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Sitting next to ‘Nellie’

Sitting next to 'Nellie'
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Last week in Step 1.8, we asked you to identify any potential flaws with imitation and guidance training methods. Here, we mention some of those problems.

It is common practice to use imitation and guidance methods to pass on valuable information and knowledge from one employee to another. This is done by pairing individuals (usually an experienced employee with a new recruit or trainee), otherwise known as sitting next to ‘Nellie’.

The rationale to pair individuals alongside each other is so that the trainee can learn alongside the other, already experienced, person.

Advantages and disadvantages

Sitting next to ‘Nellie’ can be seen as a cost-effective method that also gives the trainee the opportunity to integrate socially with colleagues.

However, although it may appear to be a cost-effective method (as there are no expensive courses for the trainee to attend), the time spent by ‘Nellie’ on the trainee means that she is being unproductive, and thus costing the company money. The hidden costs may therefore be just as high.

Also, what if ‘Nellie’ is an ineffective guide, is using old-fashioned working methods that no longer work, or ignores new and updated organisational policies such as health and safety procedures?

Further problems may also exist in terms of personality. For example, if ‘Nellie’ doesn’t like the trainee (or vice versa), the relationship between the two will be poor, which is likely to affect training and feedback.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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