If you estimated the number of hours you spend preparing for, attending, and arranging meetings every week, would you guess that these activities eat up 15% of your week? 20%? For many professionals—especially middle managers—this number can get as high as 35% of their work week, according to The Muse.
Considering that job training for just a few hours a week can bridge the skills gap, help your team members become more productive, and lead to greater employee retention, it’s time to allot some of those wasted meeting hours to on-the-job training instead. You may not be able to create more hours in the day but you can use the ones you have more effectively.
Most Of Us Don’t Pay Attention, Anyway
Let’s be honest: you’re not taking notes during the weekly strategy meeting, you’re striving for your high score in Candy Crush. You’re not alone! 92% of people admit to multitasking during meetings, most often playing around on their phones or checking email. It is not surprising that executives believe nearly 70% of meetings are ineffective.
Cancel some of those distracted weekly meetings or at the very least, cut down the time spent in them. Studies show that meeting fatigue kicks in right around the 52-minute mark. By calling discussions only when absolutely necessary and then capping those meetings at 60 minutes, you should have at least a few more hours a week to devote to training your staff.
Job Training: What’s The Big Deal?
Why are we pushing for fewer meetings and more job training? No, we don’t have a vendetta against workplace powwows (we love Candy Crush as much as the next person). It is because nearly half of employers claim that in-demand skills are in short supply, and more than 50% of candidates believe that inadequate on-the-job training is to blame.
Your team members want to be better—87% of Millennials consider professional development very important to them in a job—they just don’t know how. The following types of job training can help employees take their skills to the next level while helping your company retain talent and promote internally.
5 On-The-Job Training Strategies That Every Manager Should Try
1. Building On Employees’ Strengths
Although it may be tempting to try to “fix” employees’ weaknesses, it is much more beneficial to leverage their strengths. According to Gallup, team members who do work that leverages their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job, increasing team morale and resulting in greater productivity that can drive profits.
Work with employees to identify their strengths (if you need additional help, consider using Gallup’s StrengthsFinder or another similar test—who doesn’t like personality quizzes?) and then give your team members the opportunity to use these talents on a daily basis.
Mentoring pairs are ideal for swapping skills and perspectives, as well as building better relationships across departments or age demographics. Google, for instance, insists upon top-down coaching starting from their senior leadership team; senior leaders help to train managers and managers coach their subordinates.
Best of all, partnering a veteran employee with a less experienced one is free for your company. Hint hint… this means you can implement a mentoring system today!
3. Bringing in Outside Help
Customized training programs or coaching can transform your informal job training efforts into a formalized, automated process. If your company is struggling with consistent implementation or has yet to see results from your on-the-job training efforts, consider sourcing outside help such as a growth coach or leadership development professional.
Tip: Having trouble engaging your remote workers? Try these 8 tactics to build a closer, more invested remote team.
4. Lunch and Learns
Another low-cost job training option, lunch and learns are collaborative lunch get-togethers aimed at swapping knowledge. Twice a month, get your coworkers together to cross-train on job duties, share industry insights, or discuss relevant work-life topics. Earn extra popularity points by catering the lunches rather than requiring brown bags!
Training for new employees is among the most important types of on-the-job training. It not only makes a (hopefully) positive first impression, but also sets the right expectations and helps employees become more productive, faster.
Additionally, 69% of team members are more likely to stay with your organization for at least 3 years if they undergo formalized onboarding from the get-go.
Don’t forget that onboarding is not just for new employees; recently promoted managers usually need a helping hand when adjusting to their expanded responsibilities. A strategic manager onboarding program can lead to better leaders and more engaged teams.
Learn more about how onboarding benefits your bottom line and your people. Download our free whitepaper, “Why Onboarding?”