Learning While Working: Tips for Successful On-the-Job Training

By August 30, 2018 No Comments
Learning While Working TTA Blog

“Employees appreciate the chance to develop knowledge and skills without ever leaving work.[i] On-the-Job training can be one of the most effective and valuable types of training. As employees learn, they are able to practice the skills and the knowledge at the same time. Trainers are able to use the tools, machines, documents, and any other necessary items that are already in the workplace, cutting back on additional costs and time. Also described as the process of training employees while they’re actively performing their jobs,[ii] on-the-job training can be great.  However, if on-the-job training is not done effectively, it can be frustrating, and can even lead to lowered retention rates. A shocking 40% of employees who receive poor (or no) on-the-job training leave within the first year of employment.[iii]

It’s important to ensure success with on-the-job training. Showing learners once and then disappearing is never effective. The below strategies can really aid in making sure your on-the-job training is successful.


Institute a Mentoring Program. Mentors don’t necessarily have to be a direct supervisor but could be a more experienced employee. Mentoring allows for the learner to build a solid foundation of skills and provides a positive relationship within the company. Mentors can be used for many purposes, and not just a specific task.


Coaching however is more generalized. Coaching can be the defining factor in successful on-the-job training. The role of a coach is to ensure the employees have the information, skills, and support they need to complete a task or a set of tasks.[iv] A Coach’s tasks are to observe and provide feedback to learners as they go about their daily tasks, paying special attention to the learner’s overall goals for success.

Job Shadowing

If it was desired to combine the elements of mentoring and coaching, organizations could use Job Shadowing to aide training’s success. Job shadowing is a great way to foster teamwork, just be sure to assign the appropriate employee for the job shadowing purpose. Conduct a test run if you are not sure.


Ask for feedback. On-the-job training is like any training, it improves over time. Measure results, ask for feedback and improve on attributes you are able to. Not only will it become a more enjoyable experience for the learners, but outcomes will also improve.  Note that adults especially feel more invested in training when they have the opportunity to give input on their education.

Training Managers

Managers play a vital role in the employee’s success. Managers often assume the role of the mentor, coach, or are shadowed. A way to ensure proper on-the-job training is to provide adequate training for managers. A properly trained manager can set obtainable goals for their employees, answer more questions, and can possibly field issues ahead of time. Managers that participate in the training set the precedence for their team about the value of the topic. âEmployees are impressed that the training topic is so important that the manager takes the time to do the training.[vi]

The values of on-the-job training go beyond increased productivity and growth. Trained employees are happier employees that are more committed to the organization. 30% are more excited about their work.[vii] On top helping create happier employees, on-the-job-training also fosters a culture grounded on teamwork. Training can extend abilities beyond a narrow and walled approach of only doing the bare minimum.[viii] You might never have to hear the phrase that is not my job again.

Strategize, develop, and implement a great on-the-job training program, and your organization and employees will all benefit. Visit our One-on-One Coaching to see how we can help your business.




[vi] https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-on-the-job-training-brings-you-value-1917941
[vii] https://wheniwork.com/blog/on-the-job-training/
[viii] https://wheniwork.com/blog/on-the-job-training/