Most companies, those with and without formal training departments, have some sort of on-the-job training (OJT) in place to support the learning of a new hire. In most cases, the OJT consists of introducing the new hire to a more experienced employee who walks him through his new tasks. The experienced employee (Joe) will tell and show the new hire what to do, and that pretty much concludes the training.
With reductions to organizational travel and training budgets, most training departments have taken a big hit and need to be creative with their content delivery methods. Companies around the world have found themselves needing to continue workforce training, but without as many resources. OJT has come in handy. It uses the expertise of an experienced employee and cuts the cost of trainer and trainee travel expenses.
In many companies, employees are asked to be shadowed for a period of time. And in several organizations, the training is based mainly on the new employee's capacity to observe and on the veteran employee's ability to convey the right knowledge and skills. But what happens if that veteran employee is not prepared to teach?
On numerous occasions, employees may tell us, "I know how to do it, but I don't exactly know how to teach it." Leaving a new employee to the mercy of a knowledgeable veteran is not always a good choice - not if this veteran employee has no understanding of how to transmit his knowledge to the new worker. A great solution to this concern is structured, on-the-job coaching (OJC).
What is it?
OJC provides your veteran with the tools and skills to elicit the best performance from the new employee. Your new employee will shadow someone who knows how to mix his experience and knowledge with a structured program.
The program should offer your experienced employee a certification course in which he learns how to adapt his behavioral style to that of the learner. He will be able to assess and customize each coaching session according to the new employee's individual needs and previous experience.
As I started to think more and more about OJC, people started to ask me why they should approach this particular training issue with a coaching solution. There are OJT and mentor programs being implemented every day, all over the world. The reason I chose the coaching approach was because of the ongoing process that it provides. Sometimes, training solutions rely on a single training event, with little or no follow-up. OJC is a program with dedicated preparation and follow-up.
- Prepare me.
- Instruct me.
- Demonstrate to me.
- Observe me.
- Advise me.
The entire OJC model is based on the sequence above. Once your veteran employee has transmitted all of his knowledge and skills through instructions, the new hire will learn how to efficiently demonstrate the task, and then explain and demonstrate the task back to the coach.
A standard operational procedure (SOP) for the program is recommended. This is a document stating the program guidelines and specific requirements for the design, implementation, and evaluation phases.
The first step in the process is to identify your coaches. You should choose those who fulfill three specific requirements:
- at least one year working in the function to be coached
- nomination by their manager
- willingness to participate.
The third requirement is one of the most important. If he is not willing to participate, then you have a knowledgeable and experienced employee who has been obligated to coach someone and does not possess the right attitude for the task.
Once the coaches are selected, they must attend a coaching certification workshop and learn how to
- self-assess their individual readiness for coaching
- understand the coach-trainee relationship as measured by an ability to discuss the "three Cs" (communication, collaboration, and commitment) that make up a coaching relationship
- exercise good communication skills
- understand how adults learn
- prepare a coaching session outline
- master the OJC checklists.
With the implementation of OJC, you are able to easily measure various levels of effectiveness. And comparing training expenses from previous years with the coaching expenses after program implementation, you will be able to observe a monetary savings as well. With OJC, you will be able to transition from the "follow Joe around," or OJT process, to a structured program that generates measurable results and a return-on-investment.