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Building Capability

Why You Need to Use On-the-Job Teaching for Building Organisational Capability


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Let’s start with a quick definition so we’re all on the same page… On-the-job teaching is the practical process of equipping employees with necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours directly in the environment in which the employee works.

Why is on-the-job teaching good for building organisational capability?

On-the-job training is a tried and tested method of learning delivery. Where it slots into building capability is the uniqueness of each capability.

Let’s take a step back. A capability is a particular combination of skills, knowledge, processes and behaviours, all of which are critical to your organisation. What makes a capability unique to your business is how it is used—or in other words, performed.  

Whilst skills are great for the classroom, elements like processes and behaviours are best learnt on the job. This ensures faster training, quicker adaptation and application, and the ability for more experience team members to pass on institutional knowledge that otherwise isn’t documented. 

What are the challenges of on-the-job-teaching for building organisational capability?

When it comes on the job training, the challenge lies in how you design, develop, implement, evaluate and document the nuanced complexities of a specific capability. If there isn’t an organisation-wide understanding—or function-wide understanding, given the type of capability—of the purpose for and performance of a capability, you may find different employees will teach it in different ways.

The other challenge you need to factor in is that you don’t always have one dedicated, experienced facilitator. You can be at the mercy of how people leaders or more senior team members interpret optimal performance, and therefore how hands on or helpful they are in training another employee. That’s before you consider if they’re demonstrating the correct way to perform a capability in the context of your organisation’s goals.  

What is the impact of not using on-the-job teaching when building organisational capability?

Of course, you can still build organisational capability without OTJ training. Modules, virtual classrooms and online courses all have a time and place when it comes to L&D.

But you miss a key moment where the rubber hits the road if you skip on-the-job training altogether. Whilst online courses, classroom-setting education and offsite experiential learning all give you great learning moments (and accessibility for all employees), you miss an opportunity to truly embed learning and knowledge transfer so it sticks, builds the capability to the required standard, and has the desired business impact. 

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