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Managing People - Methods of Training at Work

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

Induction training

Induction training is important as it enables a new recruit to become productive as quickly as possible.  It can avoid costly mistakes by recruits not knowing the procedures or techniques of their new jobs.  The length of induction training will vary from job to job and will depend on the complexity of the job, the size of the business and the level or position of the job within the business. 

The following areas may be included in induction training:

  • Learning about the duties of the job
  • Meeting new colleagues
  • Seeing the layout of the premises
  • Learning the values and aims of the business
  • Learning about the internal workings and policies of the business

On-the-job training

With on the job training, employees receive training whilst remaining in the workplace.
The main methods of one-the-job training include:

  • Demonstration / instruction - showing the trainee how to do the job
  • Coaching - a more intensive method of training that involves a close working relationship between an experienced employee and the trainee
  • Job rotation - where the trainee is given several jobs in succession, to gain experience of a wide range of activities (e.g. a graduate management trainee might spend periods in several different departments)
  • Projects - employees join a project team - which gives them exposure to other parts of the business and allow them to take part in new activities. Most successful project teams are "multi-disciplinary"

The advantages and disadvantages of this form of training can be summarised as follows:



Generally most cost-effective
Employees are actually productive
Opportunity to learn whilst doing
Training alongside real colleagues

Quality depends on ability of trainer and time available
Bad habits might be passed on
Learning environment may not be conducive
Potential disruption to production

Off-the-job training

This occurs when employees are taken away from their place of work to be trained.

Common methods of off-the-job training include:

  • Day release (employee takes time off work to attend a local college or training centre)
  • Distance learning / evening classes
  • Block release courses - which may involve several weeks at a local college
  • Sandwich courses - where the employee spends a longer period of time at college (e.g. six months) before returning to work
  • Sponsored courses in higher education
  • Self-study, computer-based training

The main advantages and disadvantages of this form of training can be summarised as follows:



A wider range of skills or qualifications can be obtained
Can learn from outside specialists or experts
Employees can be more confident when starting job

More expensive – e.g. transport and accommodation
Lost working time and potential output from employee
New employees may still need some induction training
Employees now have new skills/qualifications and may leave for better jobs

Training’s link to motivation

An important part of managing people is to let them know how they are performing. Various methods of performance appraisal can be used and an important output from this process should be an assessment of an employee’s training needs.  Training programmes should be focused on meeting those needs.

Assuming training is effective: then:

  • Employees feel more loyal to the business
  • Shows that business is taking an interest in its workers
  • Employees should benefit from better promotion opportunities
  • Employees to achieve more at work – and perhaps gaining financially from this (depending on the remuneration structure)

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