Managers play a crucial role in employee retention and engagement

March 8, 2022

Companies always are looking for ways to attract and retain employees, and training and development often are key. But a recent Gallup survey also found “at least 70% of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader,” according to Harvard Business Review.

Following are five simple steps to creating a more active role for managers in training and developing employees.

  1. Let managers tell you what they need. Managers have a heightened sense of the skills team members need to build, and research shows they are more likely to initiate training than a human resources or training professional. Establish a process to quantify training needs directly from managers, whether through a survey or in-depth discussions.
  2. Create targets and structure for learning. It can be difficult for managers to encourage busy, overworked team members to learn something new. One solution is to have designated space and time for learning, giving managers cover when encouraging their team members to participate. Additionally, employees prefer clear targets and structure.
  3. Give managers a specific role. Managers have the most visibility and control over employees’ priorities, and training programs should harness this power to achieve greater participation. For example, instead of having a training initiative announced by human resources, consider having the announcement come from managers directly to their team members.
  4. Help managers turn training into action. Managers help team members apply what they learn. Aegon, a financial services company headquartered in the Netherlands, has a companywide “Analytics for Leaders” program, which involves developing ideas for how analytics can be used in the business. Managers play a role in the program themselves and are responsible for approving and “owning” ideas.
  5. Collect feedback from managers. Most training initiatives only collect feedback from the participants. Companies should collect feedback from managers just before the training, when managers can give input about what they expect, and then 30 to 60 days after. Instead of asking about the quality of the training, ask about the effects.

Tags: Workforce


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