Currently, companies in many industries are battling against a lack of appropriately capable candidates. The skilled trades labor shortage is particularly problematic, causing many companies to reevaluate their approaches when it comes to training new hires.

But how much on-the-job training is too much for a new skilled trade hire? Is there a point where the investment – both in time and financially – stops providing a sufficient return, or should there be no limit to what’s offered? If you’re asking questions like that, here are some tips that can help you find the right balance.

Required Skill Set Complexity

Skilled trade positions run the gamut when it comes to the capabilities required, and competencies that are more specialized or intricate often take more time to pass down than simpler ones. As a result, one of the first points that you’ll want to consider is the overall complexity of the skill set required for the job and how it compares to what the new hire would bring to the table.

However, you also need to compare it to the candidate’s existing skill set. If they’re highly experienced in the broader field and have other capabilities that align somewhat with the missing skill, they may learn it quickly. If they have no foundation, the timeline for training will extend.

When you look at the situations from both angles, you can estimate how complicated it would be to train the new hire effectively. In turn, you can assess whether what’s required is reasonable or impractical to offer.

Immediate vs. Future Need

Another factor to consider is whether the skills that require training are related to an immediate company need or an area that requires support down the line. If it’s a capability that, ideally, a new hire could leverage on day one to handle their core duties, even brief training periods are potentially problematic. If the skill is associated with a responsibility they’d take on at a later date, a longer training timeline is potentially supportable.

As a result, you need to consider how long it’d likely take to train the new hire and compare that to when they’d ideally have the capability in question. If those two timelines don’t have a reasonable degree of alignment, then finding another candidate with a closely aligned skillset is potentially a better investment.

Learning Willingness and Capability

Everyone learns at different rates, and their degree of enthusiasm for growth varies. Whether a candidate is both willing to learn and capable of picking up new skills quickly can help you determine if investing in more on-the-job training provides value. For those who hone capabilities rapidly, they may boost their skillset at a pace that makes the investment worthwhile. For candidates that require more in-depth instruction due to the slower acquisition of skills, significantly investing in training might cost more than it’s worth.

Company Resources and Productivity

On-the-job training usually involves harnessing existing resources – including materials, equipment time, and more – to provide instruction. Additionally, it can require time from managers and other employees, limiting how much they can focus on their core duties.

Prolonged training may require ample resources and could hinder productivity significantly. Additionally, it may increase the burden on other team members who have to pick up the slack, which isn’t ideal.

You need to factor in the availability of resources and the capabilities of existing team members, adjusting for productivity losses caused by training commitments. Then, you can determine if the cost outweighs the benefits of the training you’re considering offering more effectively.

If you’d like to learn more about how to find the correct balance when it comes to on-the-job training or want to partner with recruiters to find right-fit candidates with the skills you need, TempStaff can help. Contact us today.

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