Join Our Email List!

Enter your information to receive weekly insights, invites, tips, tools, FREE resources and more! 

Reimagining On-The-Job Training

change leadership coaching professional development Jul 21, 2021

Today, working professionals have largely assumed the responsibility of positioning themselves to bring value to their employer, but it wasn’t long ago that companies partnered with new hires in this endeavor by offering apprenticeships. In North America, a continent historically devoid of guilds (industry associations that oversee the fundamental competencies of their specific practice), apprenticeships provided a realistic, affordable, and accessible means of on-the-job training.

While apprenticeships still exist today, college has become a more popular pathway for people seeking careers in high demand professional occupations. Although the ROI for a degree has never been higher, higher education was not designed for job preparation. To bridge the gaps, internships and accelerated development programs have become corporate America’s go-to strategy for building and vetting a pipeline of talent. The problem is that these intensive, work-and-learn experiences – while effective – are reserved for the select few versus many. 

So, where does that leave everyone else? Today’s workforce is in a $56 billion race for personal and professional improvement through credentials, certificates, workshops, and unique experiences hoping something might set them apart. Such a race is an expensive- and certainly an exclusive- one, and it is a race that takes place after hours, during lunch breaks, and in addition to work.

The upside to this single-player-mode approach is more freedom and flexibility for employees, while employers benefit from a higher quality talent pool to choose from when making hiring decisions. This scenario isn’t problem free, however. For starters, price and time commitment can be barriers for many would-be learners. The other issue is competency. While some training is better than none, subject matter expertise is developed over time and with direct experience – which many learners get only after the training is completed, when they no longer have access to the instructor. 

To be fair, today’s business professionals do receive some on-the-job training from their employers. Learning and Development (L&D) teams have rallied to provide a diverse curriculum supporting hard and soft skill acquisition. Even so, many trainings remain highly theoretical and detached from the employee’s day-to-day work. Thus, satisfaction concerning current L&D offerings and their modes of delivery remains low.

This dissatisfaction comes at a cost, and it’s not just the investment of time and resources in developing and delivering training that misses the mark. It impacts workforce readiness, resilience, and morale, and results in a talent pool that is under prepared for the future of work. And, as our reliance on technology increases, soft skills (which are hard for machines to replicate) become even more important.  Further, it is worth debunking the myth that learners want to learn from outside sources so they can leave an employer. In fact, 63% of employees say receiving quality training makes them more likely to stay.

Companies can- and certainly should- provide their employees with training opportunities on topics specific to their core business. When it comes to soft skills, however, third-party perspectives and expertise offer distinct advantages. For one, employers can rapidly upskill workers without full-time headcount - which saves both time and money. Second, from the perspective of the individual employee, this opens up opportunities to gain skills and knowledge from outside the company. Not only does this offer a fresh perspective untainted by internal factors and beliefs, it gives employees the agency to select the training that best suits their particular needs.

The question then becomes: What can companies do differently to provide better, more relevant learning opportunities to their employees? Conversely, what are growth-minded professionals to do?

Look outside the organization for support.  And not just any support. Today’s third-party training providers must reimagine traditional delivery models - e.g. the intensive, multi-day workshops and on-demand course platforms - and provide a differentiated experience that includes opportunities for practical, real-life application. In order for skills training to truly be effective and deliver value, learners must be able apply the information in real-time and receive targeted feedback that is specific to their unique business problem, workplace situation, and project need.  

Providers that offer coaching and consulting - in addition to skills training- will be best positioned to meet this new requirement and deliver a work-and-learn experience that adequately prepares individuals and empowers them to contribute at a higher level to their organization's performance.

Apogy is pioneering this delivery model, offering high-quality skills training with focused support. Learners can work side-by-side with an Apogy coach-consultant during and after the training, and get expert level feedback as they develop and execute their change programs and plans. We are  committed to the growth and development of our clients, as well as their ability to bring that value to bear in the workplace. The best part? Our training is affordable, effective, and does not require a huge time commitment - a critical factor for most of our clients. 

Sounds interesting? Consider a free 30-minute consultation to learn more. We look forward to working with you!

1 Hamilton, G. (2000). The Decline of Apprenticeship in North America: Evidence from Montreal. The Journal of Economic History, 60(3), 627-664. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from
2  Coursera Enterprise L&D from Both Sides of the Table (p. 7-9)
3  Ibid. (p. 10)

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.