Stop turnover

Reduce Turnover And Stop Burning Your Money

The purpose of training is to reduce turnover and stop burning your money.

Train people so they:

  • Understand what you ask them to do and how to do it
  • Are productive and take initiative
  • Believe and engage in your culture
  • Are engaged in your company’s mission
  • Stay with your company or organization!

In this Brilliance Nugget, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training versus using training systems. Let’s see whether you are unnecessarily burning money in the training of your people.

Training Is Transferring A Piece Of Your Company’s Brilliance

Think of training as transferring some piece of your company’s brilliance. “Brilliance” is the term I use for the unique combination of knowledge, expertise, and wisdom each staff member holds in their brain. In other words, you are transferring the brilliance from the trainer (expert) to the trainee.

Pros and Cons of On-the-Job Training

Often, companies use “on-the-job” training. That can be good. You may have experts on your staff who love teaching what they know. They enjoy passing it on to others who just joined the company or someone who needs additional skills.

The Pitfalls of Using On-The-Job Training As the Sole Training Method

  • On-the-job training relies on the trainer (the expert) to
    • Be there and
    • Have enough time to do a great job.
  • If the expert suddenly is not there (for whatever reason) or is swamped with her work, the training quality takes a nose-dive.
  • On-the-job training tends not to be consistent. Often, it happens on the spur of the moment or in the gaps of the workload of the training expert.
  • The subject matter expert (SME) may not think of everything she does to get her results. That is normal. An SME has learned a lot – and some of that knowledge and wisdom has become subconscious. Getting at those “Brilliance Nuggets” is a challenge! Brilliance Extraction addresses that challenge.
  • On-the-job training also rarely incorporates our understanding of getting the most out of our training time and dollars. That is another significant factor.

What is a Training SYSTEM?

A training system is a DESIGNED training PROCESS.

A training system

  • Has clearly defined objectives
  • Has a well-defined group of recipients/ trainees
  • Often consists of do-it-by-yourself activities and live interactions with a trainer/coach
  • May consist of a series of lessons (short videos and bitesize written materials provided in a suitable sequence)
  • May incorporate a training manual. That manual could be online or a hard copy. It serves as a guide, reference source, or both during training.
  • Use an online Learning Management System (LMS) that becomes the central training source, delivers the online training, and tracks it.
  • Uses specific teaching methods designed to be effective for the intended trainees.

I coined the term “Brilliance System.” A Brilliance System is a training system with which you are retaining and transferring your company’s critical knowledge, expertise, and wisdom (aka brilliance).

The Power of Training Systems

When you design a training system, you make deliberate decisions:

  • You define who your trainees are and what prior knowledge and understanding they have
  • You decide which objectives you want to meet
  • Then you design how to HOW to transfer the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom the trainee needs.

The Key Takeaways

  1. On-the-job training by itself has many risks of failure. It typically lacks a well thoughtout design.
  2. In contrast, training systems offer the opportunity to deliver well-thought-out training consistently.
    • We have the opportunity to extract brilliance from the SME’s head and add it to the brilliance the SME can readily access in her brain.
    • We can make the teaching of the SME’s brilliance much more effective by incorporate the extensive understanding we have gained about how to be effective in from taking advantage of three powerful learning theories. These learning theories have shed a lot of light on how humans learn best. That way, you can get the most out of our training time and dollars (more on that in another Brilliance Nugget).

What Is Coming Next?

Well-designed training can benefit from three learning theories that make training more effective. That lowers your training cost, improves training outcomes, and reduces turnover. Shortly, I will have another Brilliance Nugget for you on that.

I’m Curious

  • What is your experience with providing and receiving on-the-job training?
  • What is your experience with providing and receiving training via a training system?


  1. Jacquelyn Martin on at

    OJT can be a good way for a seasoned person to critique and help a newbie be more effective and do “course corrections”. One place where OJT really falls down is when the trainee is on their own and encounters situations for which they were not trained. A system can have training for all sorts of eventualities which can be referenced as needed.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Thank you, Jacquelyn, for your comment.
      Yes, I agree with you that OJT can be excellent! My points are that
      a) OJT is obviously quite dependent on a knowledgeable trainer being available (what if that expert is not there or too busy?), and
      b) What exactly is included in the training may vary and is somewhat dependent on what comes up during the training.
      Furthermore, we can capture what a trainer does with a trainee, and then other trainees can benefit from that in the future. That is in fact a great way to begin building a training system.

Leave a Comment