Tip #381: Six Reasons Why Supervisors Need to be Involved in Training Design

“One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people’s excuses for failure.” Robert Townsend

Supervisors suffer loss of time and productivity when their employees are not properly trained. As a result, they have a vested interest in decisions about what training to give, when to give it, and who should receive it.

Supervisors need to be involved in training design because they are the only ones who can ensure that the training supports employee performance, the training content is accurate, the training schedule is convenient, the right employees attend the training, the employees come to the training primed to learn, and there is follow up reinforcement for what has been learned in the training.

1.The training supports employee performance.

Performance needs should drive training decisions. Supervisors are in the best position to identify employee gaps in required knowledge and skills. They can also identify anticipated training needs due to program changes and new hires. Supervisors can help to prioritize the training needs so that the right training is given at the correct time to best support employee performance.

2.The training content is accurate.

Supervisors can serve as subject matter experts to help identify the learning objectives and key content for the training program. If other technical staff perform the function of subject matter experts, the supervisors need to be able to review the content to make sure it will accurately provide the required and desired knowledge and skills. They alone know the level of competence that the employees should achieve during the training program.

3.The training schedule is convenient.

Training schedules should take into consideration shift changes, employee workloads, production deadlines, and scheduled vacations. Supervisors need to be involved in planning how the training will be scheduled to minimize potential disruptions and maximize potential attendance. They can indicate the best length of time for a workshop, the best time of day or night, the frequency of the training and the desired duration between workshops. If the supervisors are not involved in training scheduling decisions, there is a strong likelihood that some employees who need the training will not be able to attend the scheduled workshops.

4.The right employees participate in the training.

There are times when all employees may need to attend the training and other times when only specific employees should attend. If the supervisors have been involved in identifying the training priorities, validating the training content, and scheduling the training, they are much more likely to plan ahead so that their employees can attend the training. They will also be able to identify which employees will benefit the most from the training.

5.The employees come to the training primed to learn.

The supervisors know what the training is designed to achieve. As a result, they can discuss the training with their employees and indicate what they want the employees to gain from attending the workshop. The employees will then come to the training with specific learning goals in mind. This will build their interest in the training and increase the probability that they will actively participate in the workshop, particularly if they are aware that the supervisors will be expecting changes in their behavior after the training.

6.There is follow up reinforcement for what has been learned in the training.

The supervisors have been involved in the design of the training program and they have alerted their employees to the knowledge or skills they are expected to gain from the workshop. When the employees return to their work site, the supervisors will be able to reinforce what the employees learned by holding them accountable for demonstrating their new learning.

Involving supervisors in training design will encourage them to actively support the training both before and after the workshop. This will ensure that the employees benefit from attending the workshop because the training provides relevant and accurate content that is reinforced by the supervisors back on the job. Supervisory participation in training design and reinforcement will also validate the role that training plays in supporting employee performance and, thereby, business success.

May your learning be sweet.


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