3 Methods used for Training of Employees
This article throws light upon the top three methods of training employees. The methods are:
- On the Job Training
- Off-the-Job Training
- Electronic Training.
Training Employees Method # 1. On the Job Training:
On-the-job-training is the heart and soul of all training in business and industry. OJT as it is known or sometimes called “Shop Training” is the most universal form of employee development.
This is the traditional method of learning, which is designed to maximise learning while allowing the employee to perform his job under the supervision and guidance of a trained worker or instructor, providing him practical application and making principles and concepts of learning meaningful and realistic.
This is the most effective method of development applicable at all levels to a wide range of semiskilled, skilled and technical jobs, as well as supervisory and management development programmes.
There are several types of on the job training.
Those prominently deployed in use in OJT are as follows:
a. Job Instruction Training (JIT):
Commonly known as JIT, this technique of training was developed during World War II. It is a four step instructional process. JIT is basically used to teach the workers how to do their current jobs. A trainer, supervisor or co-worker can act as the coach.
The four steps involved in this process are:
i. The trainee receives an overview of the job, its purposes and desired outcomes, with a clear focus on the relevance of training.
ii. The trainer demonstrates the job in order to give the employee a model to copy. The trainer demonstrates to him the right way of doing the job.
iii. The trainee is then asked to copy the trainer’s demonstration. Demonstrations by the trainer and practice by the trainer are repeated till the trainee masters the right way to perform the job.
iv. Finally the employee does the job independently without supervision.
On the Job coaching by the supervisor is an important and potentially effective approach. It is a kind of daily training and feedback given to employees by their immediate supervisors. It involves a continuous process of learning by doing. Coaching involves direct personal instructions and guidance, usually with extensive demonstration and continuous critical appraisal and correction.
It has the advantage of increased motivation for the trainee and minimisation of the problem of transfer from theory of practice. However, the method will lose its value if the Coach does not possess the requisite skills to guide the trainee in a systematic way. Effectiveness of coaching depends upon the patience and communication skills of the coach.
He will have to:
i. Explain appropriate ways of doing things.
ii. Make clear why some actions are taken.
iii. State the observations accurately.
iv. Offer possible alternatives.
v. Give suggestions whenever required.
vi. Follow up.
It is a somewhat different form of training a method. In mentoring, senior person in the organisation assumes the responsibility for training as well as grooming of a junior person. A mentor acts as a teacher, guide, counseller, philosopher, exemplar, supporter and facilitator of the junior person.
The basic objective of mentoring is to help an employee gain psychological maturity and effectiveness and get integrated with the organisation. Mentoring can take place both at formal and informal levels depending on the prevailing work culture and commitment from the management.
A good mentor has to:
i. Listen to the mentee and understand him
ii. Challenge his intellect and stimulate the learning process
iv. Build Self Confidence
v. Provide wise counselling
vi. Teach by examples
vii. Act as the role model
viii. Share experiences
ix. Offer encouragement
A person can learn a lot from his mentor if he:
ii. Acts on advice
iii. Shows commitment to learn
iv. Leaves ego at the door
v. Asks for feedback
vi. Is Open minded
vii. Is willing to change
viii. Is proactive
Mentoring in India is based on the time honoured Guru-Shishya relationship where the guru would do everything to develop the personality of the Shishya, offering emotional support and guidance. Shishya on the other hand can do anything and everything for the guru. Companies like Coca-Cola, TISCO have used mentoring systems to good effects in recent times.
d. Position Rotation:
Position rotation training is the broadening of the background of die trainee in the organisation. If the trainee is rotated periodically from one job to another, he acquires a general background. He understands the larger organisational perspective and different functional areas.
He attains a better sense of his own career objectives and interests. Rotation allows the trainees to build rapport with a large number of individuals within the organisation and facilitates future co-operation among departments. The cross trained personnel will be more flexible in future in case of transfers, promotions or replacements.
In position rotations, the productive work suffers because of the disruptions caused by such changes.
As specialisation advances, rotation becomes less useful as few people have the technical knowledge and skills to move from one functional area to another. To get the best results out of this method, it should be tailored to the needs, interests and capabilities of the individual trainee and not be a standard sequence that all trainees undergo.
Apprenticeship training may be traced back to medieval times when those who wanted to learn trade skills used to bind themselves to master craftsman to learn by doing the work under his guidance. During earlier periods, apprenticeship was not restricted to artisans only. It was used in training for the professions including medicine, law, teaching etc.
In today’s organisations, apprenticeship training is a structured process by which people become skilled workers through a combination of classroom instructions and on-the-job training. It is widely used to train individuals for many occupations. Many organisations have apprenticeship laws with supervised plans for such training.
f. Committee Assignments:
In this method, the trainees are asked to perform special assignments and to solve actual organisational problems. Sometimes, a task force is created which consists of a number of trainees representing different functions in the organisation.
In this method, trainers acquire knowledge about the assigned activities and learn how to work with others. They also understand the personalities, issues and processes governing the organisation. However, managers should very well understand that committee assignments could become notorious time wasting activities.
The main advantages of on-the-job training (OJT) are as follows:
(i) The trainee learns on the actual machine in use and in real environment of the job. He gets a feel of the actual job. Therefore, he is better motivated to learn and there is no problem of transfer of training skills on the job.
(ii) OJT is the type of training which can be tailored to suit the specific requirements of each trainee, in terms of his background, attitudes, needs, expectations, goals and future assignments.
(iii) This method is very economical because no additional space, equipment, personnel or other facilities are required for training. The trainee produces while he learns.
(iv) The trainee learns the rules, regulations and procedures by observing their day to day applications.
(v) OJT is specific, practical and tangible.
(vi) OJT is most suitable for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs where the job operations are simple, easy to explain and demonstrate within a short span of time.
(vii) The supervisors feel greater responsibility and work more willingly and zealously for the development of their subordinates, while imparting OJT.
Some of the demerits from which OJT suffers are:
(i) In OJT there is a tendency to neglect, disregard and even to do away with, in some cases, the essentials of principles and theory in favour of immediate production.
(ii) Trainee while learning may damage equipment, waste materials, cause accidents frequently.
(iii) The work place, with environment charged with hustle and noise and the pace of skilled workers, is most likely to affect the learning and may create a feeling of frustration in the mind of a trainee.
(iv) Experienced workers cannot use the machinery while it is being used for training.
In order to make this training successful, some conditions must be satisfied:
(a) What and how to teach should be carefully decided.
(b) The instructor should be carefully selected and trained.
(c) A definite follow up schedule should be used to judge the results of training.
Training Employees Method # 2. Off-The-Job Training:
In off-the-Job training methods the trainees have to leave their workplace and devote their entire time to the training.
A few off-the-job training techniques are as follows:
a. Vestibule Training:
In this method, a training centre called vestibule is set up and actual job conditions are duplicated or simulated in it. Expert trainers are employed to provide training with the help of equipment and machines which are identical with those used at the work place.
This method of training is used primarily when large number of employees must be trained quickly, as needed, as a result of expansion of business activities by firms or industries, although it is also helpful as a preliminary to on-the-job-training.
The important merits of vestibule training are:
(i) This method has the fundamental advantage of training a number of people in a short period of time, without causing any interruption or disturbance in the normal flow of work.
(ii) The trainee can concentrate on learning without disturbance of the workplace noise.
(iii) This method is essential where on the job training might result in a serious injury, an accident or the destruction of valuable equipment and material.
(iv) It permits the trainee to practise without the fear of being observed and indicribed by the supervisor/coworker.
(v) It is a specialised superior method of instructions, free from any pressures of getting out production.
(vi) The interest and motivation of the trainee are high as the real job conditions are duplicated.
(vii) This method provides possibility of frequent lectures, or discussions and greater personal attention to individual trainees.
This method, however, suffers from the following demerits:
(i) The use of this method is limited more or less to those jobs, in which there is a high turnover or there is a continuously increasing demand for workers.
(ii) Vestibule training is the most expensive method because of additional investment in class-room, equipment and expert trainers.
(iii) The training situation is somewhat artificial and the trainee does not get a feel of the real job.
b. Apprenticeship Training:
The ‘Apprenticeship’ system is perhaps the oldest and most commonly used method for training in industrial crafts, trades and technical areas. In this method, theoretical knowledge and practical learning are provided to trainees in training institutes.
In India, the government has established Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for this purpose. The aim of this training is to develop all-round craftsmen. Generally, a stipend is paid during the training period. Thus, it is an ‘earn while you learn’ scheme.
The main merits of this method are:
(i) The main advantage of this method is that it combines theory and practice. The trainee becomes productive immediately.
(ii) It ensures the maintenance of a skilled work force.
(iii) It greatly improves workmanship.
(iv) This fosters a sense of belongingness and loyalty in the minds of employees and opens up opportunities for their growth and development.
Apprenticeship training is time consuming and expensive. Many persons leave the training programme midway as the training period extends from one year to three years.
c. Classroom Training:
Classroom training is the traditional way of education, which places the trainee in a class-room. Class-room training takes place either inside the organisation or at some external selected sites, may be institutes, universities or professional associations, which have no connection with the company.
The main aim of class-room training is to take the man away from his working environment, to mix with men in a similar position to his own, and as a result bring about change in his attitude and point of view, capable of looking at problems differently. Lectures, case studies, group discussions and audio-visual aids are used to explain knowledge and skills to the trainees.
Classroom training is suitable for teaching concepts and problem solving skills. It is also useful for orientation and safety training programmes. It may also include courses in re-training and upgrading.
d. Internship Training:
In internship training, educational institutions and business firms have a joint programme of training. Selected candidates carry on regular studies for die prescribed period. They also work in some factory or office to acquire practical knowledge and skills.
This method helps to provide a good balance between theory and practice. But it involves a long time period due to slow process. Internship training is used in professional courses e.g., MBBS, C.A., ICWA etc.
Conference is a favourite training method. Many organisations have adopted guided discussion type of conferences in their training programmes, in order to escape the limitations of the lecture method. In conferences, the participants pool their ideas and experiences to arrive at improved methods of dealing with the problems which are the common subject of discussion.
Conference may include buzz sessions that divide the conference into small groups for intensive discussion. These small groups then report back their conclusions or questions to the whole conference.
Conference method allows the trainees to look at the problems from a broader angle. However, unless the conference is directed towards the required needs of the participants, they may feel that the whole exercise is useless.
f. Role Playing:
Role playing is a method of human interactions that involves realistic behaviour in imaginary situations. Role playing involves action, doing and practice. The trainees play the role of certain characters e.g., the different position holders in the organisation. By role playing, a trainee can broaden his experience by trying different approaches/roles, while in actual practice; he often has only one role to play.
g. Programmed Learning:
Programmed instruction is a step by step learning process that consists of three parts:
i. Presenting questions, facts or problems to the trainees.
ii. Allowing the trainee to respond.
iii. Providing feedback on the accuracy of answers.
The advantages of this method are:
i. It reduces the training time.
ii. It facilitates learning since it lets trainees learn at their own pace.
iii. It provides immediate feedback and reduces the risk of errors.
The limitation of this method, however, is that the trainee does not learn much more than he would from a traditional text book approach. The management must weigh the cost of developing the programmed instructions against the potentially accelerated but not improved learning.
Training Employees Method # 3. Electronic Training:
Computerised and internet based tools have revolutionised the training process.
Some methods of electronic training are as follows:
Audio-visuals include television slides, overheads, films, power point presentations, video conferencing, audio-video tapes etc. These can be very effective and are widely used as training techniques. These can be used to provide a wide range of realistic examples of job conditions and situations in the condensed period of time.
The quality of the presentation can be controlled and will remain equal for all training groups. Audio-visual aids tend to be more interesting. This method, however, is more expensive as compared to other traditional methods.
Moreover, it constitutes a one way system of communication with no scope for the trainees to raise questions or doubts for clarification. There is no flexibility also in this method to change the presentation from audience to audience.
b. Computer Based Training:
In computer based training, the trainee uses computer based and/or CD-ROM systems to interactively increase his knowledge or skills. In this method, the tests are taken on computer so that the management can monitor each trainee’s progress and needs.
This programme can be modified easily to reflect technological innovations in the equipment for which the employee is being trained. This training also tends to be more flexible since the trainees can use the computer almost any time and thus, get training when they prefer.
The feedback from this method is as rich and colourful as modern electronic games, complete with audio instructions and video displays. A limitation of this method is its high cost, but repeated use often justifies the cost.
c. Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS):
People do not remember everything they learn. The training, in this method, focusses on the skills the employees need every day for performing their jobs. Computer based support systems, then delivers the rest of what they need to know, when they need it. Employers use job aids for this purpose.
Job aid is a set of instructions, diagrams or similar methods available at the job site to guide the workers. EPSS is today’s job aid. EPSS are a set of computerised tools and displays that automate training, documentation and phone support, integrate this automation into applications and provide support that is faster, cheaper and more effective than traditional methods.
d. Distance and Internet Based Training:
Organisations use various forms of distance learning methods for training. Distance learning methods include traditional paper and pencil correspondence courses as well as teletraining, video-conferencing and internet based classes.
In teletraining, a trainer in a central location teacher groups of employees at remote locations via television. Honda America corporate began by using satellite technology to train engineers and now it uses it for many other types of employee training. This method is very cost effective since the employees learn at home and the company does not have to pay for their travel, stay and training.
Video-Conferencing is used by companies to train the employees who are geographically separated from each other or from the trainer. This method allows people in one location to communicate line via a combination of audio and visual equipment with people in another city or country or with groups in several cities.
Many firms need the internet and their proprietary intranets to deliver computer based training. Employees can access the programmes, whenever they want. Distribution costs are zero and changes can be made in the programmes at the central location whenever need arises.
Many firms are using Business Portals now-a-days. Training is often found and delivered through training oriented learning portals. These portals contract with employers and deliver training options to the firms employees (often web based). Many firms are creating their own learning portals for their employees.
They let the company contract with specific training content providers, which offer their training content to the firm’s employees via the portal. The technology of the learning portals puts more and more information into everyone’s hands.
Instead of limiting training opportunities to teacher led conventional classes or to periodic training sessions, training becomes available all the time. Employees learn at their own pace, whenever they want to.
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