We all strive to achieve our career goals, whether through taking the necessary steps for promotion or learning a new skill. These small yet significant steps help us big time. On top of that, many benefits come with career advancements such as higher take-home pay, tenure, job security, and job satisfaction.
However, an effective learning and training process has seemingly been overshadowed by other workforce training practices. With employee training methods over-saturated with lectures, group activities, and reading materials, it is sad to see it forgotten.
This training method is called job shadowing. As the name suggests, an employee from a different area of the organization gets the chance to “shadow” and work alongside more experienced colleagues from other departments. Its goal is to provide the shadow employee a new perspective to the business, help them grasp the bigger picture, and encourage them to move forward.
On that note, let us discuss the reasons behind job shadowing’s effectiveness and why we encourage you to incorporate this process into your career advancement plan.
Gives You Career Choices
First, we must recognize that job shadowing lets you explore different career choices and alternatives, giving you more to think about and reconsider before advancing in your career. Think of its usefulness as freephone numbers, for the price of nothing and just a bit of your time every day; you’ll be getting the same skills training as paid courses. Not only that, but you’ll be in the guidance of an experienced colleague who can offer more relevant information and insight into your job opportunities.
- Understand How Different Departments Function: The criteria for choosing a career path should never be the first opportunity that opens for you. You must actively seek the routes you can take, compare them, and see which choice suits your skills and meets your expectations. Job shadowing lets you achieve this and more, by experiencing different workloads and types firsthand.
- The Opportunity to Observe and Ask Questions: Videos and reading materials can only go so far to explain the nature of the job, and nothing could ever topple the value real work settings can offer. Job shadowing lets you closely observe the inner workings and process of a career opportunity and net you the chance to receive direct answers for your queries.
Gain Significant Work Experience
Second, we must understand that job shadowing also functions mainly as hands-on training. While observation plays a huge role, you will not be limited to being an observer. A shadow employee also becomes an active participant in the work process, assisting when they can, and gaining significant work experience.
- Discuss the Responsibilities: Reading a job description fails to give the true essence of what the work entails. Job shadowing lets you engage with other departments, ask key personnel their thoughts, and discuss the position’s responsibilities with your host.
- On-the-Job Training: Unlike workshops and lectures, job shadowing puts you in the deep end and straight into the work floor. A shadow employee takes on-the-job training to a whole new level, as you try to function, navigate, and work your way through the actual workspace. You will whether your skills compliment the job opportunity.
The Host Also Benefits
Third, job shadowing does not only benefit the shadow employee but also provides an insightful experience to the host. It helps them test how well they know of their job, better understand key components of their department, and maybe even discover new skills along the way. And for both individuals, it gives them the chance to reflect on their progress and a fresh perspective advancing in their careers.
- Develop Coaching and Training Skills: Guiding, teaching, and working alongside a shadow employee is no easy task. It requires a good teacher who is observant and can provide lessons that shadows can easily digest. With that said, the host will get the opportunity to develop their coaching and training skills, and to an extent, maybe even discover a new responsibility they can take.
- Share and Reflect on Experiences: There are personal connections and bonds built through one-on-one training experiences. And in the case of job shadowing, it helps the host and shadow reflect on themselves. The process opens up opportunities for further learning and gives them the chance to reassess their current progress with their career.
Break Down Communication Barriers
Last but not least, an excellent benefit brought about by job shadowing is its capability to break down communication barriers that prevent departments from working together more efficiently. It lets employees network with people from other areas of the organization, better understand how different facets of the company function, and apply these lessons to improve workflow and productivity.
In conclusion, there are plenty of benefits you can receive if you give job shadowing a chance. So we urge you to get your foot out the door and put your career advancement plan into action. If you’re an employee, take the initiative and ask advice from your HR manager to set up one. And if you’re the head of your department, then encourage your employees to discover the different options that lay before them.