Manager or guide?

of the considerations at HRD Week is how training professionals can work in
partnership with line managers. Elaine Essery gathers opinions from speakers
and punters on this very moot point

carried out by the CIPD revealed that only half of those organisations surveyed
listed managing learning as a required management competency. But as companies
seek to develop new capabilities and competencies to take business forward, the
workplace is becoming an increasingly important source of learning. Line
managers have a vital role to play in developing staff, yet few will take this
on because they are anxious to guard the knowledge which they believe protects
their status. The idea that training is the preserve of HR is fast going out of
fashion. For organisations to achieve their goals, trainers need to adopt a
strong business focus and adapt their role as one of support to managers in
helping individuals learn. But how can we make the workplace a more effective
learning environment? We put the question, “Where does managing end and
learning begin?”

Senior partner, Personnel Works

a false dichotomy that managing stops somewhere and learning starts. Good managers
have always known about developing and getting people to learn.

managers to understand that it is in all our interests for them to develop
people today and allow them time to learn, is the key issue.

idea that training is something done by the training department is almost
obsolete, but there is a role for trainers as mentors, coaches and performance

training and performance all overlap, but most managers are not ready to make
that sort of leap. The future role of trainers is to get managers over that
hurdle, help them realise what they’ve learnt and how they can pass it on.

Learning director, Tesco Stores

real challenge is to be very business focused. To make the workplace an
effective source of learning, first you need a clear vision for the business
and clear goals. Communicating that is vital so people understand what you’re
trying to achieve.

sure that people’s goals are tied tightly to the business plans so that
everyone is focused on achieving the same things is critically important.   Supporting them in doing so is where
training plays a role and you can manage that through the performance
management and development planning process then reinforcing it with ongoing

important thing is that people know what you’re trying to achieve and that they
are going to be supported to achieve it.

Adviser, training and development, CIPD

of the key roles for managers is to develop the people they’re working with in
an appropriate way. To do that they need to form a partnership with the
training function.

workplace is often the richest learning environment and putting together a
strategic plan for workplace learning for an individual is something that line
managers have to get involved with because they understand why the person needs
to develop in a particular direction.

someone to learn effectively there has to be a purpose, they must be supported,
and they have to be given the opportunity to apply what they’ve learnt.
Management has a big role to play in each of these phases.

Group operations director, Astron Group

I worked in HR I came to realise that no matter how well you could establish a
way forward for the business in terms of training, unless your line managers
believed it, breathed it and talked it every single day it will not transfer
back to the workplace.

isn’t an offline process. You need to create a different ethos where the
individual understands how they fit into the overall business strategy and
they, along with their manager, determine how they’re going to manage their

to where managing ends and learning begins – it doesn’t. It’s a marriage of the
two. The premier role of the manager is managing learning because what you’re
actually managing is change and continual performance improvement, and it’s
your daily breath.

Head of people and organisation development, Easyjet

the past, training has been like a series of discrete initiatives. In the
future I think training professionals will turn into development professionals
who see the need from a business perspective, and design programmes which
achieve realistic goals and make a measurable difference.

doesn’t stop, because the development cycle is all about managing bottom-line
performance, and learning never begins because it’s already embedded. It’s
saying, “To do that we’re going to have to be learning all the time”, and it’s
not saying, “OK I’m going to learn when I’m in the training room”.

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