On-the-job training methods (Workplace training) - How it give companies a competitive edge?

On the Job Training Methods (OJT):

When an employee learns the job in actual working site in real life situation, and not simulated environment, it is called On-the-job training and also called as Workplace training. Employee learns while working. Take the instance of roadside mechanics. Small boys working there as helpers learn while helping the head mechanic. They do not learn the defect analysis and engine repairing skills in any classroom on engine models.

This type of training, also known as job instruction training, is the most commonly used method. Under this method, the individual is placed on a regular job and taught the skills necessary to perform that job. The trainee learns under the supervision and guidance of a qualified worker or instructor. On-the-job training has the advantage of giving firsthand knowledge and experience under actual working conditions. While the trainee learns how to perform a job, he is also a regular worker rendering the services for which he is paid. The problem of transfer of trainee is also minimised as the person learns on-the-job. The emphasis is placed on rendering services in the most effective manner rather than learning how to perform the job. On-the-job training methods include job rotation, coaching, job instruction or training through step-by-step and committee assignments.

On-the-job training boosts employee morale: Survey

Over 40% employers voted on-the-job training for increased productivity and 35% for enhanced employee morale in the organization in a survey concerning training and development, conducted by TJinsite, research and knowledge arm of TimesJobs.com. A considerable share of the surveyed employers also claimed to reduce attrition by using training and development methodology. 

Employees too appreciate learning and training at the workplace since it enables them to develop knowledge and skills without leaving the work. In the TJinsite survey, on-the-job training by seniors has been voted as the most preferred method of training by 71% employees. Other training methods come at distant second; with workshop and seminars preferred by 15% of surveyed employees, followed by external trainers (11%) and least preferred manual & journals (3%). 

Mostly on-the-job training for new employees is followed by induction programme which is meant for making new employees aware of organisation's culture, policies, procedures and for interaction of new employees with each other. In India at NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation), is offering employee induction programme for its new employees and later sent to on-the-job training. Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) India office, is also giving on-the-job training with live Case study for 1 - 3 months for its new employees.

How on-the-job training and development programmes give companies a competitive edge?

Often, the skills acquired in an educational institute differ from those required for the job. This means educational institutions should look beyond academics and offer students real-time experiences, where they are able to gain first-hand exposure of working in the real world. To some extent, such programmes can help students get a taste of the actual professional world and help them establish critical networking connections. However, it is workplace training that can enable employees to acquire new and specific skills for a certain role, increase their contribution to the business and build their self-esteem.

The skill sets required for jobs are ever-changing and it is the responsibility of companies to plug the skill gap between education and employment. Offering the right training to employees will help in strengthening their skills, enhancing their capabilities and acquiring new knowledge. The companies that invest time and money in developing and expanding the knowledge of their employees bring in more productivity and are able to position themselves better in the larger business landscape.

Here’s a look at how on-the-job training can prove to be a worthwhile investment for companies and equip employees with the right set of skills:

Helps tackle shortcomings:

While one employee maybe good at calculations and market segmentation, another may prove her excellence in ideation and churning out new strategies. Every individual will have some shortcomings and it is timely training and development programmes that can upskill employees to perform different tasks with the minimum required skill. Workplace training plays a pivotal role in bridging the skill gap and keeping employees on the cutting edge of industry developments

Increases productivity:

In a rapidly-evolving job landscape, employees need to be trained and taught about new technologies and their applications. With training and development, employees can stay up-to-date, use new technologies and give up on the old ways of performing a task. They can finish a task faster and show improved results with the right training It will also give them confidence and enable them to adopt new and better ways to achieve their goals and objectives

Boosts employees' morale:

Lack of guidance often kills the morale of employees. Training and development programmes not only improve the skills of employees but also boost their morale, thereby making them happy and leading to longer tenures. Apart from breaking the monotony in the workplace, training programmes offer employees a learning platform where they are able to master new skills and become more marketable.

Encourages creativity:

With training and upskilling: employees are able to think outside the box and widen their thinking capabilities, hone their communication skills and develop new skills that can improve a company’s competitive edge. Such programmes are the best ways to promote innovation and improve employee involvement.

Enhances company reputation and profile:

Offering the right training and development programme makes the company stand out in the recruitment sphere. Employees are likely to feel valued if they are being invested in, and they work harder to exceed expectations. However, the company should adopt stronger and successful training strategies that help them build their brand name and enable them to emerge as a sought-after firm among employees.

On-The-Job Training Methods

(a) Job Rotation:

This type of training involves the movement of the trainee from one job to another. The trainee receives job knowledge and gains experience from his supervisor or trainer in each of the different job assignments. Though this method of training is common in training managers for general management positions, trainees can also be rotated from job to job in workshop jobs. This method gives an opportunity to the trainee to understand the problems of employees on other jobs and respect them.

Job rotation method has been using in the Indian banking sector mainly by State bank group for the probationary officers for the period of approximately 2 years to finally post them as assistant bank manager. Under this method of training candidates are placed in each and every job starts from clerical job, assistant, cashier and managerial job for the purpose of knowing importance in nature of every job before handling Asst bank manager position.

Advantages of job rotation of an employee are eliminate boredom of an employee, encourage development, give employees a break from strenuous job duties, helps HR manager identify where employee work best and gives HR manager a backup plan if an employee leaves.

Disadvantages of job rotation of an employee are could be costly and time-consuming for organisation, could end up with disgruntled employees, it won't fix all your problems in the business, job rotation of an employee might not be feasible for some industries and finally your business could suffer.

(b) Coaching:

The trainee is placed under a particular supervisor who functions as a coach in training the individual. The supervisor provides feedback to the trainee on his performance and offers him some suggestions for improvement. Often the trainee shares some of the duties and responsibilities of the coach and relieves him of his burden. A limitation of this method of training is that the trainee may not have the freedom or opportunity to express his own ideas.

”Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde.

(c) Job Instruction:

This method is also known as training through step by step. Under this method, trainer explains the trainee the way of doing the jobs, job knowledge and skills and allows him to do the job. The trainer appraises the performance of the trainee, provides feedback information and corrects the trainee.

(d) Committee Assignments:

Under the committee assignment, group of trainees are given and asked to solve an actual organisational problem. The trainees solve the problem jointly. It develops team work.

(e) Apprenticeship: 

Apprenticeship is a formalized method of training curriculum program that combines classroom education with on-the-job work under close supervision. The training curriculum is planned in advance and conducted in careful steps from day to day. Most trade apprenticeship programs have a duration of three to four years before an apprentice is considered completely accomplished in that trade or profession. This method is appropriate for training in crafts, trades and technical areas, especially when proficiency in a job is the result of a relatively long training or apprenticeship period, e.g., job of a craftsman, a machinist, a printer, a tool maker, a pattern designer, a mechanic, etc.


Internship is one of the on-the-job training methods. Individuals entering industry in skilled trades like machinist, electrician and laboratory technician are provided with thorough instruction though theoretical and practical aspects. For example, TISCO, TELCO and BHEL select the candidates from polytechnics, engineering colleges and management institutions and provide apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship training programmes are jointly sponsored by colleges, universities and industrial organisations to provide the opportunity to the students to gain real-life experience as well as employment. Exhibit presents the benefits of apprenticeship training.

Most of the Universities and Colleges encourage students for internship as part of the curriculum as it is beneficial to all concerned.

Advantages of On-the-Job Training:

Disadvantages of On-the-Job Training: