22 Mar 2019, 09:50 — 5 min read
Background: Training programmes are essential to ensure that first line managers can take on the responsibility of guiding their team to achieve their goals, in addition to driving the day-to-day operations of a company. GlobalLinker member and people management expert, V Sivasubramaniam shares the importance of ongoing post-training support.
A common practice for most businesses, especially startups is that they invest so much time and effort in training first line managers but then do not provide any post training support in the workplace, to ensure whether the new skills are applied to the job or not. First line managers (FLM) are suddenly thrust into a new role which is challenging. With newer responsibilities to attend to and no post training support, many good managers succumb to the pressures of a demanding role and quit.
I believe there are four keys to developing a first line manager training programme that is sure to result in proficiency on the job, post training.
1. Turn the training programme into a journey
Even as the founder of a company, did you ever learn a new skill and apply it to your life simply through a training programme? The answer is probably no. This is because developing skills involve the trainee going through a systematic journey which includes learning the new skill and then applying it to the job in hand.
For this reason, any effective training programme needs to be made up of a variety of activities and tasks in the workplace environment, rather than just a single training event away from the workplace. The programme needs to be a journey that allows the first line managers to prepare, learn, practice and reflect on the programme and build processes in the programme that easily allows them to complete the training journey.
2. Collaborate with the FLM's manager
How do you measure proficiency? The most obvious answer here is for first line managers to demonstrate their skills to their overhead/manager, whilst on the job. A successful training programme should include a clear framework of key skills that the manager can then use to assess the level to which the first line manager is using these for the job.
Managers can use this guide to question the success of the programme while continuing to coach the trainee after the training sessions. It is important for first line managers to be given clear targets or missions to accomplish, which will then help their managers create a step-by-step feedback for them.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Applying the skills from the training programme is vital to the long-term success and application of the new learning. To best help the first line managers, the programme needs to be structured with clear goals. A three-step model, which includes steps like prepare, perform and reflect, is an ideal way to go.
Asking first line managers to practice on the job directly might fail because it is likely for them to simply forget some major steps. I believe that technology is one of the best ways to ensure this doesn’t happen. It allows both the manager and the first line managers to keep track of progress and communicate with each other.
4. Ensure results are visible and measurable
Investing time and money into training programmes is good, however it is almost pointless unless you can physically see the results. In point three, I discussed the importance of practicing new skills on the job after the off-site training session however you still need to measure this.
The managers should ask the first line managers to log down the skills they have used and the outcomes or benefits of these on their jobs.This is an extremely easy way for managers to measure their progress and thus the return on their investment.The Learning and Development (L&D) department can see and aggregate data to demonstrate the true value of the programme which in turn allows them to analyse the usefulness of further training within the company.
To conclude, a successful training programme is vital for any first line manager to develop in their role and be the best they can.This means engaging the trainee and providing them with multiple opportunities to practice their skills on the job. Another vital part to any training programme is the ability to measure its success.This involves noting down each time the first line manager uses a new skill and asking their managers to monitor and provide appropriate feedback.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.