Is On-Job Training the Least Expensive Method?

Is On-Job Training the Least Expensive Method?

This question, or its corollary, “What will this training cost?”, is frequently considered when training is planned. This question is not, however, always the best one to address. For example, the least expensive training alternative is to do no training.

Unfortunately, some poorly run organizations use this approach, at least with some staff members.

A better question relates to “Is the training cost-effective?” This can only be answered by studying factors specific to the training situation. However, most training professionals agree that on-job training is best to teach physical skills such as operating a piece of equipment and the performance of a task such as following a standard recipe.

By contrast, group training is likely to be the best approach when several staff members must learn basic knowledge such as principles of guest relations or the basics of a new benefits package.

Improperly planned and delivered training will not be cost effective because the desired result (a staff member who can perform tasks meeting performance standards) is not likely to be attained.

It will be even less effective if it results in frustrated trainers and trainees who have not received the organizational support they require. This, in turn, can yield high employee turnover rates and/or disgruntled employees.


Question - Is On-Job Training the Least Expensive Method

Answer - Only if it is done well

The most expensive training is not training at all or providing poor, infrequent and inconsistent training. It doesn’t matter if it is done in a classroom, online or on the job because:

  1. Employees are not able to consistently meet the standards of the business
  2. Customers get poor, inconsistent or no service
  3. The business has difficulty attracting new customers or increasing sales
  4. Customers go to the competition
  5. The business loses key staff as they have no reason to stay
  6. The business has to spend more on advertising and recruitment
  7. The business closes down

I believe a good way to address the question is to reframe it to:

‘What is the most effective way to train?

And the answer to this question is different for each business, each training objective and each employee. Effective ultimately refers to does the training enable the employee to use their training/ learning in the workplace? And does it achieve the goal it set out (i.e sales training = more sales customer service training = happier customers etc)

To achieve this, you need to use a blended approach to training and learning (i.e. use more than one method) based on the training objective, the knowledge and skills of the employee, the resources to hand and the business model.

For example, having a group training session doesn’t work if all employees can’t make it, or providing a 30-minute training session on making an espresso for an employee with no experience and then expecting them to run the coffee machine.

Training is more than attending a one off formal learning event, it is what happens after the training that will determine if employees can or will apply their new knowledge or skills.

When the training is done you then need to have:

  1. a way for the employee to practice and refine their knowledge and skills without impacting service.
  2. a way to reinforce the learning in the workplace over the coming weeks (i.e team talks, knowledge quizzes, observation and feedback from a trainer)
  3. a way to measure the impact of the training so the employee/s can see how they are applying their new learning (i.e. sales results, improved confidence dealing with complaints, customer feedback about their coffees etc)

Afterall training without context is just information