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Running Head: MENTORING AND ON-THE-JOB TRAINING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentoring and Structured On-the-Job Training as Human Performance Technology Interventions

Michelle Purdie

Boise State University


Table of Contents

 

Abstract............................................................................................................................................ 3

Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 4

Mentoring Defined............................................................................................................................. 4

Benefits............................................................................................................................................. 7

Concerns.......................................................................................................................................... 8

Structured On-the-Job Training....................................................................................................... 15

Benefits........................................................................................................................................... 16

Concerns........................................................................................................................................ 16

DAPPER Model............................................................................................................................. 17

Conclusions and Recommendations................................................................................................. 20

 

 

Table of Figures

 

Figure 1 A Variety of Mentoring Relationships (Shea, 2002).............................................................. 5

Table 1 Benefits of Mentoring Programs............................................................................................ 7

Table 2 Organization Concerns and Suggested Preemptive Actions.................................................... 8

Figure 2 Facilitated Mentoring Flowchart (Murray, 2001).................................................................. 9

 


Abstract

 

As Human Performance Technologists we should become familiar with the potential interventions of mentoring and structured On-the-Job Training (OJT). The purpose of this paper is to familiarize the novice HP technologist with the basics of these two interventions, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and what is involved in instituting these two interventions in organizations.  The mentoring portion of the paper relies on the MMHA The Manager’s Mentors model adapted in Murray (2001). This model shows key stages in the implementation of a mentoring program. The OJT section of the paper follows Rothwell’s (1994) model called DAPPER which is an acronym for the stages making up the OJT implementation process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mentoring and Structured On-the-Job Training as Human Performance Technology Interventions

Introduction

            Mentoring and On-the-Job Training are two training based interventions that can be implemented in organizations. As HP novices it is a good idea to become familiar with interventions that can save organizations money when compared with the commonly prescribed classroom trainings.

            This paper guides the novice HP technologist toward an understanding of what these interventions consist of, the benefits and concerns, and the basics of a plan to implement either of these interventions.

Mentoring Defined

            The term mentoring means different things to different corporations. Shea (2002) identified four different types of mentoring relationships based on the structure (organized vs. informal) and length of time (short term vs. long term) of the relationship. These four types are expressed in Figure 1.

Figure 1 A Variety of Mentoring Relationships (Shea, 2002)

           

            This paper will look into the steps necessary to implement a highly-structured, long-term mentoring program into an organization. Therefore, mentoring is defined as “the deliberate pairing of a more skilled or more experienced person with a less skilled or less experienced one, with the mutually agreed goal of having the less skilled person grow and develop specific competencies” (Murray, 2001, p. xii).

            Many references (Daresh, 2001; Murray, 1999, 2001; Zachary, 2000) reviewed state similar definitions, making it a point to distinguish the following points:

·        Mentoring is deliberate

·        Mentoring is a pairing (only 2 people)

·        Difference in skill sets between mentor and protégé

·        Formalized program

·        Structure to the process

·        Goal is employee development

 

            As HP technologists, it will be important to understand what structured mentoring is as well as what it is not. We should be aware that there are less-formal, less-encompassing tactics that are also referred to as mentoring. In addition, there are interventions that are commonly confused with mentoring which include the use of role models, sponsors, and counselors.

            Role models positively influence others without a formalized program (Murray, 2001). A person can be a role model to another person without ever knowing it. Sponsors or advocates make promotional recommendations for co-workers (Murray, 2001). In most cases, the beneficiary is not aware of the sponsor’s support. Counselors have more of a one-way relationship with the employee. They offer advice and give an opportunity for the worker to express thoughts and feelings. It is seen as more of a one-way street because counselors generally limit their comments from their perspective, have less interaction with workers, and are not involved in the employee’s ongoing development process (Murray, 2001).

            Conversely, in a mentoring program there is a mutual one-on-one relationship set up through a formalized matching program. Another key difference is that both the mentor and the protégé enter into an agreement each stating the goals for the mentoring relationship. Depending on the length of the program, goals for either the protégé or the mentor may change. The goals for participants should be modified as needed.

            Structured long-term mentoring programs are used by organizations for two main reasons: succession planning where the mentor is planning to leave the organization and the replacement is in the protégé role, and career development where the mentor and protégé are focused on improving the skill set of the protégé. Other reasons for developing programs include retention strategies, technical skills transfer, and maximizing cultural diversity and gender diversity in an organization (Murray, 2001).

Benefits

            An effective mentoring program incorporated into an organization can have several positive consequences for the protégé, the mentor, and the organization as a whole. Murray (1999) introduced some of the positive and negative issues surrounding mentoring but did not tackle the subject of implementing such a program into an organization. The program development section of this paper will delve into the process of setting up a mentoring program.

            The majority of readings conducted for this paper indicated that protégés, mentors, and their organizations reap a multitude of benefits after mentoring programs are implemented. Murray (1999) offers a comprehensive list of benefits to these three groups as summarized below in Table 1:

Protégés

Mentors

Organization

Greater comprehension of business objectives

Enhanced influence in the organization

Increased productivity of mentors and protégés

More focused skill development

Improved career development skills (coaching, planning, providing feedback)

Stronger employee skills

Increased comfort level when making mistakes

Receiving professional assistance on projects

Little or no cost

Higher productivity and evaluations

Increased motivation

Better placement for protégés

Improved communication skills

Seeing differing views

Recruitment tool

Greater political awareness

Having ideas challenged

Retention of employees

Skill development across multiple disciplines

Improved esteem from helping others

Positive organizational image

Increased visibility

Reexamine habitual practices

Strategic goals shared

Greater teamwork skills

Seeing new perspectives of the organization

Succession planning

Table 1 Benefits of Mentoring Programs

 

Concerns

While there are many benefits of mentoring programs listed by Murray (1999), other authors also include important points about the common concerns surrounding mentoring interventions.  These concerns are summarized in Table 2 below with tips for circumventing the common issues.

 

Potential Problem

Suggested Action

The protégé will discontinue communication with their regular manager/neglect regular job duties in lieu of special mentoring projects

Both the mentor and the protégé should freely communicate with the manger about their interactions Murray (2001)

Lack of mentors available: not enough to assign all protégés

Encourage managers to nominate others for mentor roles, tie mentoring to goals and reviews, protégés request specific mentors (Murray, 2001).  Cohen (1995) adds that shy people will not step forward unless directly asked to be a mentor

Protégés believe it will entitle them to better positions

Important to inform protégés of what the program will entitle them to and what it will not entitle them to before they enter into a relationship (Murray, 2001)

Mentors will take credit for all the work their protégé produces

Make collaborative projects between mentors and protégés public (Murray, 2001)

Table 2 Organization Concerns and Suggested Preemptive Actions

 

Concerns exist whenever a new intervention is being considered so it is important as a HP technologist to understand how to curtail management’s concerns and lay fears to rest. The most common concern for organizations is that there will not be enough mentors for the protégés that want to begin the program. This is a valid concern. Microsoft’s website (2004) states that 3300 of their 57, 000 employees are currently in a mentoring relationship while another 1000 protégés are waiting to be matched with a mentor. To combat this issue, it would be a wise decision to launch a pilot group to begin with limited to a small group of trusted people for introduction into the mentoring program. The bugs and kinks can be worked out of the system in this first mentoring round.  When staff see the benefits that the program is having on the entire organization, the next round of the program will likely see more mentor volunteers.

Another common concern is that protégés will feel that being in such a program will entitle them to special privileges, opportunities, and advancement over people not in the mentoring program. Murray (2001) attributes this common belief to the fact that in several industries, especially the federal government, it has been a common practice to base promotions upon successful completion of a mentoring program. For most companies, however, it will be critical to inform potential protégés that successful completion of the mentoring program will not entitle them to special assignments, benefits, or promotions.

Program Development – MMHA model

Murray (2001) cites the facilitated mentoring implementation flowchart from MMHA The Managers Mentor. The chart consists of 12 phases in the development and implementation process. These phases are listed in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2 Facilitated Mentoring Flowchart (Murray, 2001)

 


Phase 1 and 2: Assess organizational goals and needs/Assess readiness

Gathering initial data is a key step in the model as it will be necessary to know the beginning point for the organization in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. As HP technologists we would identify gaps within the organization and determine if mentoring would be a cost-effective solution. It is important at this phase to include decision makers, other departments, human resources, and top management.

The next step in these two phases is to determine if this intervention will work in the organization. Future staffing needs will need to be examined. Murray (2001) recommends that workforce age, availability of college graduates, market trends, unemployment statistics, as well as the global economy all be addressed during this phase.  The organization’s views on training and development must be taken into consideration before beginning any serious leg-work on implementation. If an organization doesn’t support new training endeavors, a mentoring program will need to emphasize how it differs from traditional training programs. Support for the mentoring program will be initially viewed as a desire to provide development opportunities for employees. Murray (2001) also lists other key considerations:

·        Will mentors volunteer or be required?

·        Will the mentor-protégé relationship be 1:1?

·        Will a mentor support multiple protégés?

·        Will there be long-distance mentoring?

·        How long will relationships last?

·        Will there be a pilot group?

·        How many pairings will be run at a time? The first time?

·        Will there be cross-team pairings?

·        What will happen if a pairing fails?

·        Will we offer to only new-hires or current employees as well?

·        Will it be an ongoing program or have specific start and end dates for each group?

           

Data and statistics on recruiting, training time and costs, hiring practices, and promotions will need to be analyzed at the beginning phase for later use in the evaluation phase (Murray, 2001). If this isn’t addressed early in the development, there will be no baseline for comparing results of the mentoring program to; hence the HP technologist will not be able to determine whether if the program was successful.

Murray (2001) suggests that a team be put together to address situations as they arise during implementation. Policies and procedures should be defined as well as a communication plan for the entire organization to announce the initial program.

Phase 3 – Identify protégé group

            This phase will identify the groups of people that will be eligible for the program. Some large organizations may opt to include all new hires into the program, others may take current employees that volunteer, or target certain groups within the organization such as minorities, people within a certain department, or people lacking a particular skill.

            While this process is on-going, it will be important to advertise the program to recruit mentors (Murray, 2001). Interested participants should be welcomed but scrutinized. If good mentors are not chosen, the program will not be successful. Characteristics of individuals should be evaluated before agreeing to include them into the program as mentors. Multiple authors (Cohen, 1995; Murray, 2001; Shea, 2002) offer suggestions as to which characteristics potential mentors should have in order to be successful in the role:

·        Listening skills

·        Ability to motivate

·        Ability to provide constructive criticism

·        Coaching skills

·        Organizational knowledge

·        Patience

·        Supervisory skills

·        Technical competence

·        Willingness to share knowledge

 


Phase 4 – Develop process goals and plan

            Murray (2001, p. 78) defines this phase as “the outcomes sought from the mentoring process are documented..an action plan and timeline are created to guide the coordination team and other participants throughout the implementation”.

Phase 5 – Match mentors and protégés

            Matching should be made based on goals for the program, protégé’s desired objectives, and mentors experience levels. Personality will play into the equation as well. There are self-contained programs on the market that attempt to match participants based on personality or cognitive-affective traits (Cohen, 1995). Cohen (1995, p. 141) makes the important point that the goal is not to find a “perfect match” but rather one that is productive.

Phase 6 – Orient mentors and protégés

            After matches have been determined, the next phase is to offer an orientation to the participants. Protégés should receive skills practice on assertiveness training, communication skills, and career planning (Murray, 2001) while mentors should undergo a more elaborate session focusing on the following elements as outlined by Cohen (1995):

·        Establishing trust

·        Interpersonal dialogue skills

·        Responsive listening

·        The importance of asking open-ended questions

·        Nonverbal communication skills

·        Handling conflict

·        Giving descriptive feedback

·        Providing nonjudgmental advice

 


Phase 7 and 8 – Design development plan/Negotiate agreement

            This is a key stage where the mentor and protégé outline what is to be accomplished through the relationship. This can be formalized in a written agreement or left as an informal conversation. Murray (2001) suggests that during this phase the following items be addressed:

·        Protégé goals

·        Mentor goals for the protégé

·        Confidentiality

·        Duration of the relationship

·        Frequency of meetings

·        Time to be invested by each party

·        Mentor role

 

Cohen (1995) also suggests that a clear plan for including the coordinator and the protégé’s supervisor be included. This addition can deter one of the main concerns, where the organization fears that the protégé may neglect regular job duties and conversations with their manager, preferring to instead concentrate on special mentoring projects (Murray, 2001).

Phase 9 – Execute development plan

            The relationship builds as the development plan is put into practice. As the two people begin to understand skills and areas of expertise, there may be general modifications to the initial plan. Murray (2001, p. 79) states “this step is the core of the mentoring process and continues as long as the protégé wants to have assistance”.

Phase 10 – Facilitate experience exchanges

            The coordination team will likely want to be kept abreast of the mentoring relationship. In a formal or informal meeting, protégés and mentors discuss the progress and projects that have been undertaken. The coordinator may wish to follow-up privately with each person to obtain more feedback and discuss any issues with the program that may be experienced. This is a key step for the HP technologist who should be gathering information from mentors and protégés to use in the evaluation phase. The HP technologist should provide open-ended questions to all participants so as to receive honest feedback about issues. This feedback can then be used to modify the program, change the matching process, or to provide justification for the program.

Phase 11 – Conclude agreement

            A mentoring agreement can be concluded for a variety of reasons. Some companies establish mentoring pairings for two years while others go for a shorter amount of time. The initial length should be determined early in the implementation process so that mentors and protégés know the length of time commitment. Occasionally a mentoring agreement may need to be terminated early. This can happen if either employee leaves the company. A mentoring relationship may also need to be terminated early if it does not meet expectation of either party. This is commonly referred to as the “no-fault conclusion” (Murray, 2001).

            Something to be aware of as a HP technologist is the fact that after a successful mentoring relationship concludes, it can be upsetting to both the mentor and the protégé (Cohen 1995, Murray 2001). Months before it will formally end, there should be some formal discussions about how to make the transition easiest on all parties.

Phase 12 – Evaluating the process

            Evaluating the process takes place throughout the entire implementation. Programs should be continually modified based on feedback from participants and managers. When formalizing a summative evaluation of a mentoring program there are some specific issues Murray (2001) suggest be included:

·        Costs – determine if goals for the program and protégés were met. The performance of the protégés will need to be measured to draw conclusions about effectiveness of the program

·        Value to the organization – What good did the program do? Reduce turnover rates? Save money? Increase productivity? Get new hires up to productive levels quicker?

 

A key consideration to designing any intervention is to consider how a program will be evaluated before the intervention is put into place. If no thought is put into the evaluation criteria until the end of the program, you will find that you lack the initial data and thus cannot make comparisons as to how much has changed as a result of the intervention. During the execution of the mentoring plan, be sure to gather data from the mentor, protégés, and managers for later use in the very important evaluation phase.

 

Structured On-the-Job Training

            It is important to note that just as with mentoring programs, OJT can take a structured or unstructured approach. Unstructured OJT is more prevalent in the workforce and is less effective than structured OJT (Sullivan, 1985). Unstructured OJT usually happens when new employees arrive on scene and the manager tells them they will spend time with someone in the department casually observing the employee as they do their job. Rothwell (1994) notes that without a structured plan for the new employee, they are usually left floundering without guidance, trying to figure out how to ramp up in many different areas. 

            Rothwell (1994, p. 141) defines On-the-Job Training (OJT) as “planned instruction occurring on the job and during the work, centered around what workers need to know or do to perform competently”. Several authors identify common items central to OJT that distinguishes it form other training interventions:

·        Structured one-on-one training using skilled workers acting in training role

·        Train-the-trainer conducted by people with training background

·        Occurs at the worksite

·        Real work being done (not simulations)

·        Supporting materials developed by trainers

·        Objectives outlined

Benefits

Rothwell (1994) cites several benefits of a structured OJT program:

·        Shorter break-in periods for new hires

·        Relieves employee anxiety

·        Decreases turn over rates for new hires

·        Sound early warnings about employees lack of skills

·        Can address learning disabilities (3-16% or workforce)

 

            Each of these benefits can affect the bottom line of an organization therefore it is a valid intervention for use in Human Performance Improvement. Jacobs, Jones, and Neil (as cited in Jacobs, 1999) reported that structured OJT is four to five times more efficient than unstructured OJT.

Concerns

            OJT evolved out of a WWII need for large numbers of new workers to flood the job market and fill positions. New employees were often found to be lacking in basic manufacturing skills (Rothwell, 1994). Charles Allen developed a four step process for OJT which later evolved into seven stages of instruction referred to in short as JIT, Job Instruction Training (Huntzinger, 2002; Gold, 1981). The seven steps which made up JIT are remarkably similar to one stage in Rothwell’s DAPPER model which is discussed later. For many years, JIT was the standard approach to training on the job but the approach fizzled out with the advent of emerging instructional technologies (Jacobs & McGiffen as cited in Rothwell, 1994). As a result of the lapse in usage of JIT/OJT, it is noteworthy there is not a lot of literature on the topic. There has been a return to OJT in the past decade as more research conducted has proved that this training method is less costly than classroom training and can have immediate influence on worker performance (Jacobs, 1999).

            Rothwell (1994) raises other concerns, the most important of which is that stakeholders may not value OJT because they may not have been educated to know the difference between structured and unstructured OJT. Stakeholders may automatically assume that a recommendation for OJT is a plan for job shadowing. They may not realize all of the planning that will go into this intervention. It will be up to the HP technologist to make sure that all parties are informed.

DAPPER Model

            Rothwell (1994) sets forth a model called DAPPER which is an acronym for the different elements making up an implementation procedure for structured OJT. DAPPER stands for:

            Discover needs for OJT

            Analyze work, worker, and workplace for OJT

            Prepare OJT

            Present OJT

            Evaluate the results

            Review aids and alternatives

 

D - Discover needs for OJT

The first step in the DAPPER model is to discover if the organization has a valid need for OJT. Rothwell (1994) proposes a series of seventeen questions which are combined below. A yes answer to any question indicates that OJT could be a viable intervention.

·        Is the individual new (to the organization, department, work unit, job)?

·        Does the individual lack knowledge (in terms of job function, knowing when to perform, performance standards, importance of job, where the job is performed)?

·        Have job functions changed?

·        Are differing learning needs required?

·        Have performance obstacles been removed (and there is still a problem)?

·        Is OJT more cost effective than other solutions?

·        Can workplace distractions/health and safety hazards be minimized while conducting the OJT?

·        Is there adequate time and staff to support the OJT?

 


A - Analyze work, worker, and workplace for OJT

 

The second step in the model is analysis. As we’ve seen with other analysis models, there are some standard items that need to be addressed during any analysis process. Rothwell (2004) suggests breaking the analysis into separate steps for the work, the worker, and the workplace. Key items to address during this step are:

·        Collect background information

·        Obtain draft job descriptions

·        Specify minimum skills and abilities

·        Develop assessment methods

·        Prepare the OJT plan and schedule

 

P - Prepare OJT

 

Rothwell’s (1994) third stage of implementation is to prepare the instructional materials. Typically a trainer or instructional designer produces the materials. Rothwell’s outline for this stage consists of:

·        Prepare training objectives

·        Determine the sequence of instruction

·        Work with subject matter experts to identify content

·        Design materials (outlines, checklists, lesson plans, contracts, reading lists)

 

P – Present the training

                       

The fourth stage in the DAPPER model is to present the training. This occurs in two main parts: conducting a train-the-trainer session for the experienced worker and then having that experienced worker train the new employee (whether they are new to the organization, department, etc.). Key events in this stage consist of:

·        Develop skill guidelines that the experienced trainer should possess

·        Conduct train-the-trainer sessions

·        Deliver the OJT

 

In this stage the experienced worker will deliver the instruction to the new worker. Rothwell expands on the JIT method developed in the 1930’s and 1940’s (Wickert, 1974); he stresses the importance of having the experienced workers understand the following stages of instruction:

·        Arrange work area

·        Set learner at ease

·        Show learner how to perform

·        Explain key points

·        Show how to perform again

·        Let learner do the simpler parts

·        Let learner perform the job as the trainer (experienced employee) watches

·        Let learner perform the whole job alone

·        Put learner on their own, with occasional feedback

 

Once the experienced worker understands the series of events that will take place from their perspective (as well as the learner’s) they then deliver the instruction to the learner on the jobsite while doing the actual work.

E – Evaluate the results

 

Rothwell (1994) suggests using Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation and claims that this step is the easiest in the entire DAPPER model. Level 1 would evaluate participant’s reactions through surveys, smile sheets, or informal talks. Level 2 would evaluate the actual learning through trainer feedback and notes or possibly an exam. Level 3 is intended to evaluate behavioral change. Did the training affect the learner’s performance on the job? This can be accomplished through the use of behavioral checklists, observations, and performance appraisals. Level 4 should evaluate the organizational results. What does it mean for the company? Do the results justify the time, money, and effort put into this intervention? This is where the HP technologist would conduct an ROI and look at frequency values of the time it now takes the worker (the learner) to perform the task at hand versus the frequency value before OJT.

R – Review Aids and Alternatives

 

The final step in the model is to review aids and alternatives to OJT. At first glance this may seem out of place - like maybe this should take place in the first stage when evaluating if OJT is an appropriate intervention. Further reading into this stage though reveals that what is being recommended is that a review be conducted to determine the programs effectiveness, in essence taking the information gathered in the evaluation stage and putting together a formal review. Rothwell (1994) suggests looking at whether additional job aids would increase the effectiveness of the intervention. Key considerations for the HP technologist are convenience of alternatives, cost, and time considerations. Rothwell (1994) makes mention of possible interventions that could supplement the OJT program:

·        Lecture

·        Small group in-service training

·        Demonstration

·        Field trips

·        Behavior modeling via film

·        Case studies

·        Role-play

·        Job aids

·        Manuals

 

Conclusions and Recommendations

 

In summary, this paper discussed formalized programs for both mentoring and On-the-Job Training. It also looked at the benefits, concerns, and models for implementing two different training based interventions. As a HP technologist, you should remember that these are the structured approaches to these interventions and that many organizations may say that they already have these programs in place, when in reality they may have taken a more informal approach.

            As a HP technologist, we should easily see the value that such interventions can bring to an organization when properly implemented. The HP technologies will probably have the initial reaction that these two interventions would be successful when implemented for new hires. We should also consider the implementation of these two interventions for existing employees. After all, don’t you think they would benefit from these methods as well?

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 


References

Cohen, N. H. (1995). Mentoring adult learners: A guide for educators and trainers. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.

Daresh, J.C. (2001). Leaders helping leaders: A practical guide to administrative mentoring. 2 ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.

Gold, L. (1981). Job instruction: Four steps to success [Electronic version]. Training & Development Journal 35(9), 28-32.

Huntzinger, J. (2002). The roots of lean [Electronic version]. Target 18(1), 6-19. Retrieved September 27, 2004, from http://www.tdo.org/twi/RootsofLean.pdf

Jacobs, R. L. (1999). Structured on-the-job training. In H. Stolovitch & E. Keeps (Eds), Handbook of human performance technology: Improving individual and organizational performance worldwide. 2 ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.

Mentors give and receive. (2004). Microsoft careers website.  http://www.microsoft.com/careers/newsletter/mentors

Murray, M. (2001). Beyond the myths and magic of mentoring. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.

Murray, M. (1999). Performance improvement with mentoring. In H. Stolovitch & E. Keeps (Eds), Handbook of human performance technology: Improving individual and organizational performance worldwide. 2 ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.

Rothwell, W.J., & Kazanas, H.C. (1994). Improving on-the-job training. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.

 

Shea, G. F. (2002). Mentoring: How to develop successful mentor behaviors. 3 ed. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications, Inc.

Sullivan, R. F., & Miklas, D. C. (1985). On-the-job training that works [Electronic version]. Training & Development Journal 39(5), 118-121.

Wickert, F. R. (1974). The famous JIT card: A basic way to improve it [Electronic version]. Training & Development Journal 28(2), 6-10.

Zachary, L.J. (2000). The mentor’s guide: Facilitating effective learning relationships. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.