Engaging Mangers and Supervisors in the Learning Process

Today I want to start to talk about engagement in the learning process, and how to increase it in order to facilitate better Learning Transfer, not for participants in the courses, but for their managers, supervisors and team leaders.  We all know and probably most of us have experienced what happens when someone full of great ideas and new knowledge from the training course this have just attended comes back to their workplace, to find that attempts to utilise what they have learnt is stymied by those around them, ‘we dont do things that way around here’ comments and the like.

Often managers, supervisors and team leaders do not understand the important role they play in the learning equation, particularly in terms of learning transfer and how they can actually generate substantial business gains from simply being more engaged in the process.  And worse often we as L&D professionals neglect this area as well, or neglect to help the managers in the business to see why they should be engaged and then to provide them with the feedback that shows them how their engagement has improved their staff and business outcomes.

How do we as L&D professionals engage Managers, supervisors and team leaders in the learning processes of their staff, enabling both the staff and the managers to get the most value out of training.  We try to do a variety of things to create and maintain this engagement;

  1. Encouraging Managers to talk with their staff about the training, why they are going, what outcomes they expect, before the staff member goes to training;
  2. Developing with the manager the kinds of metrics and evaluations will capture the outcomes of their staffs learning processes;
  3. Engaging with Managers as to content and delivery and the outcomes they expect;
  4. Encouraging Managers to talk with their staff after training to establish what they learnt, what the outcomes were and what changes they might expect; and
  5. Measuring in conjunction with the managers the improvements and changes in behaviour and outcomes of the staff who attend training.

Does it work?

unfortunately only sometimes, and only with some managers etc.  It seems to me that there are a lot of managers out there that still see training as something completely external to what they do and not linked to their business outcomes at all, or who think that all of the responsibility for learning and learning transfer sits with L&D and they have no input or responsibility around it.

I would be really interested in hearing others thoughts around this, particularly around ways to engage and keep engaged managers, supervisors and team leaders.


About pauldrasmussen
Paul is the winner of the 2013 Leadership in VET Quality Award and the 2013 LearnX Learning Manager of the year award. A Thought Leader and Speaker on Organisational Learning, Professional Development, Motivation, Leadership, Management and Professional Ethics, he speaks widely and has published work on the areas of Learning and Development, Learning ROI, Business, Management, Leadership and Ethics. With Qualifications in Ethics and Bioethics, Organisational Learning and Development, Training, and Business Management and Leadership, Paul has worked in and with a wide range of public, private, government and not for profit organisations. He is currently the National Training Manager for Spectrum Training and the principal consultant with Rasmussen Learning. Specialties: • Organisational Learning and Development • Ethics (Business, Professional and Theoretical) • Learning Management and ROI • Professional Speaking • RTO Management • E-Learning • Management • Leadership • Learning Management Systems

One Response to Engaging Mangers and Supervisors in the Learning Process

  1. Pingback: Abrasive Tones in the Workplace | The Comparison

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