Supporting Our Managers More Effectively

The world is faster, more complex, and more uncertain than ever before, and managers are having a tough times to keep up.

A couple of findings from the surveys done in UK:

  • Less than 5% of managers’ time is spent in formal or informal discussions about work issues with the individuals they are managing, with just half of employees satisfied with the amount of contact time with their manager.
  • 1 in 5 employees say they have never had a formal meeting with their manager.

Now, consider these statistics through a learning lens. If we consider managers to be enablers of learning within organizations, then managers are failing in their duty to support and develop the staff they are responsible for.

Enabling Managers to Support Learners

In Modernising Learning: Delivering Results, 68% of respondents reported that employees lacked the skills to manage their own learning. 37% said online self-study was restricted by lack of time, along with learners not being able to find what they need (30%). But we also know that employees are hungry to learn.

Research shows the top 5 learning motivators are:

  1. Being able to do their job faster and better (51%).
  2. Wanting to obtain professional certification (47%).
  3. Learning for personal development (43%).
  4. Gaining promotion (36%).
  5. Earning more money (28%).

In order to deliver effective training in a way that will leads to both higher job satisfaction and productivity, our Learning and Development program has to include managers in every step of the way, from inception, through delivery, evaluation, to consolidation and application of new learning.

Research shows there is still some way to go on this:

  • Less than one third of organisations formalise their approach to training with experts.
  • Just one fifth involve users in the design of the most appropriate learning approach.
  • Less than one third invite key stakeholders into a steering group to support program design and implementation.

Training is a key driver of quality:

Teacher, managers, and leaders are critical to the successful delivery of top-quality education. In our studies over the years, we’ve found that when we directly engage our line managers in process, they become more responsive to ongoing business change, engage more learners, save more time and money, and deliver better results.

So, what’s their secret to success? We have distilled the 6 behaviours that top learning organizations display in supporting their line managers.

  1. Engage before executing.
    Involve line managers in the design of learning solutions before building them. This generates up front engagement, provides an opportunity to listen to the real challenges that they are facing, and creates new ideas to bring into your solution design.
  2. Integrate with existing team practices.
    Don’t isolate learning from other Human Resources and talent initiatives. Where possible link back to the day job of the manager and individual.
  3. Get real and get relevant.
    Ensure your technology enabled learning is relevant to current jobs and directly support important work initiatives.
  4. Apply learning.
    Focus on helping managers to help their teams apply learning and learn from each other. This could include:

    1. Supporting coaching skills and peer group sessions.
    2. Providing resources to use back at the desk (checklists, workflows, etc.).
    3. Supporting mechanisms like forums or in-house social networking.
    4. Growing a culture of learning conversations.
    5. Helping them set projects that will encourage staff to apply new skills.
  5. Gather feedback, share good news.
    Encourage peer to peer communication about successes; between managers as well as learners.
  6. Equip managers through innovative experiences.
    Finally, if you are providing any form of management or leadership development, do it in a way that models great online learning experiences.

Cavendish International provide all the support you need to implement these 6 healthy behaviours, our research suggests that you will see user adoption of learning technologies rising, and more learners benefiting from their teaching team and the managers enjoy a better working relationship all round, as well as a healthy perspective and social buzz in the campus. Give it a go and let us know how you get on, connect with our Learning and Development strategy team at Cavendish International for advice.