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Why Do Organizations Need to Provide Job Shadowing for On-the-Job Training?


Why Do Organizations Need to Provide Job Shadowing for On-the-Job Training?

Job Shadowing Allows an Employee to Explore a Coworker's Job

Nicholas Sutcliffe
Question: Why Do Organizations Need to Provide Job Shadowing for On-the-Job Training?

Job shadowing, as a form of on-the-job training, is an effective method for helping employees develop their knowledge, skills, and experience. Use it to accomplish these goals. Job shadowing:

  • is an essential component of onboarding new employees;

  • helps employees absorb the values, norms, and standards of an organization because the employee sees them in everyday action and application in the work environment;
  • allows an employee to see and then, demonstrate and practice job skills in action;

  • helps an employee develop relationships with current employees, customers, and vendors;

  • allows current employees to gain broader and deeper knowledge about a variety of jobs and functions in the company.

  • provides an alternative when lateral moves, transfers, and promotions are not currently available to assist in employee development.

  • serves as a trial when an employee is unsure about whether to accept a transfer or promotion.

  • gives an employee insight into the challenges offered by different jobs. This insight and knowledge helps the employee explore potential career paths within the company.

Job Shadowing Options in the Workplace

Job shadowing is an essential component of your workplace on-the-job training. As such, it deserves time and attention.

  • As a critical component in onboarding, its purpose, goals and content should be planned as part of the onboarding process. The role of the buddy, mentor, or other significant employees who participate in job shadowing needs to be carefully thought out and designed with the above purposes in mind.

  • As a component of your organization's on-the-job training and career exploration offerings, job shadowing should also be planned with the above purposes in mind.

  • Some organizations hold career exploration days or opportunities during which current employees are matched with or select another employee to learn about their job. This job shadowing can involve following the employee around for a day or engaging in job shadowing at particular events over several days or weeks. At the TechSmith Corporation, employees set up and implemented a "Take An Employee to Work" day. Their goal was to create team cohesiveness by helping employees have a better understanding of the challenges and components of another employee's job.

Managed well and carefully planned, job shadowing is an effective component of your organization's on-the-job training.

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