective but require more time, effort, and expense to set up. Other types of on-the-job training include apprenticeships, coaching, mentoring, and job rotation. Changes require on-the-job training, whether it’s a change in employees, promotions, or how you do business. Some of the most common changes that need some sort of on-the-job training include:

  • Change in technology.
  • Change in business practice. 
  • Change in company policies. 
  • Lots of new employee hires. 
  • Noticeable slow-down in productivity. 
  • Business is growing.
  • Current training was the bare minimum.

On the Job Training Methods

Coaching : In this method, the training is given by the senior employee or internal trainer to the new recruit. The trainee can solve their queries and do hands-on through the demonstration and instruction given by their seniors.
Mentoring : On-the-job training is given by manager or internal trainer, who are well known in their day-to-day tasks. The training is based on a one-to-one training method where the manager or the trainer is considered as a mentor who guides trainees in the situations of difficulty.
Structured Training : In this training method, the trainer designs the step by step training procedure for the trainee, that includes the job overview, instruction and demonstration for the skill needed in the job role. The trainee can ask doubts and clarify with their trainer and also the trainee can provide their feedback on how effective the program is from them.
Job Rotation : In this training method, the new recruits are shifted to other connected job roles, to make them well-versed in different job backgrounds. It helps them to learn new tools and technologies and can perform multiple tasks if needed. They can also make good networks with other people in the organization.
Understudy : In this method, the senior employee trains an assistant or subordinate to perform their tasks and duties in case the former vacates their position due to transfer, promotion, death, or retirement.

On-the-job trainingOff-the-job training
Training given at job location by the supervisor or professional trainers having good working experience in their fieldTraining is given outside the real job location, this training is basically given by an outsourced vendor  
Based on practical implementation with tools and technologies as per the company requirementsMostly based on theoretical implementation based on simulations, tests, and videos.
Takes less time and is inexpensive, as company supervisors, internal trainers, or co-workers personally train new employeesMore time taking and expensive as compared to on-the-job training, as companies need to hire external trainers

Benefits of OJT training
On-the-job training seems like it would mainly benefit employers. After all, well-trained and skilled employees mean increased productivity and growth. But there’s much more to it.

  1. On-the-job training is planned to fit the business: Each business is unique and has specific requirements—training employees on-the-job may help get business needs met more quickly.
  2. Happier, more loyal employees: When on-the-job training is continually updated and relevant, employees are likely to be more committed to growing their careers at your business. They are also likely to be happier and more excited about their work.
  3. Builds a pool of “promotable” employees: By providing on-the-job training to employees, you are creating a highly-skilled workforce in your business, as well as creating a mindset of “always learning.” This pays off big when you need to promote managers in the future. You have a loyal and skilled pool of employees to choose from who already know your business.
  4. On-the job-training attracts employees during hiring: If your company exists in a tight job market or in an industry where it is difficult to attract (and retain) good employees, on-the-job training can help. It’s an attractive benefit for employees who want to better themselves, and it indicates the possibility of promotion.

How to create an on-the-job training programs in 5 steps

Creating a training program is not difficult as long as you break it down into logical steps. The ADDIE method is particularly useful when starting a training program from scratch:

  • Analysis: Assess what your employees need to know in order to successfully do their jobs.
  • Design: Determine what your on-the-job training program will look like.
  • Development: Establish methods, resources, and materials that will be in your training program.
  • Implementation: Decide who, when, and how you will implement your training program.
  • Evaluation: Get feedback so you can know if your training met everyone’s needs.

The ADDIE method is flexible, essentially asking that you consider what you need and want for your specific business, and then design and measure accordingly.

1. Assess your employees and the skills needed for the job

Analysis is a particularly important part of successfully creating a training program. You will be answering questions such as:

  • What do your employees need to know?
  • What do your employees already know?
  • How do your employees learn best?
  • What do you need from your employees?
  • What do your employees expect?
  • What kind of training meets all of these needs?
  • Do you have qualified people to do the training?

Know what you want over the long term: First, what are your broad and strategic goals? Is it productivity? Profits? Loyal employees? Community reputation? Continued growth, both financially and as a team? Write down the long-term goals you want to see. Keep these in mind as you follow through with the rest of the assessment process.

Know what each specific job requires: Assessment includes determining the specific needs of specific employees and jobs.Start by listing the qualifications, knowledge, and hard and soft skills a specific job requires. You are trying to create a definition of what an ideal employee in that specific job is able to do.Next, list what skills most employees have when they arrive.Finally, consider times you’ve had to repeat yourself or ask employees to redo work. Recall the communication or hiccups that slow things down.It’s best practice to do this for each position or team in your company. Now you have a better picture that compares what an employee needs and what they generally have. That gap is where your training is going to fill in.

Identify necessary tools and systems: Look at the list you made where you identified gaps in employee performance. Was it solely based on a lack of the employee’s skills and education, or can blame be placed on the tools and systems they had to work with?Before you can create a training program, you need to be sure those tools and systems are in order. All the training in the world won’t improve employee productivity and output if what they have to work with is broken.

Common areas of breakdown are:

  • Communication systems. Do you have a complex or vague communication system? Communication breakdown is fixed most often by simplifying the system, but also by enforcing adherence to it. It’s important to have a good communication app, like When I Work, to keep your team connected.
  • Technology. Being trained to use new technology is exciting and can instill a sense of loyalty. Make sure to update your technology before investing in training for outdated tech.
  • Job boundaries. If one employee expects a job description to be honored and others are busy doing everything, you’ll have lots of conflict. Are employee work boundaries (or the lack thereof) made clear?

Be sure you aren’t asking your employees to use broken tools and systems. Get things streamlined and up-to-date so that any training feels like forward motion instead of a waste of time.

2. Design the training program

Decide which formats and materials will fit best with your objectives and your workplace: classroom-style training, mentorship, and structured programs are all options.Structured on-the-job training programs are the most basic, task-oriented, and useful for employees who are performing repetitive tasks, such as an industrial job.Using a company-standardized checklist of necessary tasks, the trainer (usually a coworker who regularly performs these same tasks) works with the new employee. Once the new employee has demonstrated the necessary skill, they are signed off to begin.However, if the job at hand is more fluid than repetitive, you will need a trainer who is a skilled teacher. Not everyone learns the same way, and a good trainer has to determine how an employee learns in order to apply the training to them effectively. Some people learn by:

  • Doing: Practice doing actual tasks or through simulations.
  • Feeling: Participate in role playing, group activities, or talk about personal experiences that relate.
  • Thinking: Prefer independent activities, reading, or taking tests.
  • Observing: Attend lectures and seminars, solve specific problems, or discussions.

While you may not be able to tailor an entire training course to each learning style, this at least allows you to create a set of possible options.For example, you may allow a new employee to choose whether to take a written test, have a conversation, or do role playing to illustrate their new knowledge.

3. Develop your training with the right materials

Once you know how your training will look, you can find materials to flesh out your training objectives outline in a variety of places:

  • Your company handbook
  • Current employee knowledge base
  • Industry and online resources
  • Universities with related programs
  • Department of Labor
  • Government extension or outreach programs

Decide how often the training will occur: On-the-job training is rarely a one-time event, and periodic training throughout an employee’s career is common. For example, on-the-job training might include circumstances such as:

  • Learning about company policies
  • How to work the factory line
  • How to respond to customers
  • Using the new inventory system
  • How to fill out business expenses and financial reports for reimbursement
  • Updates on changes to communications systems
  • How new laws affect employees and their jobs
  • Refresher course on last year’s teamwork training

Clearly, training ought to be an ongoing matter since most employees, depending on their job, will need to stay informed as the business changes.

Use an outline: Design the on-the-job training program much as you would an outline, with each main section being the objective you want the employee to achieve before moving onto the next section.At the end of each section, determine how you will measure employee success. Do they need to demonstrate a skill to you? Pass a test? Role play scenarios dealing with an irate customer? Each objective should have a defined success goal that must be met before the employee moves on to the next step.

4. Implement with the right trainers

Implementing a training program isn’t easy. Before you dive in, be sure you know the best people to conduct the training, whether it be a manager, coworker, mentor, or a designated training coordinator.  You also may choose to outsource your training and use an in-house coordinator to work with the company handling the training. This can be helpful if you do not have the resources or knowledge to conduct successful training, or in cases of highly-specialized systems or equipment.

5. Evaluate with employee feedback

Determine how successful your on-the-job training program is with a simple approach:

Use a survey: Use a carefully planned survey that allows for anonymity, and consider giving the survey during, immediately following, and several months after the training. 

Look for improvement in employee work: Improved employee performance will almost always positively impact profit and growth.You can measure employee improvement by comparing productivity markers from before training to after (e.g. higher commissions from sales or more items assembled).

Monitor employee retention: Take note: are your trained employees staying on longer than what you’d experienced before training?Some things are more difficult to measure, like customer service and attitudes. Observation and conversations with managers will help you be more aware of what’s going on across departments.Overall, you should trust your gut. If you notice an improvement in workplace culture that coincides with hitting company performance goals, that’s what you’re looking for.On-the-job training helps you build the future of your business with your employees as the foundation.

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