Would you consider asking a person who’s never flown a plane to suddenly take the wheel of a 747? Would you ask someone who’s never been a physician or healthcare provider to decide what medication to give a patient?
No, right? Then why do so many companies promote people to managers without any training provided at all?
Being a manager takes just as much skill and expertise and the results can be nearly as damaging.
The sad news is that 86% of HR and business leaders agree and yet they don’t feel like overall training is enough. Managers don’t feel like they get enough training either; they face difficult situations, unable to achieve company goals while engaging their employees. And Gallup indicates that manages have 70% variance on employee engagement. Meaning, it’s individual managers who are helping get employees engaged.
Training doesn’t have to be expensive, but you need to have it.
What to include in a manager program
Every company is different in the ways they develop and train people. One consideration is to go beyond training so that good managerial skills become a community of practice.
Qualities of a manager program
For success manager training programs, organizations need to think about flexibility, scale and even beyond just training. Manager training should …
- Be frequent with ad-hoc options, providing people just-in-time information when taking on key tasks such as terminations, hiring, introducing change, etc.
- Include face-to-face. Key discussions about a managers’ responsibility for communication and relationship building need to happen in person. There’s no way around it.
- Have an online component. Ensure there’s an intranet hub for managers. Training information, policies, procedures, their HR business partner and links to your mentor program should be included there. Add communication that needs cascading there, too. Also, enable managers to collaborate and share ideas online.
- Go beyond with a mentor program. Hearing how other people managers handle situations help new managers understand how they may address the situation. With a mentor, a manager gets real-time and just-in-time help from someone who’s already been in these situations before.
- Enable networking opportunities. Being able to online and in person ask others, besides just their mentor, questions and get perspectives makes your managers better able to understand company dynamics, get new information as well as get ideas. Many organizations roll these networking opportunities into all-manager meetings.
- Get follow-ups with HR business partners and leaders. Enabling managers to receive frequent feedback and get HR assistance makes them better managers. They can harness their strengths. They can also receive candid feedback and ideas on how they can develop. That may be useful information for the manager and his or her mentor to discuss.
- Include recognition. Acknowledge managers for good work.
- Make it engaging and fun, even on an ongoing basis. It shouldn’t feel like managers are held hostage for a couple of days.
Content of a program
What should be included in training? Everything that a manager will be reviewed on, if your organization has performance reviews. It should also stretch to include what would enable your organization to achieve its mission, vision and goals according to the values that have been determined. That’s a tall order, but it’s possible.
- Provide information about your organization – its mission, vision, values, goals, brand, history, products, services, organizational structure, etc. Managers should be brand ambassadors understanding what makes your company great.
- Include financial and business acumen. It’s vital that managers understand the industry and the changing world as they’re asked to cascade information that manages change. If your company is publicly traded, they should also be able to read an earnings statement.
- Add communication. You’re counting on managers to communicate a lot — cascade information, manage change and handle “crucial conversations.” (Crucial or fierce conversations are those tough discussions that are high stakes.) Invite Corporate Communications in and help managers understand communication expectations. How often should managers have one-on-ones? How often should they have team meetings? Where can they go to get information about company news?
- Ensure compliance. How to hire and terminate employees, what questions to ask during an interview, etc. should all be covered to protect your organization and workers, including managers. Compliance should also include your sexual harassment training, policies and procedures as well as security.
- Provide ideas for engagement. Managers should have a bevy of tactics on how to keep good employees that go beyond annual pay.
- Discuss the importance of networking and influence. Projects don’t get completed and executives don’t approve information without a team of people all providing reasons and statistics.
- Address other items that make your organization special, such as diversity and how to address risk.
Why train managers
A comprehensive program is necessary — your organizational goals, values, customers, and more all depend on it. Here are five reasons to train managers:
1. Employee success and satisfaction
Heard the adage: Employees don’t leave a company, they leave a manager? It’s true, according to Gallup — employees do leave managers. Usually, problems stem from the employee-manager relationship. Managers are seen as unable to address issues such as helping develop their career, not being recognized for their accomplishments, feeling unlistened to, not given workplace flexibility, etc.
In the vast majority of these cases, a manager can fix these problems. It starts with a conversation. For challenging conversations, pay increases, workplace flexibility discussions (even where policies don’t exist) and more, managers can advocate for employees.
So why is it important to retain employees? For one, there’s institutional knowledge your employees have. They’ve been learning on the job, understand your company and have relationships with people across the company that gets work done. Additionally, turnover costs money; on average it costs about $50,000 to recruit and train a new employee. That’s why it’s a good idea for some of the manager training to be about communication.
2. Manager success and satisfaction
Managers themselves want more training and tools to help employees. They want to help achieve company goals. They want to ensure employees are satisfied, even challenged so employees can positively develop their careers.
But if they’re unequipped to handle issues, they are less successful and more dissatisfied. And turnover for managers is more expensive, running more than $50,000.
3. Achieve company goals
Managers can rally teams to accomplish goals, even stretch goals. Those company goals often fall into two categories — add revenue or decrease cost.
Adding revenue includes ensuring excellent customer service, developing smart marketing programs, creating effective sales techniques and more. The same is true for decreasing costs. Creating new and innovative ideas to eliminate waste, reducing unnecessary turnover (caused by job dissatisfaction) and more are tasks managers should accomplish.
These strategies require managers understand what they and their teams need to be able to do – how much revenue to add and how much waste to eliminate – and come up with appropriate tactics.
4. Protect companies
Managers are responsible for various activities that have legal consequences — hiring, terminations, resolving employee disputes, upholding equal opportunities and more. These laws and company policies require specific training. Training sessions ensure managers uphold company’s values and ideals while staying compliant with the law. Without it, the company could run the risk of fines or lawsuits. Beyond monetary penalties, these issues damage company reputations and brands.
5. Plan succession – your leadership pipeline
The best managers are those who understand your culture and industry, know which people to go to for help, have relationships across the organization and seek solutions that benefit everyone. This knowledge doesn’t come overnight – it happens over time. These people typically work their way up the manager-chain, receiving promotions with potential paths for even more responsibility to become an officer or executive.
Leaders coach and mentor those managers. Those managers, in turn, mentor and coach a new generation or group of leaders.
It’s good for business, and it’s vital for succession planning.
The right manager training will take effort — your entire organization behind the initiative. But it’s worth it when you consider the consequences of not having a manager program: unhappy employees, high turnover, unaccomplished organizational goals, fines, lawsuits, etc.Managers need a place to learn, share and collaborate online. Imagine if managers had talking points to cascade, could trade ideas and handle tough problems on the spot. ElevatePoint has intranets can come with a manager’s center.