Shaping Supervisor Training for Business Success

A cursory online search of supervisor training resources provides an astounding array of recommended options.

Choices include:

However, no HR department would be able to justify, from a financial perspective, an endless stream of supervisor training programs.

And, as a practical matter, supervisors would experience burnout as a result of too much time away from everyday work responsibilities for the sake of training. Sadly, today’s workplaces are rife with supervisors who may be overextended in terms of their roles and responsibilities, and any required training session may be met with initial irritation and eventual disengagement.

Yet, failure to adequately train and support supervisors as part of a greater performance management program may result in massive liability risks for an organization – perhaps even resulting in a sexual harassment or corruption scandal.

Optimal Focus

Most conscientious businesses insist on well-trained and capable supervisors in order to minimize such risks. In addition, corporate counsel are usually overjoyed when front-line supervisors competently handle an employee relations matter. Even if the case progresses to litigation, when a supervisor’s first response constituted a legally compliant, fair action, it makes a defense attorney’s job that much more straightforward.

Yet simply achieving compliance with laws should not be the be-all, end-all of supervisor training. Learning initiatives should also focus on turning front-line supervisors into high-performing leaders. This approach will yield the greatest levels of business success.

But which training modules would best achieve this strategic growth?

Acknowledging and Prioritizing Training Needs

First, an organization must adequately assess its training needs. This depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Where an organization operates;
  • Any industry-specific compliance requirements; and
  • Overall business goals and objectives.

For organizations that handle a variety of government contracts, or focus operations in a number of countries, a focus on ethics and the internal code of conduct may be a priority. For example, while some supervisors may excel at “working a room” and may be wonderful drinking companions, inappropriate and excessive celebrating with a government official could result in severe sanctions for an employer. Anti-bribery and corruption laws could render the corporation liable for significant criminal penalties under a variety of international and federal laws.

For other employers, generalized safety training may be mandatory. However, specialized training may depend on the workplace and could include earthquake safety best practices, bloodborne pathogens handling, lifting techniques, and avoidance of computer-related injuries.

The diversity of training needs varies with respect to each organization:  conducting a training needs analysis is crucial when determining optimal impact.

Learning Curves

Even when a training program has been meticulously constructed for optimal results, not every supervisor blossoms into an inspirational leader, evolving within the organization through a combination of learning and development initiatives. Certain supervisors may not be adept at their roles, and may be instrumental in decreases in overall productivity, engagement and retention.

Unfortunately, a number of organizations ignore the problem of bad bosses, instead focusing on other priorities and allowing the situation to deteriorate.

A much healthier approach is to acknowledge that some supervisors may need additional support to achieve personal, professional and business goals. The ongoing effective coaching, training and managing of supervisors should be a part of every organization’s performance management program.

Finally, the effectiveness and propriety of a training program should be assessed on a recurring basis in order to continue to tailor the initiatives to an organization’s evolving needs.

Achieving Mastery

By developing customized training curricula that advances business mission statements and goals, and that is further buttressed by additional support and mentoring, both new and seasoned managers can achieve mastery in their leadership roles.

Download XpertHR’s supervisor training white paper to explore in detail how to:

  • Assess training needs and practices;
  • Compare various training formats, methods, and deliveries; and
  • Achieve mastery through supervisor training.

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