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OJT - On The Job Training

Introduction

Managers have two powerful ways of improving the performance and productivity of their subordinates, which are counseling and on the job training.

Counseling is the process of helping a subordinate define and resolve personal problems that effect performance or in order to develop a good attitude to work.

On the job training is the process of explaining, demonstrating and the structured supervision of specific skills or particular tasks. It is similar to the teaching process. On the job training is often referred to as OJT.

These are highly effective in three situations, which are:

Resolving people problems

All managers are faced with problem people from time to time. Counseling and training are always the first considerations in these cases but they do not always result in success and sometimes more radical action is required. This is covered in the Problem People and Positive Discipline modules.

Maintaining group standards

The management of people both as individuals and groups is a dynamic process as nothing remains static ? problems are always arising. A good manager must be aware of this and be constantly ready to use counseling and training to maintain standards.

To achieve continuous improvement

The best way to avoid problems is to keep ahead of them by being proactive. You must have a plan for each individual in your group and for the group as a whole. In particular new and inexperienced group members need special treatment so that they can meet required levels of performance.

Counseling and training share many of the same skills and in many cases they are used together to achieve your results.

The following are typical signs of change to look for then you must decide to initiate the counseling or training (or both) initiatives.

TYPICAL SIGNS OF NEED FOR HELP

Avoids difficult work
No co-operation
Lack of interest
No initiative
Complaining
Making mistakes
Avoiding contact
No communication
Depressed
Poor quality
Argumentative
Unsafe working
Poor productivity
Delegating to others
Laziness
Absenteeism
Irritability
Blaming others

The most important sign to look for is a change in behavior or performance. For example, if a an employee who has always been well behaved, with a pleasant disposition suddenly becomes aggressive you can bet on him having some problem that needs counseling.

Counseling

On-the-job counseling is a process of talking about things that affect the performance of the work. It involves sitting down in some quiet place and getting job problems out in the open without hurting each other.

It's all about talking, listening, and trying to understand the other person's point of view. All supervisors are counselors whether they realize it or not. Sometimes a long heart-to-heart talk is needed to clear the air or a quick exchange will clear up a misunderstanding. Perhaps the supervisor does most of the talking; the next time it may be the other way around. However, counseling is more than a casual discussion resulting from an accidental encounter.

Counseling is a very effective management tool to increase productivity by solving problems and strengthening or repairing working relationships. Other kinds of problems of a personal or psychological nature should be avoided and left to professionals in that field.

On the Job training

Training is almost a natural human instinct. We all train our children without even thinking about it but when we have the job of training someone at work we find problems.

On the job training is often a one to one situation, usually involving the supervisor and one of the group. The supervisor uses the actual work as the training location, and works with the trainee to improve skills or introduce new tasks. This process is also referred to as coaching.

Advantages of on the job training

* It is cost effective

* It strengthens relationship within the group

* Feedback and support is easy

Nearly all the problems associated with on the job training are very simple to overcome. Like so many other parts of our work they require us to take a more systematic approach to the situation.

Most workers usually take pride in learning a new skill. The new skills gained are to our mutual benefit as it's good for the worker to improve his future employment value and for us to have new capability in our groups. In addition, by making learning possible, you earn their respect and build enduring relationships.

The supervisor is frequently the only person in the organization that teaches the basic knowledge and the many key skills that the group needs to learn. On-the-job training should never stop.

Chris Thomas is the author of the Managers Toolbox training material located at http://www.managers-toolbox.com and runs the very successful Basic Management Course for new leaders and supervisors.




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