Why manager involvement is crucial for workplace learning

Erin McGee, 3 min read

We believe the ultimate goal of any sort of training is to improve on-the-job performance.

The answer to "Is what was learnt being applied on a regular basis?” should be a resounding yes. And we know that manager support and endorsement of training is critical to its success.

Without it, team members question its validity, priority and relevance to their job and professional development.

Unfortunately, many managers don’t actively support or dedicate time to learning – which doesn’t make a lot of sense, considering:

What managers want to get out of workplace learning:

  • For their team to develop their skills and knowledge to get better at their jobs

What employees want to get out of workplace learning:

  • To develop their skills and knowledge to get better at their jobs

Notice any similarities?

At the core, both managers and learners want the same outcome from learning: to get better at their jobs.

Sure, there might be other factors like KPIs, promotions, bonuses – but in most cases, both parties just want to progress. And the way to do that is by constantly learning, developing skills and changing behaviours to improve performance.

If managers are enthusiastic about their team’s learning and development, it makes it easier for employees to be engaged and excited, too.

Even better, managers have the knowledge and expertise to help inform the most relevant, accurate content that learners need to know to become better at what they do. And to do this effectively, managers need to be involved early, and involved often.

Make sure managers have a say in their team’s learning

Learning needs to be relevant and to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?”

Luckily, managers know their audience – their team. And being able to adapt content to different work styles, strengths and weaknesses can help answer this question.

Consider a sales manager whose team is having product and sales training that’s been curated, created and delivered by the L&D department.

Whilst that scenario is incredibly common, knowledge that could be crucial to improving the content could be missed, or learners may discredit the trainer’s credibility if they’re not a subject matter expert.

When managers have input in the content, they act as a bridge between L&D and learners that keeps learning contextually relevant. If learners can understand what the ultimate goal of the training is, they’re more likely to become invested too.

Managers also know who the subject matter experts in their team are. Helping these employees share their expertise has several benefits:

  • The content is generally more detailed, factual and relevant
  • It’s the first step in creating a knowledge sharing culture
  • It reflects highly on the company as being one that recognises dedication to learning.

Most managers know what an ideal culture of learning in their organisation looks like, except there are often roadblocks that revolve around budget, ROI and business impact.

And that's why we harp on about linking learning goals with business goals.

To receive budget or sign-off, particularly in larger companies, managers need to be able to prove the tangible business results that sometimes learning programs can’t provide – no matter how much learning actually happens.

The approach we like to take with our customers is to be clear about how the learning (in their case, learning with Yarno) fits in with the business’ objectives and what it can deliver against these objectives. Explain how it will be measured, evaluated and improved upon. The more robust the measurement, the stronger the results will be.

Having well-defined outcomes also allows managers to hit their own KPIs whilst being able to support their team’s professional development at the same time (all while keeping the C-Suite happy!)

Want to learn more about how Yarno can help link employee learning with your company's goals?

We love to chat. Give us a buzz!

Erin McGee

Erin McGee

Erin is Yarno's trusty wordsmith and resident spreader of good vibes. You'll find her chatting up a storm in Mandarin, yelling kiai's at jujitsu and eating dark chocolate at 2pm sharp.

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