Page 3: On-the-job training
On-the-job training is training that takes place while employees are actually working. It means that skills can be gained while trainees are carrying out their jobs. This benefits both employees and the business. Employees learn in the real work environment and gain experience dealing with the tasks and challenges that they will meet during a normal working day. The business benefits by ensuring that the training is specific to the job. It also does not have to meet the additional costs of providing off-the-job training or losing working time.
There are several methods of providing on-the-job training. Four frequently used methods are briefly described here:
- Coaching – an experienced member of staff will help trainees learn skills and processes through providing instructions or demonstrations (or both).
- Mentoring – each trainee is allocated to an established member of staff who acts as a guide and helper. A mentor usually offers more personal support than a coach, although the terms ‘mentor’ and ‘coach’ are often used interchangeably.
- Job rotation – this is where members of staff rotate roles or tasks so that they gain experience of a full range of jobs.
- ‘Sitting next to Nellie’ – this describes the process of working alongside a colleague to observe and learn the skills needed for a particular process. This can be a faster and more useful way of learning a job role than studying a written manual. The colleague is always on hand to answer any questions or deal with any unexpected problems.
Store managers act as trainers
For most on-the-job training at Aldi stores, the store manager acts as the trainer. A typical format is for the manager to explain a process to the trainee, then to demonstrate it. The trainee then carries out the process, while the manager observes. Once the manager is happy that trainees are competent, they can then carry out the process unaided. This process is used, for example, to teach a store assistant how to operate the till and to instruct a trainee manager how to order stock accurately.
All positions from apprentices through to trainee area managers follow this type of structured ‘tell, show, do’ training. Trainee area managers also undergo job rotation. They have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the business to give them a complete overview of how Aldi operates. They can then see how each department and business operation relates to and links with other parts of the company and other processes.