November 30 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
In a time where all too much training is computer based, many organizations are becoming more and more reliant on on-the-job training (OJT). This is basically a mentoring approach in which a worker is paired up with a more experienced worker to learn a particular job, task, or skill. The advantages of such an approach include being reality based versus computer based, transferring tribal knowledge as well as procedures and having a richer context due to the workplace location and human interactions.
However, there are some potential disadvantages to such an approach. They include the transmission from the experienced worker less-than-ideal methods and even bad habits. At best, OJT perpetuates levels of performance rather than improving them. I encourage the use of some levels of OJT for new-employee orientation and onboarding but discourage too heavy a reliance on it for all training needs.
Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.