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The OJT Fallacy

I have no problem with on-the-job training (OJT). I think it can be the most effective way of learning quickly and effectively when done right.

My problem is that most people who say they use OJT are really using it as an excuse to create lazy, ineffective, unorganized, and unprofessional training.

What OJT training should be is a series of specific tasks done in the actual environment followed by reflection and repetition. When done this way, it enables the employee to develop on the easiest tasks first and progress systematically until they have mastered the basics. The reflection and repetition enables the employee, usually with the help of a mentor, to prevent bad habits and increase the speed of efficiency.

All too often, I see managers use "OJT" because they don't have the time or a set plan to train new employees. It becomes shadowing someone (who may or may not be doing a good job), with no real direction or chance to learn.

It shows me several things:

  • The manager has no plan.

  • The manager has little concern for engaging a new employee.

  • The department is unorganized.

  • The employees feel undervalued.

Managers: you aren't fooling anyone. We know OJT means you haven't done any real work to get a new employee up to speed effectively.

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