On-The-Job Training Advice For Small Business

Employees participating in on-the-job training, looking at a laptop

On-the-job training provides a host of benefits your small business can’t find anywhere else. Your team members will better serve your clients and customers. They’ll perform their job with greater competency. There will be fewer mistakes. And your business will run smoother than ever before.

In this article, the management experts at Sling will show you how 12 simple on-the-job training strategies can give your team members the training, skills, and knowledge they need to improve the way they work.

12 On-The-Job Training Strategies

1) Design A Plan

Manager at a desk using papers and a highlighter to plan on-the-job training

Begin your plan by writing down all the knowledge and skills your team members need to know to be productive in their jobs. Then set up your training program so that it starts with the most basic information and progresses through the most advanced. Each step should build on the one before it.

2) Set Goals

There’s no way to know if your on-the-job training strategies are successful unless you set goals and benchmarks for your team members to meet. These goals should be specific to your business and reflect the acquisition and implementation of new knowledge and skills.

So, for example, avoid setting the goal for your team members to learn the new inventory management software. That’s what the on-the-job training is for.

Instead, set the goal to incorporate that software into your workflow and use it to reduce costs over the next quarter. That’s how you can tell if the training was successful or not.

3) Train Consistently

Woman using sticky notes on a whiteboard training her employees

Consistency and regularity are essential if you want your team members to learn and retain new skills.

Schedule your training sessions every two weeks, once a month, or whatever works for your business. Be sure to include results from these sessions as part of your periodic performance reviews.

4) Provide On-Demand Training

One excellent way to make sure everyone can access your on-the-job training when they need it is to provide on-demand options.

For example, store videos, documents, slides, and other training materials in the cloud and then give everyone access through programs like Slack, Google Drive, Trello, or Dropbox. Your team members can then go through the information at a time and place that is convenient for them.

5) Use Social Media

Woman at a coffee shop using social media on her phone for on-the-job training

Chances are, your team members are already familiar with social media outlets like YouTube and Facebook. Why not use these tools to make your on-the-job training more user-friendly?

Create training videos and slideshows and post them on your very own YouTube channel. Or open a Facebook group specifically for your training material.

These are also convenient locations to house your frequently-asked questions (FAQs) or host a question-and-answer (Q&A) forum for your team.

6) Gamify Your On-The-Job Training

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “gamify” (or “gamification”), it’s simply a buzzword for transforming any task into a game or competition.

Turning your training into a game is easy. Give points, badges, or other awards for scoring high on quizzes. Set up a progress bar to show team members where they’re at in the training program and increase engagement. Celebrate milestones with a party or meal for the whole team.

7) Arrange A Mentoring Program

Two professional women sitting next to each other working on their laptops

Mentoring new team members with experienced team members is an easy way for the new employee to gain skills, experience, wisdom, and knowledge that they might not have achieved otherwise.

Your mentoring program doesn’t have to be complicated. A meeting once per week or a job-shadow arrangement benefits the mentor, the mentee, and your business as a whole.

8) Target Your Training

To really make an impact on your team members, target your on-the-job training to the specific needs of each employee.

Your sales team doesn’t need the same training as your I.T. team, so why waste time and resources making them learn something they won’t use? Your training should relate directly to improving the way your team members perform their specific jobs.

9) Organize An Employee-Development Book Club

If you’re training all of your team members in a specific skill — extreme ownership, the importance of diversity, group cohesion, and the like — consider organizing a book club to share information and ideas.

Assign a chapter or two and then meet at the end of the week to discuss what you’ve read. You can even assign team members to conduct the discussion to improve their leadership skills.

10) Use Experienced Employees As Trainers

Two coworkers practicing on-the-job training with a whiteboard and computer

Instead of hiring a third-party trainer, take advantage of your existing talent base by using experienced employees as trainers.

This is a great option for team members who have already been through your on-the-job training and who are reaching out for more responsibility. Assigning them to train other team members is an effective way to assess their management skills and readiness.

11) Cross-Train Your Team Members

Cross-training means exposing your team members to other specialties within your business. (Note: It’s vital to save this type of training for later in your team member’s career to avoid confusion.)

Once your team members are thoroughly familiar with their roles in the company and can perform their jobs at a high level, it’s time to widen their expertise through cross-training.

This benefits your business in three key ways:

  • It gives team members skills that will help them improve their primary job.
  • It gives team members insight into what it takes to perform other jobs in your business.
  • It creates a larger pool of individuals who can fill in should a team member call in sick or be otherwise unavailable.

All of these benefits make for a more well-rounded team.

12) Put Your On-The-Job Training To Work Immediately

The old adage, “Use it or lose it,” has never been truer than in an on-the-job training situation. If you train your team in a specific skill and then don’t put it to use as soon as possible, your team members are going to forget what they learned and lose the skill.

So don’t train your team in January and then implement the procedure in October. Train them in January and implement the procedure in February.

 Schedule Your Training For Maximum Results

Sling's scheduling feature for on-the-job training

The best way to maximize the results of your on-the-job training is to schedule it just as you do your team. The Sling suite of tools can help.

Sling makes it easy to schedule training sessions, shift work, and other complicated events (like grand-opening activities) for one employee or 100 (or more) employees.

Sling app

You can also manage and control payroll, overtime, and other labor costs with Sling’s intuitive user interface.

Sling's shifts feature

Sling even offers a built-in time clock for a powerful all-in-one employee-management system.

Take your team scheduling and on-the-job training to the next level with Sling, the most powerful scheduling app on the market.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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