Business First September 2017 Business First September 2017 - Page 60

BEST PRACTICE How training First Line Managers can bring success to your business by Stephen Fortune, Principal Consultant at The Oxford Group irst Line Managers (FLMs) are arguably some of the most important people in the workplace, as they blur the boundaries between business leaders and executives. In this ever changing world, where we see constant political upheaval and economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for them to be kept up to date with the latest advancements in technology and the current industry knowledge. For this exact reason, employers are constantly investing money and time into training FLMs to ensure they are completing their job to the very best of their ability, however this training is often not followed up with the necessary support and on­the­job experience that is required for the FLMs to make full use of the training. For this reason, I suggest four tips for business leaders who are looking to implement efficient FLM training to bring the company success: F As part of this process, the trainee should be given clear goals and targets to hit when practicing the new skills on the job as this provides a successful way for both trainee and manager to look at their progress. Create a journey How many of your skills have come from sitting at a desk listening to someone? Probably not many. The best way to successfully introduce new skills into your life is to apply them to everyday tasks. Whether this is communicating with customers in a different manner or using new database systems, the best way to integrate these into the job is through actually doing them. The journey for the trainee should involve systematically learning the skills off the job and then being given the opportunity to develop these on the job. Any successful training programme will consist of a variety of tasks and activities to engage the participant, rather than a simple training event away from the workplace. Trainees need time to prepare, learn, practice and reflect on the skills involved in the programme in order to complete the journey. Liaise with the FLMs manager Measuring proficiency is most commonly achieved through asking the trainee to practice the skills on the job, but how is this measured? As part of the training programme, the trainer should develop a clear framework for managers to use whilst assessing to what level the trainee is applying each skill. This is also useful for managers as it allows them to assess the return on investment (ROI) for the business. 58 Practice makes perfect As discussed in the previous two points, practicing the new skills on the job is vital for success. To aid this, a three step model can be created to help guide the trainee through the different processes; prepare, perform and reflect. Simply asking the participant to practice their new skills on the job can be fatal to their success, because once back in the workplace, it is extremely easy for them to forget and get carried away with their day to day tasks. The use of online planners can be extremely helpful to remedy this. They allow managers and participants to keep a track of progress and easily communicate with each other. Produce measurable results It is easy for managers to warrant budget for training, however it can be almost pointless unless you are able to visibly see the improvement in FLMs. Managers need to ask the employee in question to note down each skill they were taught in the off­site training sessions alongside how they have applied each of these to their job in the following weeks. L&D departments can see the visible data and results and analyse this for future budgeting. They can either highlight the value of the training sessions or decide against doing them in future if they believe the results are not great enough. Overall, effective training programmes for FLMs are vital for them to remain at the forefront of their industry, however it is extremely easy for companies to become carried away and forget that the majority of the effort comes from the on­site training. Employers and managers need to measure the success and return on investment in order to analyse the value of future training. About Stephen Fortune Stephen joined the Oxford Group in 2016 as a Principal Consultant. His experience extends across a range of high profile projects and clients including The Children’s Trust, ED&F Man, Gilead, Novartis, Legal & General, Rabobank, Johnson Press, Sainsbury’s and William Hill and now The Oxford Group.