Over the last couple of months we’ve been talking about growing value from learning/training, looking at the need for it to be:
· Connected to Strategy, and or
· Driven by Managers, and or
· Applied on-the-job (OTJ).
In the quest for increased value from training, this month we take a closer look at the second of the three elements, why it needs to be Driven by Managers.
Why should managers drive what’s happening in their team from a learning and development point of view? Because they’re the person best placed to understand the capability needs of their team.
Given the results of a recent study published by HRM Online, there’s also no escaping it, “A huge 86% of New Zealanders believe it’s their bosses’ job to ensure their skills and competencies correspond with the requirements of the job.”
‘Driven’ – what we mean by this, is that the manager of the learner has a pivotal role to play in the learning process. Managers have the power to make the connection between the learning and the job a reality. That could include assigning new tasks or responsibilities, providing support as new skills are practiced or simply checking in to make sure the agreed plan is being followed.
A manager regularly sets performance expectations for their team; the same can be applied to building capability. By agreeing how any learning/training is going to benefit the learner, their team and the business beforehand, the manager and the learner jointly create the plan to maximize the value of the learning experience.
Having a plan locked in before the learning starts creates the platform for a successful transfer of learning to improved performance OTJ. The learner knows what’s required of them when they come back to work, likewise the manager has agreed on how the new skills will be applied to benefit the business and the support they need to provide.
How is this different to what we typically see today? We often see learners returning to the workplace, initially motivated to try new skills and apply learning, but quickly become overwhelmed by business-as-usual (BAU) and loose focus on what they learned.
Managers are often trained to be able to approve leave, run monthly reports or have tough conversations, but typically receive very little on developing capability, and subsequently building a team of high performers.
The benefits of a ‘Driven by Managers’ approach can be significant; individuals who experience their own development contributing to the business have shown to be more engaged and more productive.
An engaged and productive team reflects very well on the manager.
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