HR Talk: Line managers stimulate training


Most employees have a negative perception of training and at times view it as punishment. Helpful as it may be; to many employees it is something they may forgo if they were given a choice. Why is this so and what can we do about it?

Paul Nyausaru

The problem normally starts at the top. Many a time managers blow off the training because they don’t need it. The effect this sends is a strong message to all their subordinates that this training is not worth my time. It follows then that if leaders haven’t attended the training themselves, how can they reinforce the message?

Take for instance in the medical environment where all the time it is the nursing staff that has to attend customer service training, not the doctors who may regard themselves as too senior. Guess who treats both the nurses and the patients poorly? It is the doctors. This will no doubt send a wrong message to the nurses. No wonder why they may not be interested in the training. What then could be done in order to stimulate interest in the employees?

If you are going to have training for your employees, there is need to go through it yourself. When you are there, support the trainer and your learners. Being part of the training you as the manager will stimulate interest in the subordinates.

The only time you may want to consider not attending is if you want your people to interact freely with the trainer without your possibly intimidating presence. This is a very valid reason for not being there. If that’s the case — tell your subordinates. Tell them you think the training is important and why you are not going.

No one likes boring training, so there is need to make sure the training is good and has value for the attendees.

This seems obvious, but something horrible has happened to people. They have had to sit through boring sessions and they hate it. It is vital to look for presenters out there who have high energy, humour and great information. Take the time to identify trainers who can rise to the occasion.

If you are using internal trainers, make sure they don’t get burned out and bored with their own material. Take good care of them since they have a big impact on your employees.

If your people are laughing, they are not in pain. Good training can help with morale and retention. Don’t settle for boring. It may help if the training session is punctuated with icebreakers and energisers that ensure they are active and are part of the process.

So as a trainer you need not embarrass your participants in the process. Make it fun, but don’t make participants feel stupid or uncomfortable.

Most adults are terrified of looking like idiots, so endeavour to make training fun and safe or your people will dread it. It is imperative for the manager to be supportive of the learning initiatives of subordinates in order for to assist them appreciate training.

Remember your subordinates are the most valuable resources you need to accomplish you organisational goals.