How Do You Get Managers and Supervisors On Board?

November 13, 2013

One of the most common questions we receive from learning and performance professionals globally is, “How do we get managers and supervisors on board?” After some probing, we typically discover that the more specific question is, “How do we get managers and supervisors to actively participate in coaching and developing their direct reports?”

Here are four simple suggestions to involve managers and supervisors in the entire learning and performance process:

1. Involve managers and supervisors in the pre-training process. For example, when new training content is being developed or revised, ask for their input. They are an important source of job performance gap information that will translate nicely into learning objectives and course content. Get them to “sign on” from the start to avoid setting the expectation that all they have to do is sign off on allowing you to hold the training event. If your stakeholders are not yet ready for this step, click here to learn initial strategies for building the bridge to them. 

2. Ask managers and supervisors to deliver a pre-training message to their direct reports. Since you have engaged them early in the process, they will are more likely to say yes to delivering a message, something like, “I am looking forward to hearing about what you learn in training, and I will help you to apply it when you return.”

3. Create a comprehensive follow-up program including managers and supervisors. During training design and development, build a post-program follow-up package that includes coaching, support and accountability to ensure on-the-job application. Give managers and supervisors a key role in coaching and supporting the desired behaviors, and make sure they know what to do when they catch people doing things right. Partner with them to measure performance and subsequent results. This also creates a safety net in the event you don’t have all managers on board.

4. Showcase the application levels and movement of key indicators to the organization to show the success of this teamwork approach. All of the information you gather in this process will come in handy when it is time to compile quantitative data and testimonials for your program’s chain of evidence.

The Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program can help you gain the confidence to follow these steps. 

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Training on Trial

Don’t Have Them Sign Off, Have Them Sign On

Could You Be Replaced By An App? – Part 2

Do You Catch People Doing Things Right?

Real World Tips for Building Business Partnership

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