How to Develop a Comprehensive Management Training Program
Helping managers grow in their skills is an important part of any training program. However, you may find that your current program lacks something and that the managers who graduate from it are not living up to their potential. To remedy this, you'll need to develop a comprehensive management training program that incorporates a variety of skills necessary for any manager. Get started by clarifying exactly what you want your future managers to learn.
Establishing the Basics of Your Training Program
Develop an understanding of management training.Before creating a management training program, you'll need to gain a basic understanding of how such programs work. Research existing management training programs that are available online to get an idea of how they are structured, what is taught, and other aspects of the training. Read articles about management training in online news sources, trade publications, and industry magazines.
- If you need further guidance, there are management training program workshops that can give you the tools you need to create your own program.
Determine the goals of your training program.Identify the things you want your managers to be able to do once they complete your training program. In addition, think about what qualities or values you want your managers to cultivate as a result of your management training. These values, just like the skills you teach, should be specific to your company. There is no standard set of values and skills that will be beneficial to all managers, so develop your own based on your operations and specific company culture.
- For example, Disney's management training program places the most emphasis on improving interactions between employees and customers.
- However, other management training program might focus on increasing collaboration between employees or another goal.
- Whatever goals you choose, make sure they are realistic. Otherwise, you might alienate your management trainees.
Choose a training structure.Your training may be structure in several different ways, each with their own unique advantages. For example, you might choose a self-directed training program or a classroom-style one. Whereas the classroom-style program may give you more control, a self-directed one will give trainees the ability to manage their own learning and may lead to more successful absorption of knowledge.
- Another structure choice involves the formality of the program. Whether your program is best carried out formally or informally will depend on the specific culture of your company and the extent of the training provided.
Build a team of management trainers.If you are running a very small organization, you might have to carry out the management training yourself. Otherwise, you have choices for who will teach your trainees. For example, you might choose for training to be run by existing management and executives. However, this would take them away from their other duties at the company. Another option is to hire an outside management trainer, training coordinator, or management training organization.
Identify your management trainees.Your management trainee class might be composed of employees promoted from within or outside hires. However, identifying who to promote and hire for these roles can be difficult. In some cases, your best employees might not be cut out for management duties. One possible solution is to allow employees to shadow a manager for a short time, like a day or a week. This will allow the employee to get a sense of the duties involved and give you a chance to assess their performance.
Determining Training Specifics
Identify the material you want to cover throughout your training program.Though there are basic skills every manager should have, there is also specific information you may want to cover during your training. Besides the skills listed below, identify foundational knowledge your managers need such as learning how certain processes work within your organization (e.g. turning in expense reports).
- Leadership skills involve casting vision, inspiring others, and developing relationships with your employees.
- Communication skills include conflict management, public speaking, business communication, and leading one-on-one meetings with their team members.
- Supervisory or management skills incorporate tasks like directing others, solving immediate problems, and making sure work gets completed in a timely manner.
- Technology skills help managers know how to use the technology available to them, whether mobile devices, computer software, or other computer applications.
- Tactical skills include time management, stress management, and leading meetings.
- Ethics and compliance training involves teaching managers about your company's code of ethics and how you expect them to conduct themselves as part of your organization.
- Employment laws help managers understand and apply the law to specific circumstances, specifically discrimination, harassment, and termination laws.
Choose a format for your training program.Use the format that works best for you and your managers and stays true to the values and mission of your organization. In general, training should be done in the style that it is meant to teach. This means that if you are teaching collaboration skills, your training format should be equally collaborative. Some specific format options include:
- Computer-based learning or online learning. These are both cost-effective formats and can be very useful tools for individual study.
- Live training with a facilitator. They can present good information while being there to answer questions or demonstrate specific skills.
- Case studies offer practical applications. These can be incorporated into any format of training.
- Physical activities such as manufacturing and simulation.
- Group research.
- Group tasks.
Ground your training in real-world applications.Management instruction is useful if managers are shown how to integrate that training into their work. Support your training efforts with real-world observation and demonstration. Make sure to use current operations to demonstrate applications, rather than irrelevant or out-of-date examples. Have leaders from each department assist in the instruction relevant to what they do.
- One option is to rotate management trainees through different roles within the company over a period of time. This will allow them to become acquainted with each part of your organization.
Create training materials.Your training program will be composed at least partially of materials designed to convey specifics about your company and its processes. For example, you may choose to provide user manuals or a management handbook that lays out critical information that trainees might want to refer back to at a later date. In addition, you may want to create worksheets or computer courses that allow trainees to work through problems. Finally, case studies can be effective way for trainees to tie in their training with real-world events.
- These materials should be designed to support and enhance lectures, group discussions, and group tasks.
Institute a mentoring program.Pair trainees with senior leadership at the company during their training process. Mentoring allows each manager to receive personal feedback from the more experienced manager. Those in training can ask questions or listen to stories of past managers, realizing that they are not alone in any problems they are encountering. Allow the trainee and managers to individually meet and set the terms of their relationships, including the level of contact outside of formal training.
- Allow them to spend time getting to know each other outside of a business context. This can help build trust that will lead to more effective learning.
Find a suitable time frame for training.Determine how long the training program will last. It might be an ongoing process, where the program is repeated every 2 years or so in order to allow managers to review the information and continue learning. Or, it might be a more succinct process new managers go through individually. When you have a time frame, you can begin setting up a specific training schedule. Remember to allow for regular breaks, meals, and the performance of other work responsibilities, if necessary.
Choose a location.Your training location choice will depend on your budget and training goals. You can train management in your workplace or someone's home for free or you can a rent a space from a convention center, retreat, or other local institution. Make your choice based on the specific needs of your training program and the number of trainees you have.
Implementing the Training Program
Set up a system to monitor program success.In order to successfully implement your program, you'll need a way to assess how well it is working. You can track attendance, participation, performance, and post-training results as ways to assess how well your program is doing and whether trainees are benefitting from it. This might involve having trainers or trainees fill out forms to assess the learning experience or an analysis of trainee performance before and after the program.
Allow for failure.Your program should include provisions for management trainees to drop out or fail the program. Not every trainee will be cut out to become a manager, and your program needs a mechanism for recognizing that. For example, if you include tests or evaluations as part of your program, you can weed out those who score low marks. To keep trainee levels up, you can continuously recruit additional trainees to fill the gaps left by dropouts.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your training program.Decide in advance how you will determine if your training is effective or not. One way to do this is to look back at your goals. If your goals identified what you wanted your managers to know, you can test their knowledge formally (e.g., test) or informally (e.g., casual conversation). Or, if you specified how you wanted your managers to act, observe their behavior as they interact with clients and employees.
- Gather feedback from trainees about the program. What do they feel could do handled or taught better?
Reevaluate your training program.Use what you learn through your evaluations to make changes to your management training program. Like your trainees, your program is a work in progress and must be treated as such. If something isn't adding value, cut it out. Likewise, if trainees reported one activity as highly informative, extend the useful aspects of that activity to the rest of your program. Make changes frequently, being sure to update your materials and program plan as you go along.
- Make training application-based. General information is helpful, but training is at its best when it helps managers understand what they hear and apply it to their own work environment.
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