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Editor's Note: Over the past few weeks, we’ve been rolling out lessons for developing up-and-coming employees as leaders and managers. This is the final lesson in our playbook, but be sure to check out lessons one and two, and learn more about the effort in our playbook introduction.

People managing is a notoriously hard job. Not only are managers accountable for their employees’ success or failure, but they’re also responsible for providing development opportunities that will set employees up for success in future roles. And as if it wasn’t hard enough to identify what each person’s development needs are, filling those needs can create whole new headaches. Managers can be at a loss on how to move the needle. That’s where training can be a godsend. 

As employee development becomes a larger focus for business investment, many companies have started making online training available, allowing managers to use these training programs to help their employees level up. While that’s a great improvement, just assigning a training isn’t actually enough to enable our employees to build skills or change their behavior. For results, managers need support and development to help them follow through on their training assignments. 

Empower Your Managers to Support Employee Development

Maybe your managers are taking the first step and assigning their employees training that is in line with the employees’ development goals, but to ensure what employees learn on the computer actually makes it into their work world, empower your managers to take these five steps: 

1) Aligning on Goals

Whether in regards to training initiatives, work on specific projects or general career development, a key management skill is collaborating with employees to set achievable goals that they are motivated to work toward. Providing managers with training on goal setting can help them learn how to set clear, measurable goals for each employee on their team, and ensure those goals are ambitious and attainable. For inspiration on how to help set goals effectively, explore this lesson from Cornerstone.

2) Holding Employees Accountable

Developing the confidence to hold employees accountable doesn’t happen overnight. Whether we're talking about maintaining deadlines for training completion or holding people accountable for quality standards and attention to detail, a key management skill is being able to set and maintain expectations for their team. Offer managers help on maintaining discipline and holding employees accountable to set them on the right path. If you’re able to provide additional follow-up and feedback to your managers, that’s even better.

3) Reflecting in One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings are that crucial time each week when managers focus on their employees’ wellbeing, progress and development. This is a great time to check in on any goals the employee is working toward, offer feedback on their performance, and hold them accountable to their development plan. Help your managers make the most of this special time by offering them guidance on how to hold coaching conversations with this lesson from Cornerstone, so that they’re prepared to coach employees and follow through every week.

4) Providing Opportunities For On-the-Job Practice of New Skills

Training provides the ability to implement new behaviors and reflection helps with motivation to try new behaviors, but opportunities to practice are where the rubber hits the road. When managers assign training, it’s crucial that they offer opportunities for employees to implement what they’re learning. Help managers learn to delegate and find new ideas for incorporating learning opportunities into their team’s daily activities. It’s a great way to support your managers in bringing their employees’ development goals into the open. 

5) Recognizing and Rewarding Behavior Change

Recognizing both effort and achievement can help to motivate employees to maintain their new behaviors and take on new challenges. But how? Provide your managers with guidance on how to give employees ongoing feedback that recognizes and rewards the progress their employees are making. 

Finally, instead of just assigning out these training suggestions, follow them yourself! Support your managers’ behavior change the same way you’re urging them to support their employees’ behavior change: Align with them on the goal, hold them accountable, discuss their progress, provide practice opportunities and reward their effort. 

If you're interested in learning more about how Cornerstone can help you develop your employees, leaders and managers, click here. And, be sure to bookmark this post for lessons from our playbook.

Photo: Creative Commons

Rae Feshbach View all

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