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Building Capability

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

on the job teaching for 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 (OTJ) training is a tried and tested method of learning delivery. But where is its place in building organisational capability? Given a capability is much more than a skill—a capability being a combination of personal and technical skills, knowledge, processes, tools and behaviours that are critical to an organisation’s success and future needs—the sheer variables involved mean on-the-job training will be successful in building capability.

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 the more experience team members to pass on institutional knowledge if they did happen to leave.

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

Organisational capability building is not as simple or binary as learning a one-off technical skill. In the pursuit of high performing capability building, there needs to be uplift in employee ability across skills, knowledge, behaviours, processes and tools.

For OTJ training, the challenge lies in how you design, develop, implement, evaluate and document at scale the nuanced complexities of a set capability. The other challenge you need to factor in is the fact you don’t always have one dedicated, and experienced, facilitator. You can be at the mercy of how people leaders or more senior team members interpret OTJ training and therefore deliver it.

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

Of course, you can build organisational capability without OTJ training. There are numerous other ways to deliver on learning and development priorities. The impact of not going with on-the-job training, though, is you miss a key moment where the rubber hits the road. Whilst online courses, classroom-setting education and offsite experiential learning all give you great learning moments, you miss an opportunity to truly embed learning and knowledge transfer, so it sticks, builds the capability needed, and goes on to have a business impact.

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