Management training courses: Makers or breakers, friend or foe?

Line managers are critical to the success of all L&D initiatives. Without their proactive support, even the best strategies will struggle to deliver the intended results. If L&D teams are proactive in offering management training courses, managers can be a valuable asset in driving learner engagement in a time-efficient manner.

Getting skeptical line managers on side

Line managers will generally have some notion of their role as people developers, but may favour themselves as ‘technical’ managers rather than ‘people’ managers. As such, they may well look to others to share the responsibility of developing staff skills.

Management training courses will help to encourage a manager to proactively aid development activities amongst team members, and the classroom theory is more likely to be bought back into the workplace as a practical solution. Indeed, 78% of learners say that support from managers is essential or very useful to learn what is required, but only 26% of L&D teams equip line managers with the skills to get the most from learning [1].

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that L&D teams can take to encourage the greater involvement of line managers. Ensure that the obvious duties are being covered; if the basics are covered, the foundations are in place to then increase the capabilities of line managers to support learning activity.

A Learning Management System (LMS) can aid managers as a technical platform. This platform allows managers to track and monitor all learning progress from their team, whether it be online or classroom-based. Managers can be skeptical over the implementation of an LMS; but if given to managers as a management aid, they will appreciate its use as a tool to reduce their administrative burden, 

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Top tips: increasing learning engagement with the help of line managers

You may need to gently nudge busy line managers to encourage them to increase their teams’ learning engagement. Line managers need to be confident in using your LMS, but more importantly they need to advocate its use. They can become influencers if they genuinely believe that the system is simple, intuitive, useful and enjoyable to use; they will naturally become your learning champions and will actively promote it to their team.

So how can you make your managers love your LMS?

Nudge and nag1. Ensure that your line managers can quickly see their team’s progress of completing mandatory learning. Typically, manually chasing non-compliance is a very time-intensive chore with line managers inevitably on the back foot from the very start. Your LMS should enable managers to track their team’s completion rates in real-time, and ideally should send automated reminders to those that have not yet completed training. This will allow your managers to stay on top of compliance training, simply and effectively, without it eating into their regular workflow.

2. Give managers control over their team’s classroom training. If team members are enrolled on classroom courses which takes them from their work location, managers can feel they have no control over who, when and where this is happening. Your LMS needs to provide managers with an easy way to see how many people are out on training on any one day – as well as who they are and what they are going to be learning about. This will help rotas stay on track and minimise disruptions that may impact the team.

3. Learning, especially self-paced, can happen at any time and line managers should ideally have a sense of what learning activity is taking place in their team. Participation in training can be a key performance indicator, so it’s important that managers can monitor learning activity levels. Your LMS should enable managers to see how much new learning is taking place in their team and allow them to look at trends over different timeframes.

4. Encourage managers to compliment an individual, or their whole team, for their learning achievements. An LMS will allow managers to be aware of the completion of courses, offering managers access to information about how much their team is learning. With 60% of learners saying that receiving recognition that they’ve completed online learning programmes is important to them [1], managers should understand how supporting learner will improve job satisfaction and engagement rates.

Equipping your managers to support learning

Line managers, like the learners they manage, are busy people and struggle to support learning in the organisation. However, the right LMS combined with a few simple actions makes it possible to enable this key audience to become active partners in the learning process. Your LMS needs to be able to bring all the key data and simple learning support tasks into one easy-to-access place, enabling line managers to weave these key responsibilities into their day-to-day work activity.

New Call-to-action[1] Towards Maturity, ‘The Learner Voice, Part 3’, 2016

 

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