Better value from learning

For organisations to get the most from development, the role of line managers is essential. We ask readers how to involve managers in maximising return on investment.

Chris Wintle
Campaigns manager, npower
We have taken learning to improve conversion levels and engagement with customers into the telesales environment and used coaching to build extra skills and techniques, at the same time providing general motivation to those teams.

I think the classroom learning needs to be shorter and sharper, focused on the basics and information about specific products. Coaching makes learning a success and on that point managers are critical to the process.

Rick Woodward
Recruitment and development director, Kimberly-Clark Europe
I take the time to go out to senior managers and explain the training to them. It’s like a sales job because it’s hard to recommend training to people unless you’ve been on it yourself or have a flavour of it.

To do that I try to involve them in some way – get them to take part in briefing the trainers or contribute to the training.

It’s common good practice to ask your delegates before they come to discuss the learning objectives with their team leaders, and if they don’t discuss it with their boss then they’re missing a trick.

Much harder is getting them to do it afterwards. Managers can maximise learning if they ask for something in return, whether it’s a discussion or presentation. If they don’t, then training is just happening in isolation.

Neville Pritchard
Head of group learning and Barclays university, Barclays
When training is selected as the appropriate mechanism to provide learning, we would expect that both the line manager as coach and the individual have been involved in agreeing the decision.

They would need to jointly own that decision and be clear on what they expect to gain from the training.

We would expect the line manager to support the learning journey is related to the training by ensuring any initial learning is completed, that the individual is able to focus on the main event and that the environment to ensure learning is applied, is managed when training has finished.

To this end we would expect the training and development professionals to ease the process for the line manager by being thorough in the provision of support tools,  information,  and access to expertise as required.

Adrienne Davis
Leadership corporate learning manager, Barnet Council
Over the past two years we have moved away from the ‘sweet shop’ approach, where potential delegates choose from what’s on offer.

Now we look to the manager and employee to decide on the learning needed and find a solution that fits – often through talking to us. We still run a core course programme but also coaching or bespoke activities.

Afterwards the manager talks to the delegate about what they have gained and how to put it into practice.

Ilona Hall
Training and development manager, Redrow

Managers are involved in an individual’s training from the start with a pre-training form – completed jointly with the employee – to highlight what they want him or her to achieve.

At the end of training the delegate completes a two-part evaluation of the relevance and value of the course and their own individual learning.

A copy of each evaluation form is sent to managers for review and used to discuss how to apply the training back in the working environment.

It’s vital that all parties play their part if training is to make a difference to the workplace.


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