How to Make L&D Easier for Managers

Learners are the focal point of everything we do as learning and development (L&D) professionals. Oftentimes, our attention is placed on providing them with content that is relevant and engaging.

While several of our most recent blogs have focused on ways we can make L&D easy for our learners, we also want to emphasize ways we can make L&D easy for the managers! It is important to remember that not every manager overseeing their employees’ training activities will have a formal background in L&D.

The following tips are provided to help support managers responsible for overseeing their employees’ L&D efforts in the workplace, regardless of how experienced those managers are in the L&D space.

Here are 5 strategies to help managers facilitate learning and development in the workplace:

1. Allocate time for L&D planning, communication, implementation, and application

While most managers will say they have no problem allocating time for their employees to attend training, we encourage managers to take a broader view. Managers should put time aside for employees to attend training, but should also allocate time for employees to digest what they have learned and apply it to their jobs.

Managers can plan to anticipate how much time might be needed to implement new skills and processes on the job by considering what it might take to see a change in employee and workplace performance. Discussing the timeline for training and implementation with employees can help managers improve communication and ensure everyone has a shared understanding of expectations.

2. Foster a supportive environment that supports the transfer of learning

Fostering a supportive environment for workplace learning is essential for cultivating a culture of continuous improvement. When employees feel supported in their learning endeavors, they are more likely to engage in development activities that enhance their skills and knowledge. Those development activites can encourage them to take initiative, experiment with new ideas, and approach challenges with confidence.

Managers need to convey that their organizations value learning, in order to foster a supportive learning environment. Having the flexibility to provide employees with the space share ideas and new skills they have acquired through training can help managers demonstrate the organization’s commitment to workplace learning.

L&D professionals can also help make training easy for managers by reaching out and inquiring about their teams’ training needs and goals. Anticipating what types of just-in-time training materials are needed to support workplace performance can help managers demonstrate to their teams that the organization values training.

L&D teams can provide managers with job aids that can be shared with employees for just-in-time support after initial training, to facilitate successful transfer of learning. Microlearning can be developed to provide employees with refreshers on new skills and processes or reminders of content they’ve received previously.

3. Integrate L&D with organizational and employee goals

Identifying opportunities to integrate L&D with organizational and employee goals helps managers by seamlessly aligning several business functions.

Aligning L&D efforts with overall organizational goals can help improve performance across the organization. Supporting employees’ professional development and career goals through L&D initiatives provides employees with a sense of purpose and helps them envision a learning path within the organization that supports their career trajectory.

Taking the time to align L&D efforts with other goals and functions of the organization helps managers coordinate their efforts to meet their employees’ goals, department objectives, as well as provide an infrastructure for supporting a learning organization. Managers should be equipped with a set of learning KPIs, identified by L&D and organizational leaders, to help them make data-driven decisions about training, while gaining broader insights on employee and organizational performance.

4. Recognize and reward employee development

Recognizing employees for their workplace training efforts is important for maintaining learners’ motivation and reinforcing a culture of continuous learning.

Ways managers can recognize employees’ learning and development through certificates, awards, or public acknowledgment during team meetings. Finally, offering tangible rewards such as bonuses, promotions, or additional responsibilities can be highly effective in recognizing and motivating employees who excel in their training efforts. Such recognition celebrates the individual’s achievements, highlights the value the organization places on professional development, and often inspires others to pursue L&D opportunities.

Taking the time to recognize employees can assist managers with identifying additional opportunities for learning and development as well as contributing to their employee’s career development within the organization.

5. Find opportunities for on-the-job training applications

Creating opportunities for employees to apply their newly acquired skills on the job demonstrates the organization’s commitment to workplace learning. This provides support to employees as they transfer and apply newly acquired skills to their roles in the organization. It also provides relevance to L&D and conveys to employees that workplace training is valued and relevant.

Assigning employees to projects or roles where they can utilize their new skills is a way managers can show their employees that they trust in their abilities. This often leads to increased employee job satisfaction and contributes to the organization’s overall return on L&D investment.

L&D puts learners at the forefront, but their managers are the ones on the ground, making sure that trainings get done, that the right lessons are learned, and that employees are able to use what they’ve learned to do their work well. In order to make sure that L&D initiatives are truly effective, organizations must enable their managers to foster a culture of continuous learning within their teams.

See how your organization can leverage a lean approach to L&D to make learning easier for managers. Download our free eBook, “L&D Made Easy: Your Guide to Impactful Lean L&D”  today!