by Flex HR

How to Make On-the-Job Training Work for Your Business

On-the-job (OTJ) training involves teaching new hires about their position while in the workplace. It focuses on experiential learning, or learning through doing, compared to offsite training. HR plays a major role in developing these OTJ training programs to have in place. HR professionals often advocate that new hires be given these training guidelines and materials as they are in the final steps of accepting the new role so they are fully aware of what is expected right away.

According to the 70-20-10 learning model, 70% of learning occurs through hands-on experience as employees receive immediate feedback on their mistakes, think critically in each situation, and test and refine their skills in real time. Consequently, if done effectively, OTJ training is one of the most critical areas of an organization’s education and workforce development functions.

HR Job Training


OTJ training can be implemented quickly, which may result in faster time-to-productivity rates for new employees compared to self-taught methods. It is also inexpensive.

On-the-job training typically includes the following steps:

Observation: Employees observing their managers, trainers, or peers perform their duties while taking notes and asking questions.

Supervision: A manager or trainer will provide constructive feedback while employees perform or their duties.

Independence: Employee is then confident to perform their duties unassisted, with occasional questions or follow-ups.

4 strategies for an effective on-the-job training program

Design an OTJ training program that is effective and increases the likelihood of employee satisfaction and retention by using the five strategies below.

1. Understand the new hire’s learning style before their first day

Employers and HR leaders should prepare in advance that employees will not know what to do when they walk in the door on their first day. Thus, it is important to get to know the new hire before their first day. Collaborating and understanding their learning style ahead of time eases their nervousness.

Dr. Liz Wilson, a behavioral scientist and founder of Include Inc., notes that asking new hires about their learning preferences ensures you give them the tools to do their best work. “Never assume all people have the same lived experience or inclusion needs,” she says, “[and] provide a range of alternative delivery methods to accommodate people’s preferences for learning.”

Check out the different types of learning styles employees prefer below:


How to make job training work


Data source: SHRM and TalentLMS’s 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends Research Report

It’s clear employees learn in the manner best for them. Therefore, if new hires are presented with a preferred learning style, they are more engaged, preserving more information and being more productive from the start. New employees are more likely to feel supported by their organization and willing to do well.


How to Make Job Training Work


2. Create a training plan

It is important that a training plan contains an agenda of when and what the new hire will learn and any standard operating procedures (SOPs) or manuals. These materials need to be provided to employees before they are even onboarded to help mentally prepare new employees. It even gives them the opportunity for self-learning at their own pace to review the training plan and any other written materials.

3. Train the trainers

Managers across the leadership team don’t always make the best coaches. They can lack the soft skills needed for effective teaching. Therefore, your HR department should invest in training your managers by reviewing employee training procedures and expectations, or even outsourcing this function to a company like Flex HR that can provide HR training and development programs.

Efficient trainers successfully motivate new workers to do well and understand how their contributions matter to the organization. A well-trained instructor recognizes how to adjust to different learning styles, control frustration levels, and leverage encouragement and positive reinforcement. Thus, trainees are more likely to feel safe, take risks, and increase their productivity.

4. Evaluate the program and adjust

Evaluation and feedback cycles should be a critical part of your OTJ training to understand how well it works. Don’t limit feedback to post-training surveys. Mary Ann Haskins, senior HR consultant for Flex HR, notes that adjusting your teaching style during OTJ training can help align it to the new hire’s preferred way of learning.

According to SHRM and TalentLMS’s 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends Research Report, more than half (55%) of employees feel they need more training to perform better in their jobs. Thus, it’s important to frequently evaluate your OTJ training to quickly address any problem areas so new hires can feel more confident in their roles. Start optimizing your business’s on-the-job training

Start optimizing your business’s on-the-job training

Today is the day to outline and implement an effective OTJ program. They prove to prepare new hires for their roles through hands-on experience, relevant content, and quick feedback. Given the properly trained instructors, OTJ training can acclimate new hires to their roles faster.

Flex HR can help you put OTJ training programs in place for your organization. We believe these actions should occur before an employee begins their first day on the job. It is the job of HR to outline these training plans. Contact us now for help to get your training programs working for your business.