​10 tips For Getting Line Managers Involved In Training

1st October 2015

management trainingIn today’s economic climate, line managers have a more crucial role to play in people development. They are the link between learning and development (L&D) and the organisation’s business strategy. More often than not, though, they are not wholeheartedly engaged in the training process.

Our research shows a number of reasons for this – the most pertinent is managers feeling they are far too busy. The recession has exacerbated the problem with line managers focusing more relentlessly on the activities they and their senior managers perceive as having the most immediate impact on the bottom line, such as winning new business, and keeping customers happy. Sadly, too many line managers today don’t see training as a core part of their role and conversations starting ‘I don’t have time’ and ‘it’s HR’s job, not mine’ are all too common.

This is why we developed the Coaching And Developing Others course. This is a one-day course that introduces the process and benefits of coaching, and begins the development of this vital skill. It’s ideal for all those responsible for developing the competence of team members in their day to day tasks.

This checklist will provide you with 10 practical steps for getting line managers more engaged, involved and committed to training and development within your organisation.

10 tips For Getting Line Managers Involved In Training

1. Educate, Educate, Educate

HR has a fundamental role to undertake in educating the business about the value and benefits of training and the impact it can have on the bottom line and to the long-term growth of the organisation.

2. Get buy-in

Developing champions for training across the organisation from the top-down is key.
The more positive and productive a training experience a line manager has, the more likely it is that they will become a motivated advocate of training. Managers who positively support the development of their team tend to be actively involved in training. Those who are focused on the task only, tend to be less supportive of training and other aspects of people development.

3. Clearly define the need

Line managers often don’t have a clear definition of exactly what is expected of them in terms of developing their people. A job profile might include ‘manage the team effectively to deliver its objectives’ for example, yet typically it won’t define what this means in terms of actions and behaviours, and specifically how this relates to training. Make sure training is incorporated into job descriptions and performance objectives.

4. Improve communication

Regular dialogue between HR and L&D and line managers is essential for overcoming a lack of involvement in training. Time spent talking about the business drivers and specific challenges line managers face so that L&D initiatives can be better aligned to their individual goals and those of the business, is time well spent.

5. Talk the same language

HR must be able to talk the same language as line managers – improvements to productivity, long-term growth and return on investment for example. Only then will HR get its message across as to how important L&D is for the business and its people.

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6. Help line managers to understand staff needs

Line managers often need help in understanding their staff and how their skills can be improved. They also should be encouraged to think more about the trends and behaviours they are seeing in people and how their skills can be better developed. Involving line managers more in the coaching of employees, performance management systems and talent management methodologies are all valuable mechanisms.

7. Knowledge retention

In order for learning to have an impact, line managers need help in connecting the dots by putting an action plan together with the employee after the course has ended. HR can help facilitate this process.

8. Get feedback

Line managers have a vital role to play in providing feedback on how successful different training initiatives are. They are the people who can ensure that what is learned in the classroom or comes out of the HR department is implemented and practiced in the day-to-day working environment. This knowledge needs to be shared with HR.

9. Give them options

Line managers should know their staff the best and should be ideally placed to evaluate what training methods are going to be the most effective to upskill each team member. It’s HR’s role to ensure that line managers have the very latest information on available training programmes and tools. All too often line managers replicate their own learning experiences which were probably rooted in traditional approaches.

10. Give them time

Line managers all too often say they are too busy to manage training. HR also need to focus their attention on managers of managers to ensure that training becomes a priority within the organisation. This will help develop a training culture and ensure that training is embedded from the top-down.

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