Effective Employee Development Requires Manager’s Involvement

Companies need extra plans to hire and retain employees as the challenges of the Great Resignation continue to increase. One clear way is to offer more training and development – in a LinkedIn survey, 94% of employees said they would stay with their company if it invested in their growth.

However, the rise of remote work makes this more complicated. According to Training Magazine’s 2021 Training Industry Report, getting people involved in remote training was a major challenge.

Some companies are trying to tackle this issue with better technology. New delivery formats like cohort-based courses and technology such as virtual reality have the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness of remote training.

Yet, involving managers might be a more straightforward solution to enhance staff engagement. According to a recent Gallup poll, “at least 70% of the difference in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader.” This approach is often overlooked, as many managers express doubts about the effectiveness of their Learning and Development team.

Here are five simple but effective strategies to help managers play a more active role in staff training and development:

Let Managers Express Their Expectations:

  • Managers understand the skills their team members need, and they are more likely than HR or training professionals to initiate training. Companies should develop a strategy to identify and measure training needs directly from managers through surveys and in-depth meetings.

Set Learning Goals and Frameworks:

  • Managers might find it challenging to encourage busy team members to learn something new. Establishing a time and place for learning, with the support of company leadership, can make it easier for managers to motivate their team members to participate.

Assign Managers a Clear Role:

  • Many training programs don’t explicitly define the roles of managers, even though they have greater visibility and influence over employee priorities than HR or L&D staff. Training programs should leverage this by having managers announce training projects directly to their teams.

Help Managers Implement Instruction & Collect Feedback:

  • Managers can assist team members in applying what they’ve learned. This can be done by involving managers in programs that provide tangible ideas for applying new skills, and managers are accountable for owning and approving these ideas.
  • Instead of just gathering feedback from participants, companies should also seek feedback from the participants’ managers. This should be done at different times, before, during, and after training, and should focus on the impact of the training and how team members are applying what they’ve learned.

As organizations navigate the challenges of a changing labor market, the responsibility of retaining and developing staff doesn’t have to rest solely on HR and training departments. Managers, with the right structure and resources, are in a unique position to enhance employee retention and engagement.

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