3 Ways To Develop Your People “On The Job”


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As per some of the most top trending HR Blogs and Research, the best way to develop people in a company is by way of assigning them “On The Job”.

Whatever said and done, what is taught in MBA schools is plain theory and what one learns working in an organisation is purely through practical application or “Hands On Training”.

Below are some of the pre-requisites to ensure this happens smoothly:


Before even starting off a project, its imperative that all the members in the team are aligned to each other in a positive way to help each other grow.

If an employee is looked at as inconsistent or there is no rapport thats been created between the team and the leader, then every attempt in developing the team will be futile.

Hence, the first step in playing a constructive role in employee development is establishing healthy relationships with your direct reports/team members.


Besides the the daily routine work that employees have, the best way to develop their skills is by assigning them to a project that is outside their comfort zone or something that they haven’t tried out before.

We all know that everyone can do exceptionally well in the areas that they are familiar and comfortable with.

But, the real challenge is to pursue something you’ve never done before and see how you perform. This is considered as a “Stretch Role”.

Working through stretch positions can sharpen a part of skill or strength that an employee may not have developed otherwise.

Along with this, there has to be constant communication between the teams and the leader constantly guiding, helping resolve challenges in order to complete the project successfully otherwise the project is being put at risk and neither the company nor the employees benefit from this.

Once a project is completed, you should provide your employee with honest feedback, discussing what went right, what went wrong, and what lessons were learned.

Below are examples of On-The-Job experiences that you may wish to offer for your employees:

  • Filling in for a manager who is on vacation
  • On boarding/Induction of New Employees
  • Taking up a particular Project and managing it from Start to Finish
  • Developing a New Product/Service
  • Conducting a Briefing Session or running a Team Meeting
  • Teaching a Process or Course to a Team


Once the project is successfully completed, a great way to understand the positives as well as fix the negatives is by asking the following questions:

  • What was the Project all about? What were the  Objectives of this Project?
  • What were the Actual Results? Create a Consensus around the same
  • What were the differences between the Goals we set and the Actual Results?
  • How did this gap occur? (Identify the points during the project that caused the undesirable results).
  • How do we work around this next time? (Create a Project Plan with all the lessons learned so that this can be effectively used for future projects that are on the same line or can be given to other teams who are working on a similar project).


Research indicates that Peer Networks and On-The-Job experiences contribute maximum to Employee Learning that Classroom Training which means Managers should look beyond their Organisations’ Training Catalogues to develop their employees.

This reduces the re-occurence of the same mistakes by the employees and the employees capture the lessons of the experience.

Over to you? What have your experiences been on employee development?

Origin: Human Resources Blog

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