Observing others is a fantastic way for people to learn. In previous eras, it was common practice for someone who wanted to learn a new skill or trade to work as an apprentice under someone well-versed in the craft. This method is still effective today and produces great results for companies who choose to try it.
The best way to onboard new employees or foster integration between departments is to have your employees shadow others in your organization. As mentioned, the concept of job shadowing is not a new one. All of us have learned by observation since we were children, but for some reason this educational technique is less commonly used once we enter the workforce.
Organizations who have not already done so, should add job shadowing to their toolkit. There are many benefits for doing so. The first upside of shadowing is that it can make up for any gaps in the onboarding process. If you need to train new employees and you don’t have courses, documents, or training videos at your disposal, simply having new hires shadow someone currently doing the job can help them learn learn quickly.
Grooms Future Leaders
This method can also be used to groom future leaders and managers. Having junior employees shadow their superiors, listening in on important phone calls and following them into meetings, can boost their morale and excite them about the responsibilities they will be inheriting.
Shadowing can facilitate better communication and cooperation between different roles and departments. It can also expose employees to skills that they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to. For example, a product marketer can learn more about the features and benefits of the product she’s selling by learning from the software engineer what goes into making it. The promise of growth can make for a more rewarding and pleasurable work environment.
Fosters Employee Growth and Development
And since much employee turnover is caused by a lack of learning and career development, having your employees shadow people in different roles and departments makes them feel they are gaining value by working with you. Shadowing helps employees learn about what opportunities are available to them within your organization, increasing the likelihood that they’ll stick around longer.