The Role of Line Managers

Line managers have a crucial role to play in people development and are vital in helping a member of their team transition the learning from the classroom to the workplace.

Some are less than clear on the role they can play when a team member is being trained.  Others, are less than happy about losing a valuable team member to a training programme.

Their involvement is vital.

How can you get a Line Manager truly involved in development?

  1. Convince them with returns.  The return on investment in training almost doubles when a line manager has a pre and post training programme briefing with a participant.
  1. Show them how.  At gofastforward, we send the Line managers questions they can ask before and after a member of their team comes to one of our sessions.  We know they’re busy , so an easy guide to a small number of questions they can ask means they can fit such an important conversation into a busy day.
  1. Remind them of WIIFM.  Illustrate how investment in a member of their team benefits the line manager – so they can answer any What’s In It For Me questions they might have.
  1. Improve communication.  Strengthen the communication between HR and Line Management. Get to know their challenges and opportunities. Show the unconvinced that L&D is a valuable part of their team.
  1. And when you communicatetalk the same language.  HR must be able to talk the same language as line managers – improvements to productivity, long-term growth and return on investment for example. Only then will HR get its message across as to how important L&D is for the business and its people.
  1. Help line managers to understand staff needs.  Line managers often need help in understanding their staff and how their skills can be improved. They also should be encouraged to think more about the trends and behaviours they are seeing in people and how their skills can be better developed. Involving line managers more in the coaching of employees, performance management systems and talent management methodologies are all valuable mechanisms.
  1. Knowledge retention.   In order for learning to have an impact, line managers need help in connecting the dots by putting an action plan together with the employee after the course has ended. HR can help facilitate this process.
  1. Get feedback.  Line managers have a vital role to play in providing feedback on how successful different training initiatives are. They are the people who can ensure that what is learned in the classroom or comes out of the HR department is implemented and practiced in the day-to-day working environment. This knowledge needs to be shared with HR.
  1. Give them options.  Line managers should know their staff the best and should be ideally placed to evaluate what training methods are going to be the most effective to upskill each team member. It’s HR’s role to ensure that line managers have the very latest information on available training programmes and tools. All too often line managers replicate their own learning experiences which were probably rooted in traditional approaches.
  1. Give them time.  Line managers all too often say they are too busy to manage training. HR also need to focus their attention on managers of managers to ensure that training becomes a priority within the organisation. This will help develop a training culture and ensure that training is embedded from the top-down.

For more information about the training we can offer, please call us on 0131 220 1180 or email on