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    July 26, 2023

    Your Managers are Trained – What's Next?

    Even with the best of intentions, sometimes the trainings we do in our organizations don’t end up giving us the results we’d like to see. Quality training is a very important first step. The best training includes educating leaders and managers about all the resources the company is already investing in, including benefits, health and well-being programs, and policies. Each of these areas may impact different groups of employees in your workforce. Understanding how effective any training program can be a more difficult challenge. However, coming up with ways to measure the impact of the investment in training can be of great benefit to your organization.

    If you already have a measurement tool that can be used after trainings, such as a score card or specific questions you use in an employee survey, those are two ways to start to measure if training is having the desired impact. If not, there are two types of information your company should be looking to gather, and you can start with these questions:

    • Are leaders and managers implementing what they have been trained to do and how are they being held accountable?
    • Does the overall workforce see benefit from these trainings and how are you seeing that show up in measurable terms?

    When it comes to creating the best possible working culture, having leadership at all levels involved is key. There are examples of practical steps any organization can take.


    Case Study

    To address burnout, one company worked with leadership to reposition PTO as “recovery time,” like what top level athletes build into their training schedule to stay at the top of their game. They found that too many employees were still calling in on their vacations or not taking vacation at all. They recognized the need for them to disconnect, so they could be more productive and not burnout. It wasn’t about being away from the company. It became about investing in yourself, so that you could be at your best professionally and personally.

    They started at the top with C-Suite leaders drafting a communication plan. The CEO announced he was taking a vacation and that his core team would handle any issues that came up while he was away. Internally, he told his team that he would not be reachable by phone or email. However, they could call his wife’s phone if there was a true emergency. He also emphasized that he trusted his team to handle any situation and then scheduled time the first week he was back to have his team update him. When back, he shared with his entire company his appreciation for all they do, his trust in them and that their dedication allowed him to take the recovery time he needed. He then made it clear he wanted everyone to use PTO, because he and leadership understood how it supports their health and wellbeing and made their company better for the workforce and their clients.

    They also then made sure that every team leader was scheduling their own PTO and tracking that their team members took their PTO. Some managers needed more coaching than others, but this proved to be a very successful initiative for them.   The number of people in their annual survey identifying as feeling “overwhelmed” or “somewhat burned out” was reduced.  They had employees share about their time off and how they felt coming back on their “all hands” town hall meetings. This has proven to be a very successful approach for this company with everyone in the organization bought into the value of real recovery time.  It has been a differentiator in attracting more talent.  It has also reduced turnover.

    What You Can Do

    Leaders at all levels must visibly model and communicate the value of what they are modeling on an ongoing basis to their team. To be authentic, it may be something that some leaders and managers need to practice. It can be helpful to have mentoring in place to better support those that may need help to effectively role model for their teams. 

    Some newer managers may not understand the importance of their voice to their team. Reviews for leaders at all levels should incorporate an evaluation of effective communication and how well they are connecting team members.

    If you have a well-trained, well-established champions network, utilize them to get feedback on new initiatives. Ideally your champions network is diverse and connected to different segments of your workforce. This allows you to see if a new initiative or training is understood by employees and how it is valued.

    Consider one or two specific questions in an annual employee survey that focuses on new trainings, policies, and/or initiatives. This way it’s not a separate survey but can still give your organization some good data and feedback.

    There are also ongoing ways to measure results:

    • If related to DE&I initiatives, how many new hires are from the demographics your company would like to see in the workforce, not just how many diverse candidates are applying for positions.
    • If there is an initiative around better mental health and well-being and potentially addressing bias around getting support for mental health challenges, what is the uptake on your EAP before the training, three months after and six months after? This is data your EAP provider should easily be able to provide.
    • If you are measuring work culture satisfaction, does that baseline number move after a new initiative right after the training and then over a specific period of time? (sustained or improved six months out, one year out, two years out).
    • Measuring employee retention rates year over year, including through a diversity lens.
    • Regularly reviewing incident reports to see if there is a particular area that needs more attention.

    A focus on measurement after management training ends can provide a much better return on the investment and time your company is making around leadership and management training. It is also an opportunity to help leaders at all levels in your organizations improve and grow. That benefits the company, leadership, and the entire workforce. It can also mean saving the company time and money by understanding what training is working and where improvements may need to be made.

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