Why your Manager is Crucial in Reinforcing Learning?
What happens in the classroom is just the beginning; it’s what happens when a learner heads back to his/her office on a busy Monday morning that matters. The effectiveness of training is assessed on knowledge transfer, application and results, a combination that can’t happen without retention. Simply put, retention requires the information to stick, after which it can be recalled, applied and make the impact intended.
Unfortunately, this ideal scenario often isn’t reality. As per our 2017 research on learner engagement and lot of other prevalent studies globally, indicate that 70% of information is lost in the first 48 hours and 90% within a week. These numbers are unsettling.
As automation and robots transform human tasks, changing the skill-sets required for diverse jobs, companies across industries are spending about 40% of the L&D budget on class-room training alone. The overall average L&D spend per employee is Rs 41,838 per annum, talent assessment firm Mettl's said in its 'State of Workplace Learning and Development Report 2018'. Meanwhile, the average spend per employee in senior level is three times compared to the entry-level employees.
It’s a like a gym work-out
Compare this process to a workout. You participate in a gym session. You learn new techniques, receive detailed instructions, practice several times within the class and independently, and leave feeling energized and confident. However, you don’t find the time to practice on your own for a week or two. After which, you find yourself trying to recall the flows and feeling sore. Give it a month, and you’re not even sure where you’ve placed your dumbbells.
How would this scenario differ if you checked in with a gym instructor immediately and frequently after the class? Or he / she would constantly keep checking on your progress. It would be harder to forget, as this level of support would motivate and keep you accountable.
Development doesn’t end when the program concludes; it’s only just begun. Having regular opportunities to practice skills on the job promotes retention. Learners change their behaviour when their direct managers and supervisors provide continual reinforcement through a series of communications and activities before, during and after the program takes place.
The Manager-The Stakeholder
Successful managers always work to increase their employees’ engagement and productivity, which involves becoming an active agent in their learning. Learning can’t be entirely left to HR, CLOs and L&D. They don’t have the bandwidth to be continuous facilitators of each individual’s learning and performance improvement. They aren’t close enough to the action on a daily basis to provide instructional experiences, identifying when and where they will have the most. This is when managers can influence the experiences, promoting true learning and retention.
Having worked with over 500+ managers and business leaders, at Learngage we have been able to put-together a rigorous process and ready to use templates that has helped our client organisations put more accountability of learners’ learning in the hands of their manager.
Here are three ways that you as a manager can include actions such as check-ins, coaching and reinforcement activities to facilitate the application of the knowledge and get better returns!
1) Commit to Support
Start with a weekly/bi-monthly conversation about how the employee wants/needs to grow, enabling insight into potential development opportunities and document these ideas in an individual development plan so you and your learner can refer to them regularly and update accordingly.
Take development seriously. If your learner is attending a specific course, agree on expectations and share what you want her or him to gain from attending the program. This is also a great time to talk about any pre-work required. You’re providing the money and time for your employee to attend a course, so treat it like an investment in the person and your organization.
Provide support by reallocating workloads while they are attending the course. Know that by helping your learner develop, you’re also helping your team and organization develop.
2) Provide On-going Feedback
Regular check-ins is a must; making your employee aware of this process promotes accountability. Check-ins should consist of on-going affirmation, opportunities to demonstrate the new skills being applied, and timely and targeted feedback.
Discussing results and providing feedback is motivating which demonstrates that the manager is watching and supporting their efforts, builds accountability, and helps sustain the energy required for behaviour change.
3) Increase awareness
All too often we see that learners don’t take the extra steps needed for retention. They attend the training, but then return to their desks to tackle work piled in their absence while the new information they received slips away.
As a manager, you can create initiatives like knowledge forums and discussion boards that can encourage post program application and peer-to-peer learning and sharing.
As an organisation L&D can help in identifying specific expectations, including actions, goals and timing, for both the manager and learner, promoting prioritization and accountability.
Manager involvement and Learner ownership are the key ingredients to the recipe for success. Focusing on and implementing specific efforts that involve the right players stops the retention loss and has the potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of your training outside the class-room.