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Financial Benefits of Structured On-the-Job Training (S-OJT)

Over the past forty years, S-OJT has been the subject of much research. For more information, we refer you to a review of literature that I co-authored with my colleague Dr. Sahar Amadi, that was published in the journal, Human Resource Development Review.

Our own research over the years has been on the financial benefits when using S-OJT compared to other training options including classroom training, unstructured OJT, and online learning programs.

Here is a summary of the conclusions:

  1. S-OJT consistently reduces the time to learn by a factor of four. That is, if it takes four weeks to learn to perform a particular task using OJT, then it will take one week with S-OJT. The one to four relationship holds steady across jobs – frontline, supervisory, or professional – and for both routine and more complex nonroutine tasks.

  2. The financial benefits from using S-OJT range from 1:2 to 1:8. That is, one unit of financial investment typically results in two to eight units in financial return.

  3. Employees who learn a task through S-OJT make fewer errors when performing the task later on, follow standards more thoroughly, and have greater confidence to perform what is expected.

  4. There is evidence that supervisors have more confidence in employees who learn through S-OJT and there is lower turnover rates among employees who have been trained through S-OJT.

Most would agree these outcomes are impressive. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is that S-OJT is usually among the least costly training option. Simply put, implementing S-OJT has proven a sound investment when measuring the results from its use.

This same emphasis on cost awareness and financial benefits has carried over in our thinking related to SiTUATE, the digital version of S-OJT. Most readers know from experience that learning technology can be extremely expensive. Unfortunately, few vendors today seem concerned with the results from using their systems.

SiTUATE differs by intentionally seeking to follow the precedent established by S-OJT. Simply put, to ask the question whether SiTUATE results in financial benefits greater than its cost? This question is fundamental to good HR practice and will be examined as part of the upcoming SiTUATE pilot projects starting this Fall. We certainly believe SiTUATE will produce results similar to that of traditional face-to-face, paper-based S-OJT, but we can’t make this claim without objective proof.

Would you like more information about SiTUATE or the methodology used to analyze the financial benefits? If so, we look forward to hearing from you. Also, we'd be happy to share reprints of many of the journal articles and papers we’ve authored over the years.

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