Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning - Part 1

I have been asked to give a presentation on the above title at an international L&D Conference in the new year.

Consequently, I've started to pull together my initial thoughts on this topic. I plan to use this blog as a mechanism to help pull these ideas together, and (hopefully) to get some feedback from others reading this emergent 'presentation'.

So - Why focus on the role of the Line Manager ?

Firstly: the Corporate Executive Board has some powerful data on 'What a difference a (great) manager makes'. In summary: they illustrate that 'employees whose managers are the most effective at employee development perform up to 25% higher'.

The 25% is cites as a combination of both the directly attributable impact (16%) and the effects of enhanced engagement (9%).

Secondly: the 70:20:10 ratio is widely held as a good illustration of the relative % influence of 'on-the-job':'coaching':'training courses' in workplace learning. Hence, 90% (if not more) of the opportunites to directly influence learning rests not with the L&D professional, but with those managing the colleague.

So as discussed by Martyn Sloman of CIPD and others - the opportunity for L&D professionals is to influence the day-to-day action of managers.

So - What L&D related actions do we require of Line Managers ?

In considering what are the actions we (L&D) want to see line managers embrace - I'd suggest this can be put bluntly as 'developing colleagues is not just about sending them to appropriate training courses'

More constructively - I offer the following SIX questions as a framework for Line Manager action.

  1. What are the additional skills your department needs to deliver the business goals ?
  2. What actions will help to ensure colleagues understand their individual development needs ?
  3. What can you do to help colleagues appropriately blend training with outher development activities ?
  4. What will you do to ensure colleagues appreciate the importance of building the required skills ?
  5. What opportunities can you provide to ensure colleagues put the newly acquired skills into practice ?
  6. What learning can be identified from the actions taken & how will these be implemented in your department ?

Please let me know your thoughts on the above framework