On-The-Job Training That Works!

Veteran’s Day was last week and I was thinking about the service and great sacrifice of our current and past military people as I am sure many of you were too. I’m sure you agree, we owe them a great deal and we should recognize them every day, not just on Veteran’s Day.

There is much we can credit to a strong military.  As I thought about this, I remembered something you may not be aware of.  The National Defense Advisory Commission actually developed a systematic on-the-job training method called Job Instruction Training (JIT) during WWII.  Millions of workers were leaving their jobs for military service and the military needed to train them as efficiently and effectively as possible.  U.S. industry also had an urgent training need since replacements were being hired and trained quickly to manufacture supplies for the military and our country.  The JIT model has four easy steps:

  1. Prepare the trainee. Start by building some rapport with the person and putting them at ease.  Explain what the job is and why it’s important.
  2. Present the material. Provide a general explanation of the task and then demonstrate each step.  Stress the key points and review the process.
  3. Perform. Have the trainee explain the steps to you and allow them to perform the job while you observe them.  Answer any questions and make sure the trainee understands why something is done.  Work with the trainee to correct any errors and be sure and share positive reinforcement.
  4. Follow-up. Let the trainee work on their own but monitor their work so that any issues can be addressed and fixed. Encourage further questions and gradually reduce the follow-up as the trainee masters the task.   Ask for feedback from the trainee to help you improve future training.

We use this training method today as the foundation for our company training process and call it the Four Step Training Process.  It’s an important part of our overall company success.  I’d like to hear about your training process in your company and any ideas you have on effective training methods.  Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, remember to always keep our military personnel and their families in your thoughts.

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