We have all heard about the importance of learning and development, aka training, yet not many employers do it. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers with fewer than 100 employees provided only 0.8 hours – that’s only 12 minutes – of manager training per six-month period. Organizations with 100-500 employees provided only 0.9 hours (6 minutes) of training for the same time span. Why is this? The number one reason is cost. Whether it is a small business or a Fortune 500 company, training is looked at as just an expense with no return on investment. WRONG! Training is an investment in your employees. The return is better productivity, higher retention rates for top performers, and the creation of a culture of learning.
When you have a top-down structure – think of a pyramid – with the CEO on top, middle management, then regular everyday employees filling the majority, it’s the majority that keeps the business moving forward. It is a common phrase: “Employees leave a manager not a company.” By training those managers more effectively, you can help reduce turnover. In fact, a Gallup poll stated that, every year, disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $370 billion. And the primary driver of that lost productivity is poor supervision.
What types of training do managers need?
The first step is to find out where the issues lie and conduct a training needs analysis. Creating a survey for anonymous answers from all employees is a great start. Employees feel a better sense of security and less likely to be retaliated against when it is anonymous. By asking employees where they feel management is lacking you receive a better picture of areas where training might be beneficial.
Typically the top seven areas for manager training are:
- Leadership Development – Holding effective meetings and expanding the capacity of performance.
- Communication – Business writing, conflict resolution and negotiation.
- Harassment Prevention – Sexual and non-sexual harassment.
- Organization – Time management, how to delegate and project management.
- Diversity – Examining biases, learning to see all views and all laws associated with it too!
- Performance Management – Building strong teams, employee performance reviews, setting goals.
- Customer Service – Without a happy customer, you don’t have a business.
What’s the best way to start offering training?
There are several avenues for implementing a training program. For example, if the company is smaller, they probably won’t have a learning and development professional on staff, so outsourcing videos, consultants, and online courses are a good option. Being in the technology era, there are many games and apps that can be used too. Consider having multiple options for managers to learn from and evaluate the progress of each training. If people aren’t engaged in what they are being taught, chances are they aren’t learning. When implementing a training plan, be aware of the content. Is it relevant to one of the seven areas above? Is is relevant to a business need?
The takeaway is that managers need continuous training, not a one-time class. A person retains information by repetition. Solicit continuous feedback from both the managers receiving the training, and the employees of the managers, to ensure the trainings are effective. The better a manager is trained, the better job he or she will do, and the higher the bottom line will be for the company.