The Role of Managers in Employee Learning

🕑 3 minutes read | Apr 01 2022 | By Becky Gendron

It is no secret that employees are the most important part of any organization. Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first.”

If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients. What does putting the employee first mentality mean, and how can managers build employee engagement, and retention, and create brand ambassadors? It’s quite simple – managers must empower their employees!

Education is the Premise of Progress

“Knowledge is power.”

-Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General

Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress. One of the most important responsibilities that a manager has is to ensure that employees have the resources needed to succeed. There is no better resource than knowledge, and learning in the workplace is synonymous with success. Whether it is hands-on learning, coaching, instructor-led training, or eLearning, the most successful managers recognize the benefits of ongoing training and continuing education for their team members.

One of the many reasons why managers are essential in employee learning is that they are active within the department on a day-to-day basis. Active department managers can provide real-time answers to questions, directions, solutions to problems, and perspectives. Ultimately, it is managers who help employees translate information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.

Who Is Responsible for Employee Learning?

Learning in the workplace is no longer just the prerogative of HR and the learning and development departments. Learning has evolved into an organization-wide priority. To become truly transformational, belief in the power of learning and development must be shared by managers. Organizations must encourage and empower managers to have a stronger role in employee learning and ensure that the resources they need are available.

Highly engaged organizations share common philosophies and practices. They place the utmost importance on using the right metrics to hire and develop great managers. Highly engaged organizations also hold their managers accountable – not just for their team’s measured engagement level, but also for how it relates to their team’s overall performance.

If managers are to truly be accountable for their departments, then necessitating continual learning is imperative.

How Managers Can Help Facilitate Learning Opportunities

Here are a few things managers can do:

  • Capitalize on your employee’s strengths
  • Discover how your employees learn best
  • Provide hands-on direct training for your employees
  • Consider interactive training and eLearning
  • Use different learning modalities to increase engagement and retention
  • Stop micromanaging and start empowering employees to use their skillsets
  • Connect learning opportunities to meaningful work
  • Encourage employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and expertise
  • Create goal roadmaps that include milestones and expectations
  • Enable employees to feel comfortable with asking questions
  • Arrange for recurring one-on-one meetings

Without managers invested in coaching and developing their teams, very little learning is likely to happen. They pay attention to the inherent ways people think, feel, and behave, and they use this understanding to simultaneously develop people and get the best business outcomes. Managers who want to be effective in their roles must be willing to coach, engage, support, and teach their employees. As the best managers know, the rewards will be well worth the effort.

To learn how your company culture can attract and retain the modern generation of talent, read 6 Ways to Build a Workplace Culture for Millennials

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