On-the-job learning is one of the best and most effective methods for developing your competencies. In fact, various studies have been carried out and generally, 60-70% of actual learning takes place while working on a task or on the job. The remaining 30-40% of learning takes place through other methods, such as reading and observing.
So, how do you learn on a Job? It is learning by doing.
Many adults have revealed that the workplace is the best because it’s familiar and they are comfortable in their surroundings. But how does it work, and how can you make it work for you?
Set learning objectives
You think to yourself, “Hmm. My job would be easier if I knew how to create proposal documents myself, rather than having to wait until Sharon is in to do it for me.” What you’ve done here is recognize that you’re lacking skills somewhere that, if you had them, would make your work-life easier. And Sharon’s work-life, too, since you wouldn’t have to pester her for help every time you needed a new proposal created.
Identifying where you can make an improvement is the starting point of learning on the job. After spotting where you might be lagging behind in your development, you can do what you need to remedy it.
“Let me Google the ‘How To Create Proposals’ and see what’s what… It can’t be that hard, right?” By taking the first step, you’re embarking on your learning journey. You’ve identified that you need to improve some facet of your working and now you’re making a positive action to do so.
In this case, you’re using the help of Google, but taking action could come in many different forms: asking your manager if you can go on a training course, or seeking out the expertise of a mentor to give you advice. Even downloading an eBook on ‘improving your sales’ or spending an hour or two researching how best to network on LinkedIn counts.
Shadow those in-the-know
Job shadowing is a type of on-the-job employee job training in which a new employee or an employee desiring to become familiar with a different job, follows and observes a trained and experienced employee. If you’re starting out at a startup, there’s unlikely to be a training program, so perhaps you’ll need to set up time with a nearby colleague, a new team member or your manager.
For visual learners, a quick walkthrough of what you need to do can get you started and comfortable with the process at hand. Also, it builds trust with someone who has a little bit of confidence with how things work. Take good notes and follow the process, and you may walk away from your first day with enough fuel to power through until you find your stride.
If you’re new at your workplace and trying to learn what the job entails, note this: you may never get the chance for a formal introduction to your new job, but asking questions is a great way to learn the ropes while also getting to know your co-workers.
With a good support force around you, the ability to look at your new job and inquire about the best application of your skills will be met with both graciousness and hopefully some strong teaching moments. Try not to interrupt colleagues with one question after another (they have work to get done, too!), but keep a running list as you dive in, and address a number of queries at once.
Did you find these tips helpful? Tell us in the comments!