How to Engage Managers in Staff Training

Positive learning environments in the workplace are built on the values of collaboration, trust and support. And what better way to instil these values than to engage your managers in your staff’s training process. They are the people who are best placed to identify and understand your staff’s learning styles and needs.

Don’t we all aspire to create a positive learning environment in our workplace? A learning environment that, apart from fostering new knowledge and skills, encourages communication, collaboration, mutual trust and respect. A learning environment that drives a sense of responsibility and willingness to support each other and perform better. This is attainable when you seek to create and nurture a learning culture where your managers are as involved as your staff in their training process. As the saying goes, ‘lead by example’, and who better to lead the development of the staff than their manager, who is familiar with their team’s strengths and challenges, and has been down their road to progression already.  

The importance of a manager’s participation in staff training should never be underestimated. A recent Gallup survey found that, “at least 70% of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader.” While another study by TinyPulse found that 60% of the staff felt their managers were unable to clearly define their roles and responsibilities and 70% think that their feedback and suggestions aren’t taken seriously.  

Unfortunately, this is the story across many organisations, who often keep managers out of the training loop purely because they aren’t viewed as ‘training experts’. This leads to a three-fold problem. Firstly, managers hold valuable insights about the learning styles and capacities of their teams, which remains untapped when they aren’t involved in their training process. Secondly, managers can’t completely leverage the training benefits when they are unable to offer their input on the skills that are being developed. Lastly, managers need to be involved to ensure that they can provide the necessary support to their staff once the training ends. Post-training support is crucial for positively improving staff behaviour and performance.  

Below are four simple yet effective steps to help you engage managers in your staff’s training: 

Encourage discussions around team training

A manager has a crucial role to play in their team’s training and development since they spend so much time interacting and working with them. A great way to go about with this would be to encourage your managers to have daily interactions with their teams to know about their learning needs and desires for personal and professional growth.  

Likewise, managers also have a deep understanding of the kind of skills their teams need to build for individual and organisational growth. To leverage this, you should create a collaborative process by asking managers to identify and quantify the training needs of their teams. You can conduct regular surveys and/or in-depth discussions with your managers, encouraging them to provide guidance on their teams’ training needs. The collaboration process doesn’t need to end there, though.  

Once the training starts, managers should be encouraged to monitor and evaluate their teams’ development throughout the training process by organising one-on-one discussions with each team member. 

These constant engagements will not only help you improve your training but also foster a learning culture within your organisation. A learning culture wherein teams supported by their managers are actively engaged in a continuous learning cycle.  

A successful learning culture, weaved across all levels, helps to:  

  • Improve staff satisfaction and productivity 
  • Reduce churn rates and improve retention  
  • Create a culture of knowledge-sharing

Support managers throughout the team training process 

Technological change is constantly reshaping the skills that are needed for work. Because of this constant change, upskilling becomes a necessity to keep up with advancements. Research from the World Economic Forum found that half of all workforce globally will need to reskill or upskill by 2025 because of changing responsibilities caused by new technologies.  

What role can managers play to ensure that their teams remain up to date with their industry’s changing needs? The answer is simple – by helping managers understand which teams need upskilling today and what skills they would require tomorrow. This can be achieved in a three-fold way: 

  • Equip your managers with tools that will help them assess and monitor their teams learning progress 
  • Encourage managers to schedule monthly meetings with their teams to discuss their strengths and improvement needs 
  • Analyse and utilise the knowledge gathered to advise and upskill the teams based on their personal and professional needs and aspirations 

Encourage managers to undergo training themselves 

Your managers are your future leaders who will go on to create the learning culture within their team and your organisation. While training is important for teams, it is equally important for managers. Your workforce will be more motivated to learn and improve themselves when they see their managers and leaders doing the same.  

How do you create a sense of motivation across your organisation? There are two places to start:  

  • Train your managers – they can lead by example and provide guidance for those starting their learning journey 
  • Support your managers to become compassionate leaders – those with a compassionate approach tend to have more motivated and reciprocating teams, who are more inclined to support organisational targets  

To foster a feeling of compassion among managers it’s important to nurture a relationship of communication, understanding and respect. Start by supporting your managers with coaching webinars that focus on nurturing their compassionate traits and leadership skills. Next, make sure they’re using appropriate tone and language. A manager’s tone and choice of language speak volumes about their personality. A kind, compassionate tone communicates respect and appreciation. 

Help managers to take a lead in their team’s training 

While you provide your managers the support and time they need to actively participate in their teams’ training, it is also important that they take the lead and ownership over their training. Coaching is a great way to go about with that. Ensure that the coaching you provide to your managers covers this aspect of taking ownership by building up their trust and confidence in themselves and their teams. Building a sense of ownership will help managers remain proactive about their teams’ growth and learning opportunities, and ultimately create a culture that supports different aspirations, views and ideas.  

How to support your managers with Feaniks  

We understand the numerous learning challenges that often plague workplaces. This is why we created an online development platform to help your managers with the support needed to immerse themselves in their teams’ training.   

  • Your managers, with the help of our coaching webinars and forums, can get the much-needed support to unlock their personality traits and develop their leadership skills while sharing their work experiences and learnings 
  • Your managers can use our intuitive tools to automatically prompt them to participate in frequent exchanges with their teams. They can use our forums to respond to questions and pick up on the training needs at a time that works for them. A prompt reply to a burning question can fuel the motivation to keep learning. Additionally, they can also schedule team meetings and one-on-one interactions where they can address their teams’ challenges and growth opportunities. This gives both managers and their teams the opportunity to tailor the development plan based on their discussions and evaluations 
  • Your managers are equipped with the power of data, with our data driven actionable insights that help them measure their team’s training needs as well as map out their progress and potential, thereby creating a workforce trained for the future 

Providing your managers with the support and necessary training resources means they can support and improve their teams, your workforce and your organisation overall. 

If this article has got you thinking about your organisation’s training process, sign up for Feaniks’ free trial – you can cancel anytime and requires zero commitment! 

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