Only 59% of Managers Can Support New Skills Learned by Team Members

BY Kathy Crosett
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If your company is in the process of merging with a former rival, or if you’re about to launch a major new product, your employees will require significant training and education. And, your managers must be ready to support their team members during this period of change.

A study carried out by Development Dimensions International finds that only 59% of business leaders believe the managerial staff in their organizations are able to effectively deliver the kind of support team members need in order to thrive in a changing environment. Organizations spend huge sums on training programs and are often disappointed by the outcome. Janice Burns, leadership product development manager for DDI, says part of the problem is making sure managers understand what their team members are learning and then helping their team members make the most of the training investment.

In a typical organization setting, managers assign training goals to staff members, such as learning how to use the new product. The managers then assume that their team members are good to go. They may even check off the training as a completed goal for the year without understanding the details. This strategy could be a recipe for disaster.

Managers must walk the line between being too involved in what their team members are doing and completely abdicating their responsibilities. Your managers should conceptually get the basic aspects of any training their team members receive. Not all managers will have the time or inclination to undergo the same type of training as their team members. However, they should at least review the main features of a new product and learn about its core strengths and weaknesses, for example.

Managers can also show their commitment to the training that is taking place by giving their employees sufficient time to learn. They can shift job responsibilities to someone else for a day or two. Monitoring what the employee is doing during training time is another good way to indicate manager commitment. For example, moving the employee to a separate physical space, away from the distractions of the phone or social media interruptions, will improve training outcomes.

Using an employee talent management platform or similar tool can help your managers track who is progressing through training. Managers can also use this platform to set S.M.A.R.T. goals to help employees work step by step toward achieving the outcomes desired by the investment leadership is making in training and development.  Without this kind of management attention and support, your organization could be wasting money and falling behind competitively.