Having an on-the-job training (OJT) program is a mutually beneficial way for future young professionals to learn real-life skills and for companies to gain fresh new talent and find high-potential employees. Internships are meant to be educational for both parties; the company and the interns, so it’s important to focus on ways to add value in your OJT program.

How an OJT Program Benefits Companies

  • Companies can learn a lot from interns; pick their brains about industry trends, listen to their views on current events in their field, and watch how they apply what they’ve learned in their classes to your business. For example, a college student could have more knowledge about recent technology. Picture a senior manager who hasn’t had any experience with social media versus a college student who understands how to set up a company Facebook page.
  • When you establish a popular OJT program, your company can attract top job applicants instead of having to search for them. Developing an educational, beneficial internship can attract your future top employees, and the OJT period gives you time to discover their work habits, skills, and how they fit into the company culture.
  • Interns bring fresh ideas and could help solve long-standing problems with a new perspective. If you’re stuck on something at work, try having your intern take a look at it. You might be surprised.

Creating a Successful, Educational OJT Program

Creating and structuring an OJT program takes plenty of dedication and attention to detail. In order to meet all the regulations of an OJT program and to ensure benefit on both sides, a program coordinator must plan out every step of the program. Below are a few tips to help you in planning a successful OJT program for your company.

  • Have a few clear and tangible goals of what an intern should accomplish by the end of his or her OJT. These goals could be as simple as “write three press releases” or as vast as “design a year-long marketing campaign.”
  • Select your ideal interns from a large pool of applicants by utilizing a proven screening process to ensure they are a good fit for their responsibilities and your company.
  • Make sure your intern isn’t exclusively doing clerical tasks day-to-day. Your OJT program should not consist mostly of filing papers, inputting data, or other meaningless repetitive tasks.
  • Design the internship as if you were training a future employee to handle an important role in your company.
  • Your interns should not replace regular employees, but instead should work with your experienced staff members to learn from them.
  • Design the program so interns experience multiple sides of your company. One week could be spend learning about HR, then marketing, then operations, and so on.

What do you think is the most important part of an OJT program?

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick