<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Measure Informal On-the-Job Training

August 31, 2010
Dear Nothing Formal:
Tracking on-the-job training (OJT) is challenging. Every day your people have hundreds (if not thousands) of opportunities to learn, grow and develop. Add the complexity of working in a technical field, such as the chemical industry, and tracking OJT can make your head spin. That being said, there are some practical steps that can make tracking OJT a worthwhile and mission-focused experience.
1. Target OJT recipients. Does everyone fall into the category of having OJT, or only a select group? At a certain level, we all have OJT, but for some groups it may be more than for others. For instance, an emerging management trainee group or leadership cohort might be more inclined than others to have OJT.
2 Define OJT. Is OJT all day long or a set period of time with a mentor? It is important to define the time frame that is considered OJT. People can get overwhelmed when we try to give them too much new stuff during the day.
3. Identify key learning points. A key learning point is information that is critical to success in a job and, for that matter, critical to the company's success as a whole. In order to figure out a true key learning point, one might consider looking at the job description, mission and vision. These internal documents can provide focus for understanding what an individual learns during OJT.
4. Track learning in a journal. Have the employee write down what they learn each day. The journal becomes the tracking system, maintained by the individual and customized to their unique learning environment and needs. This should occur in conjunction with mentoring of employees.
5. Put learning into practice. Too often, organizations get wrapped up in providing training but not looking for ways for the person to use the training. By maintaining a journal and being challenged on a daily basis by mentors, your employees are better positioned to use on-the-job learning to achieve success both individually and for the company.

SOURCE: Dana Jarvis, adjunct professor, Duquesne University. This response originally appeared in Dear Workforce on February 1, 2007.
LEARN MORE: Read more about how the retail sector uses technology for fast training: "Faced With High Turnover, Retailers Boot Up E-Learning for Quick Training."
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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