Human Resources

Managers and Course Suggestions: Top-Down Approach to L&D

September 20, 2023
2 minutes

If you are a Manager, you should be suggesting courses to your employees.

A bold and bossy statement. 

But Managers play a very pivotal role in organizations. Managers are entrusted to lead teams and responsible for stewarding employees in a unified way to shared objectives. With their unique vantage point at the intersection of corporate strategy and individual growth, managers hold the power to shape, guide, and catalyze learning initiatives that not only align with organizational goals but also empower individuals to thrive in their roles and careers. 

This list explores the multifaceted role that managers play in driving a top-down approach to learning and development, shedding light on the crucial responsibilities, strategies, and considerations that underscore their influence in this pivotal domain.

Aligning Skills with Organizational Goals 

Managers can help ensure that the skills employees are developing through training align with the organization's strategic goals and objectives. This alignment ensures that the workforce is equipped to contribute effectively to the company's success.

When learning and development is entirely employee-driven, meaning employees can take whichever course they choose, there is a risk that employees and organizations grow apart, not together. Managers can mitigate, even eliminate, this risk.

Closing Skills Gaps 

Managers can identify skills gaps within their teams and recommend courses that address those gaps. This helps in bridging the divide between the current skill set of employees and the skills needed to perform their roles effectively.

Managers have that high level view to ensure that the organization has highly functional teams and that those teams are firing on all cylinders. Zeroing in on exactly where a team is falling short and addressing it is a feature that sets apart Managers. 

Enhancing Employee Performance

Managers have skills that they require from their roles. And the ideal team configuration is when an employee possesses all the skills required for their role and at the correct proficiency level. So when Managers can suggest courses that will enhance those job-specific skills, that will lead to improved job performance. 

This insight into which skills to develop may be a blind-spot for an employee. Or the employee might not have enough information to know which skills to develop. For this reason, top-down course suggestions from Managers can lead to better learning and development results than when an employee drives their own course selections.

Boosting Employee Engagement

When employees see that their managers are invested in their professional growth, it can boost their motivation and engagement. Offering course suggestions can be a powerful demonstration of coaching and care from a Manager to their employee. Communicating to employees that their Manager is invested in their development, and cares enough to lead them to the right resources so they can develop their skill set to have a fruitful career is so valuable. It demonstrates that the organization values its employees' development, which can lead to increased job satisfaction.

Staying Competitive

In today's rapidly changing business landscape, staying competitive requires employees to acquire new skills regularly. Managers can help employees stay relevant in their fields by suggesting courses that keep them up-to-date with industry trends and technologies.

While it can be nerve wracking to think that an employee might take their skills development investment and go to a different company, the entire market benefits from organizations investing in their employees. It’s a way to build a healthy workforce. It is also the mark that a Manager can leave on their employee.

Retaining Talent

While investing in employees could lead to them developing skills and leveraging that to a job offer at another company, the much more likely scenario is that the employee stays. The data shows that employees are more likely to stay with an organization that invests in their development. By suggesting relevant courses, managers can contribute to employee retention, which can save the organization the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees. It also builds a committed workforce with long tenure. 

Fostering a Learning Culture

Culture starts at the top. When managers actively promote learning and development within their teams, that sends a powerful signal through the organization. It shows employees that learning is a core company value. It indicates that the leadership is invested in employees' growth. It demonstrates commitment to employees' careers. This powerful ripple effect can create a culture of continuous improvement and learning throughout the organization. This culture can have long-term benefits in terms of innovation and adaptability.

Succession Planning

As a Manager, staying on top of the day to day is one part of the job. But a long term outlook on fostering the next generation of talent is also a critical component. Succession planning goes beyond simply finding someone to fill a vacant leadership position when it becomes available. Succession planning involves cultivating a pool of high performers and talented employees who have the potential to step into your shoes when the time is right and drive the team and department forward. The process of succession planning ensures stability, long-term success, and continuity of your organization.

Identifying those people and then ensuring they are being groomed for that role is an active exercise. Assigning courses to lay the foundation for skills development is a component of that. 

Customizing Learning Paths

Managers can tailor course suggestions to individual employee career goals and development plans. This personalized approach can make training more relevant and meaningful to each employee.

Tracking Progress

Managers who recommend courses can also track their employees' progress and assess the impact of the training on their performance. This feedback loop allows for adjustments and further refinement of the skills development strategy.

Managers play a pivotal role in facilitating skills development among their employees. Their guidance and recommendations can help employees grow professionally, contribute to organizational success, and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

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