Job instruction training, or JIT, is a simple step-by-step technique that is used to train new employees when they first start a job. It is an effective way to teach specific procedures to people or help them to develop a manual skill that their job requires.
In most circumstances, JIT is provided by the supervisor of the new employee. Some organizations may have a training department which develops these skills as part of the new employee orientation process. These responsibilities are sometimes delegated to a co-worker or team member as well.
There are several unique advantages and disadvantages which are associated with this job training method. Here is a look at the key points of using job instruction training in the workplace.
List of the Advantages of Job Instruction Training
1. It promotes higher levels of employee safety.
When new employees are properly trained, it promotes a safe work environment for everyone. Job instruction training includes testing and supervised experience to ensure each person operates equipment assets and machinery using current best practices. That allows every person to follow the same steps when performing job functions, which reduces the number of potential accidents that may happen.
2. It creates higher levels of productivity.
With an effective job instruction training program in place, new workers can go through one day of intensive training and then begin to get to work. That makes it possible for new workers to begin new projects without needing to wait for an assignment to come their way. JIT programs can also be designed to take place over multiple days to build different skill tiers over time, which further increases the productivity of the employee without compromising their safety.
3. It is cheaper than other training methods.
For most new workers, job instruction training is paid on-the-job training. That means there is an incentive to show up for work. They’ll get the tools and knowledge required to become good at their new job. This creates a cost savings for the organization because the new workers have a good idea of what they need to do. Without this knowledge, they would be forced to access the experience of other team members, which would slow production down and make things more expensive.
4. It maintains best practices.
Companies follow best practices at multiple levels because it is the fastest, cheapest, and safest way to complete work. Job instruction training exposes new workers to these best practices, making it more likely that specific standards will be maintained in the workplace. For firms that are required to meet specific regulatory requirements, JIT is one of the most effective ways to introduce safety and production training without impacting the quality of the working environment for everyone.
5. It is a simple method of learning.
When people are able to see a task being performed, then can perform the same task themselves, then more information is retained than in other learning methods. An individual may retain just 5% of the information received if the training process involves lectures or textbook reading. When working one-on-one with something while being able to safely practice a new skill, up to 90% of the new information can be retained. That is why JIT is one of the most practical ways to teach new employees your best practices.
6. It reduces outside influences.
Job instruction training reduces the need to hire outside consultants, trainers, or experts to get your new hires up to speed on what they need to do. That further reduces the expenses you’ll pay to train each new employee. You just assign specific tasks to the trainer, who then shows the employee what needs to be done and how it should be completed. Most firms are able to reduce their in-class training needs when adopting JIT best practices for new workers.
7. It gives new workers more confidence.
When new workers start a project for the first time, their confidence levels will make or break the productivity they have. Confident workers will put their heads down to get the job done. Workers with confidence issues may be afraid to ask questions, which might lead to inadequate or incomplete work that is unexpected. With job instruction training, you’re able to reduce the nervousness found in new workers, which improves their overall confidence levels.
8. It creates a systematic approach.
When you have specific procedures in place to follow for job instruction training, then you have created a systematic approach where everyone can learn the same way. You can create a verified level of training by requiring the new worker and the employee responsible for training to sign-off on the specific procedures that were followed. That creates clear step-wise execution for each required task, making it easier to identify places where you could still improve production levels.
List of the Disadvantages of Job Instruction Training
1. It still carries a training cost.
No one is able to get away from training costs unless a new worker is already familiar with internal policies and procedures. With job instruction training, you’ll be taking the resources of at least one person away from their usual duties unless their primary role in the firm is training. For some positions, workers may be required to obtain certain certifications or mandated training at other locations, which would also represent a potentially substantial cost as part of the orientation process.
2. It is only as good as the trainer.
JIT requires a knowledgeable trainer for this process to be effective. If the employee is being trained by someone who does not have the skills necessary for the job, then the new worker will not be as productive as they could be. Some trainers may be disgruntled with their employment and purposely attempt to sabotage the training process for new workers. You’re taking a risk with JIT because the training process is difficult to supervise all the time.
3. It creates a time requirement which must be met.
Job instruction training is most effective when a trainer works with a new employee until the skill or knowledge required of them is built to a satisfactory level. Far too often, new workers are only given the basics because trainers are asked to help train and complete their own duties simultaneously. That creates a rushed training process, which can reduce productivity and worker effectiveness over time.
4. It reduces corporate control of the training process.
JIT makes it easier for workers to pick up bad habits that you might not want to have in the workplace. A common issue with job instruction training is the “this is how we’ve always done things” syndrome. You might have new best practices that you want everyone to use. Long-term employees may be used to doing things a different way. Instead of teaching the new processes, they may teach new workers the older methods that are no longer effective. Over time, that makes it more difficult to have a business perform at a level which you would deem to be acceptable.
5. It may create a disturbance in the workplace.
When you have job instruction training taking place, you will often have two workers doing the job of one worker until the training is complete. That creates a disturbance at times, as it interferes with the usual routine of the workplace. Training discussions can become distractions. Distractions can create more safety issues in the workplace. To counter this issue, some firms may need to create designated times of JIT to ensure safety and productivity levels are properly maintained.
6. It does not prevent all accidents.
The nature of workplace accidents is that they are unexpected. You can plan for the worst-case scenario and still have something unanticipated go wrong. JIT works to reduce this issue in the workplace. Thinking that job instruction training will eliminate accidents is an unrealistic expectation. All it takes is one trainee, not hearing an instruction correctly, to cause an accident that could be very costly.
7. It can reduce team productivity levels.
For some firms, it may be more effective to work a person short on a team than to add a new team member into the mix. Job instruction training requires a project to be completed simultaneously with the training process. This divides the attention of the team, which reduces their productivity levels. The average person loses up to 15 minutes of full productivity every time they are forced to switch between tasks. With JIT, up to 2 productive hours per team member could be lost by adding a new team member.
The advantages and disadvantages of job instruction training focus on getting new workers productive right away. If you have a great trainer, then you can reduce the time and expense associated with the training process. If not, JIT could set your company back more than the other training methods which may be available to you.