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Why Implement a Structured OJT System? 

Structured on the job training (SOJT) may seem like an unnecessary expense to companies that are currently employing informal training methods, since informal training methods work. And indeed, they do. The argument for SOJT is not whether it works—it is whether it produces better, more quantifiable results than traditional informal training methods.

Informal Training

The problem with informal training is that it ingrains poor behavior via peer-to-peer-based training. The simply and unavoidable truth is that at some point most employees will become complacent; they will begin cutting corners and making mistakes. Peer-to-peer training therefore systematically reproduces poor behavior.   

In an informal situation, the person selected to be the 'trainer' may not have the personality to properly transfer their skills—even if they are an ideal employee. Also the selected 'trainer' may not have the drive to teach someone.

Often we put the exiting person in charge of training the incoming person but what benefits are there for the outgoing person to train the newbie well?

Without structure, unqualified trainers are likely to skip over or miss steps in the training process, which creates employees who do not know their entire job description. Even worse, the trainer may have poor habits themselves and it is likely that employees will emulate their behavior. There will also be a disconnect between what the employee knows and what others working with him thinks he knows. And remember, he/she doesn't know that they don't know what they don't know.

This type of patchwork training will never build a foundation for compliance programs like ISO.

Structured On the Job Training 

SOJT is a proven methodology that is just that—methodical. SOJT is designed to ensure that the best talent is chosen to train and that they are given the tools and structure needed to train properly. The methodical-nature of the training means that trainers are given specific steps to follow, to ensure the accuracy of the steps taken--each and every time. Through this structured training companies can standardize their employees and processes, ensuring that business continuity is ensured.

When using SOJT versus informal OJT you can measure exactly how effective the training was and help identify critical changes and improvements needed to move forward. Informal training has no such testing available; employers simply assume that it is working.

Many employers considering implementing SOJT object on the up-front costs of the  solution—citing that they are perhaps too high. But the hidden costs of informal training are significantly greater seeing as you cannot measure their results or ensure their effectiveness.

SOJT training will pay for itself in the long run. First off, SOJT can be completed 80% faster than informal training, which means resources are freed up earlier and the trainee can return to work. Secondly, SOJT is more effective in increasing worker efficiency, decreasing errors, and improving customer satisfaction—and all of these affect the bottom line. SOJT can also be analytically measured to ensure ROI. All of these lead to significantly greater ROI which makes the initial up-front costs an investment, not an expense.