by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor
I GET THE impression that OJT (on the job training) is very much out of favor in many companies. Of course the most common arguments against OJT is that training can best be handled by HR professionals, and that OJT simply infuses bad habits of one employee into a newer one.
OJT however has always been a keystone in bringing new employee skill levels up to expectations. It is still a key element in some segments of the work force. Doctors go through extensive intern and residency programs after getting their doctorate and before being allowed to operate on a patient. Lawyers, joining a law firm, spend months in the legal library and assisting a senior attorney before being handed a case to work alone.
Police officers go through a 6 month police academy, even after getting a degree in criminal justice and are then put under a training officer. Only after a couple of months of that OJT are they given a car and then more weeks of working in tandem with a senior officer. Then they are allowed to patrol an assigned segment of the city alone.
In hotels OJT has always been a major component of training, whether for room attendants, desk clerks, food service personnel, or on the kitchen staff.
Personally, I very much favor OJT, even for new hires with experience. HR programs are okay as far as a general orientation program for new hires. However, few HR people have “on the floor” experience in all phases of a company and therefor are only able to teach from a handbook. As far as implanting bad habits of an existing employee to the trainee my question is, “why do you have senior employees with bad habits?”
Do you have OJT programs in place. If not, why?