Why is manager training crucial for business success? HR professional Gemma Dale explores how well-trained people managers are essential in fast-paced, changing business environments.
In the world of learning and development, there is a popular quote: What if we train them and they leave? Followed by the common retort: But what happens if we don’t train them and they stay?
This is a simple reference to the fact that sometimes people who have been highly trained will move on from the organisation that trained them – but this might just be preferable than retaining staff who do not have up to date skills and knowledge.
It is a statement that is perhaps true of all employees, but never more so than when it comes to people managers. All businesses, whatever their size, industry or sector, need skilled, knowledgeable and capable managers. Managers need both technical competence relating to their own role and professional area, as well as effective people management skills. The need for training is universal. It applies equally to a senior leader and a newly appointed team leader in their first managerial role.
Why training matters
Providing managers with relevant training is crucial for every organisation. Here are some of the key reasons why:
1. Achieving and maintaining competence
The first is a practical one: through training, managers become fully competent. Quite simply, providing training helps to ensure that managers know how to do their jobs properly.
Whilst perhaps not always the most transformational learning, practical and transactional training programmes can help to ensure that managers understand their company’s policies and procedures, work in a legally compliant manner, and are technically competent – as well as help managers to achieve relevant professional qualifications.
2. Improving working relationships
The second reason relates to the powerful relationship between an individual and their immediate manager. Through the way that they lead and manage others, managers have the ability to engage, motivate and ensure productivity. They can help people learn and grow, and inspire them to do great work. Equally, they have the ability to cause stress, disengagement, or reduced job satisfaction through poor management practices. They might contribute to employees leaving or taking time off due to ill health.
3. Leveraging your people’s abilities
People management skills are crucial if organisations are to leverage the abilities and knowledge of the people that work for them; providing training is one way to ensure that these important skills are developed. The type of training required will vary according to the requirements of the specific role and sector, but management training should be seen as essential, rather than a nice-to-have.
4. Adapting to change
There’s a final reason that providing training is crucial, and that relates to the world in which we all now live and work. If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it is that things can change with very little notice and that the ability for organisations to survive may depend on agility and innovation. It will depend too on the people that work for them being able to adapt to change. This includes the ability to learn new skills, sometimes at pace.
Training and development is good for wellbeing too: gaining new skills and qualifications can help to provide employees with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which studies have found can give our wellbeing a boost. It is important therefore to record and recognise training and learning achievement.
Record and tracking employee training and personal development across your organisation with a centralised, secure training management system.
Learning and development in a fast-paced working world
We are typically living longer, and consequently our working lives are longer too. No single training course or qualification will see any manager through their entire career, especially in fast-paced and frequently-changing environments. Lifelong learning is critical for all of us.
At the World Economic Forum in 2018, Justin Trudeau famously said: ‘the pace of change has never been this fast, and it will never be this slow again’. New skills, new knowledge, new training: these are what will keep organisations and their people managers fit for the future. Every single employee needs to ensure that they are keeping their skills, knowledge and experience up do date. Otherwise, both organisations and individuals may become stagnant.
Too many organisations fail to train their managers properly or regularly. Sometimes this is about the cost of providing training, a belief that there isn’t enough time to do so, or a failure to realise its importance. It might also be the fear mentioned at the beginning of this post that providing training will lead to higher employee turnover. But over time, a failure to provide the necessary training will undoubtedly lead to poor business outcomes and impact upon the potential for success.
A failure to invest in manager training is a failure to invest in the future of your business – don’t neglect it!
Read more from the myhrtoolkit blog
Written by Gemma Dale
Gemma Dale is an experienced senior HR professional, CIPD Chartered Fellow, HEA Fellow, and a regular speaker and writer on a variety of HR topics. Gemma is the co-author of the book 'Flexible Working' published by Kogan Page in 2020. She is also a lecturer in the Business School at Liverpool John Moores University and runs her own business, The Work Consultancy.