6 tips to ENGAGE Line Managers with learning

by | Jun 28, 2012 | Articles

At the LSG Online conference this morning, we considered how the top L&D performers ( measured by the Towards Maturity Benchmark) engage with line managers to embed new ways of learning and improve learning transfer.

If you would like to find out how you compare with the top performers in your approach take part in the Towards Maturity Benchmark for Free today (open until 27th June)

Managers and leaders are critical in the success of the adoption of learning technologies and the new approaches for learning and performance  that they enable. 52% of L&D professionals say that line manager reluctance is a real barrier to change but on the other hand 55% of learners say that their manager is the only one who’s opinion counts when it comes to engaging in technology inabled learning.

In our studies over the years we’ve found that those in the top 25% of implementation maturity report that they are now more responsive to ongoing business change, engage more learners, save more time and money and delivery more business results. They also report fewer barriers to adoption and percieve more management engagement than other organisations.

The Towards Maturity Model highlights 6 workstreams of effective practice that correlate to results and that top performers consistently exhibit more than others.

ENGAGE line managers for productivity overdrive!

We mined the data to uncover 6 tips from their experience that directly relates to management engagement for you to apply back at work:

  •  Engage before Executing
  • iNtegrate with existing team practices
  •  Get real: Get relevant
  •  Apply learning
  •  Gather feedback, share Good news
  •  Equip managers through innovative Experiences

In the session, the excellent case study about the Thomson Reuters Sales Academy by Kelly Thomas   (one of the TM top quartile organisations) was used to illustrate these ideas in practice.

Engage before Executing

Involve line managers in the design of learning solutions before building them. This generates up front engagement, provides and opportunity to listen to the real challenges that they are facing and creates new ideas to bring into your solution design.  The L&S group members offered a number of great questions to ask at this stage in the process including:

  • What do you want to change?
  • What will success look like?
  • What needs to be different in 6 months time?
  • How does your team work?
  • What do you want your people to stop, start or carry on doing?
  • What have you tried before and why didn’t it work?
  • What support do your staff need in the workplace?
  • What support do you need?
  • What do you think about this approach, will it work in your team?

iNtegrate with existing team practices

Don’t isolate learning from other HR and talent initiatives. Where possible link back to the day job of the manager and individual.

Get real: Get relevant

Only 3 in 5 of us beleive that our technology enabled learning is currently relevant to current jobs – this jumps to 9 in 10 of the top performers who are e-enabling programmes to directly support important work initiaves (leadership, sales, new systems and processes). For top performers it is not just about compliance.

Communication also has to be relevant – using the vocabularly of business picked up from the questions above. Managers need to know they have been heard so watch your communications style.

Apply learning

Top performers are 3x more likely to equip their managers to help their teams get the most from learning. In the Thomson Reuters study they introduced the concept of the Power Hour – helping the managers to help their teams apply learning and learn from each other. Other ideas for L&D to help managers apply learning came from the L&S group event:

  • Support coaching skills and peer group sessions
  • Provide resources to use back at the desk ( check lists etc)
  • Support mechanisms like forums/in house social networking
  • Grow a culture of learning conversations 
  • Help them set projects that will encourage staff to apply new skills

Gather feedback, share Good news

Top performers are 2x as likely to gather learner and manager feedback on learning application. They are also twice as likely to communicate success back to management. Encourage peer to peer communication about successes – manager to manager as well as learner to learner.

Equip managers through innovative Experiences

Finally if you are providing any form of management or leadership development, do it in a way that models great online learning experiences. Our Reinventing Leadership Development study shows how organisations are already doing this. Top performers are more likely to be using technology to support leaders and managers in their own growth and development.

  • View presentation of this topic on Slideshare here

ENGAGE is just 6 tips to look to help you connect with line managers, but top performers exhibit consistent behaviour across a range of implementation behaviours.  The Towards Maturity Benchmark will help you identify where you are strong, where you can improve.

Those that benchmark don’t have to reinvent the wheel so get involved today!

Take your benchmark HERE

(The study is completely confidential and FREE thanks to the support of Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors)

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check.

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