Successful On Job Training: What You Must Do in Small-Medium Business


Whether training a new or current employee the old adage still applies. “If the student hasn’t learnt, the teacher hasn’t taught”. In the workplace you also suffer a major penalty. Poor training costs you heaps when employees can’t do their jobs properly. It is essential for managing employee performance well. What you do before you start training will largely determine whether or not your it’s is successful.

Specify What They Will Be Able To Do After The Training

The purpose of training is to get a job done well. The first thing to do is to state what the trainees will be able to do at the end of the it.  The operative word is “do”: not “understand”, “appreciate”, “grasp” or any of these other fuzzy verbs. If you can’t measure it don’t teach it. To measure competence, your trainees must do something.

Specify What They Need To Know

In order to be able to “do”, trainees need knowledge. Only when you’ve stated what they need to be able to do, can you specify what they need to know. Be careful. Don’t overdo the “knows”. Make your training simple and easy to follow. For example, you don’t need to know how a PC works in order to be able to operate it. But you do need to know how to read various screens and what data represents.

Stating the “able to do” and “need to know” matters is the key to success. Do this before you start. If you don’t, your trainees won’t learn what’s essential. They won’t know what’s most important either. And they won’t know what you expect of them.

Set Performance Standards For “Do” And “Know

It’s not enough to say “be computer literate” or “operate all company computer systems”. You need to add “how often”, “how well”, “how quickly”, “how accurately”. You must decide how you would measure “competence” and what you’d consider to be adequate “knowledge”. This degree of detail gives the trainee clearly defined goals and standards. It also provides a clear idea of how his or her competence will be assessed. Clear performance standards are most important.

Replicate Job Conditions

This is essential: replicate actual working conditions as accurately as possible. Use tools and equipment in good working order. The way the trainee would find them on the job. If you can run the training in the trainees’ normal workplace, that’s ideal. You can learn to drive a family sedan in the family sedan. But it’s no place to learn to be a Formula One racing driver.

Treat Safety Seriously

Be casual about safety and your trainees will do the same. Ensure that all safety procedures and practices are followed exactly during training. Imagine that you’re teaching the trainee how to throw a hand grenade effectively. Be as careful as you would in those circumstances.

Plan Carefully And In Great Detail

You might be the best trainer working with the smartest trainee. It doesn’t matter. Your training will be as successful as the thoroughness of your planning. You have your “able to do”, “need to know” and “performance standards”. That’s an excellent basis for your training plan. To develop your plan start with the end goal and work backwards to the start – where you’ll commence the training. Include competency checks at various stages of the plan. And move to a new phase only after you’re satisfied with trainee competence in the previous phase.

Test Before Training

There’s one last thing to do before you actually start. You must test each trainee before they undertake the training. Use the competency checks you’ve built into your training plan. If you’re satisfied that the trainee is competent in any areas test them to check. Don’t train in those areas in which they demonstrate competence to your satisfaction. Nothing irritates trainees more than being taught something that they’re already good at. It wastes your time and resources too.


What you do before you start training determines whether or not your training is successful. It’s been said so often it’s a cliché. But it merits repeating in this context. “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?” Only detailed planning will allow that to happen.

2 Responses to Successful On Job Training: What You Must Do in Small-Medium Business
  1. Lori Hewitt
    December 10, 2011 | 5:39 am

    I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the issue is something that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very pleased that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something referring to this.

  2. Leon
    December 10, 2011 | 6:59 am

    G’Day Lori.
    Thanks for your generous and supportive comment. I think that we should only use the word “Training” with the adjective “effective.” Feel free to comment or ask questions at any time.


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