OJT Best Practices: Part I

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on April 21, 2017

The retirement of millions of experienced and knowledgeable workers is creating a situation similar to that during World War II. At that time in history, the incumbent manufacturing workforce went off to fight, leaving a skills gap. A “new” workforce was needed – and had to be trained quickly. (Hello Rosie the Riveter!)

While the reasons are different, the need to train quickly, and effectively, is once again a priority today.

Companies across the country are starting to recognize that a strong on-the-job (OJT) standardized work program is a driver of manufacturing competiveness. In a two-part blog series, we’ll explore OJT best practices. Here are the first three of six best practices.

  • Standardized Tools. Performance-based training programs require the use of standardized OJT tools and techniques to ensure consistent delivery of training. One tool is an OJT guide that outlines instructor and trainee activities, learning objectives, training content, and the resources (equipment, material, etc.) necessary to consistently conduct training. “A reduction in variation through standardized work translates to the bottom line,” said Craig Johnson, learning and development specialist, Malnove. He said this approach can help reduce turnover and boost productivity.
  • Train the Trainer. Spending time educating those who work closely with new and existing team members is imperative for success. Frontline supervisors need to be given the skills to properly train and mentor their workforce. Without this critical competency, these managers will contribute to attrition in high numbers. For instance, Malnove has identified two trainers per plant. Johnson said, “We want to ensure the message is standard, no matter who delivers it or where.”
  • Create Clear Progression Models. A methodical and visible standardized learning and development program, including OJT, will build strong teams. Employees, especially millennials, desire documented expectations, and plans to help them reach those expectations and beyond. Tribal knowledge — the informal dissemination of information by more senior employees — is no longer enough. “If employees are not trained properly, they will not have the confidence to do their job and will be come unhappy and search for other opportunities,” warns Mari Burt, training and wellness coordinator, Asahi Kasei Plastics.

Do you already have these best practices in place? Others? We’d love to hear from you.

Remember to check back next week for OJT Best Practices: Part II. If you don’t want to wait, download a copy of our complimentary white paper, “Back to the Future: On-the-Job Training,” to learn more about standardized work programs.

Tags: "Asahi Kasei Plastics", "Craig Johnson", Malnove, manufacturing, OJT, "on-the-job training", "Rosie the Riveter", "standardized work program", "Tooling U-SME", "Train the Trainer", training, "World War II"