I’m often asked by HR professionals, “How do I convince my boss that we need management training?” The first problem is that many HR professionals, who recognize that training is needed, are not the strongest or most influential members in the organization. Therefore, the place to start is gaining the power to influence the change. How do you do it? By gathering facts. You must first analyze what’s going on that tells you, “we need management training!”
Some examples are:
How many employee complaints about supervisors and managers are you receiving in the HR or Employee Relations dept?
Are you seeing more complaints of unfairness, favortism, harassment, discrimination, hostile work environment?
Have you had any EEOC charges or had any DOL investigations?
What do your turnover #’s look like? Where is your turnover coming from?
What do your metrics look like? Are you losing customers or seeing profit decline?
Do you have managers who work a bazillion hours, are burned out, frustrated, and get irritated when employees “interrupt” them?
Are your performance appraisals a total joke? Is the eval process simply a “check the box” paperwork exercise for managers? Do they groan at the mere thought of having to actually evaluate employees and give them feedback?
These are just some examples that scream, “we need management training!”
Now, how to convince the boss: Pull your facts together and quantify how much time it is taking to handle complaints, the cost involved, the potential risks of litigation from unresolved workplace conflicts, and then ask your boss, “Boss, what do you think our organization would look like if our managers were better leaders? What if they delegated and developed employees? What if we didn’t have a revolving door into HR because of all the employee complaints? What if managers actually addressed issues properly and they didn’t blow up into employee relations issues that involve HR? What if our employees had more autonomy and the managers didn’t work nearly 60 hours a week?”
When you present these questions to help the boss (decision maker for training) visualize what the organization could look like, you’re on the road to strategic planning to build a management training program. The next step is using your leverage. Get aligned with a senior leader who will become your champion. If you are a more junior member of the management team, then you definitely need this senior-level support for your management training program. He/she needs to help you present a business case to the decision maker.
Now, the issue is usually about spending money. The boss doesn’t want to spend the money on training. Yet, the boss may complain daily about the management team not handling X,Y,Z issues. You can’t have it both ways. Either you invest in building the capability of your management team by giving them what I call a “software upgrade” so they work more efficiently–or you can continue running old software that doesn’t do the job. In our highly technical world, we totally get it that we need to upgrade the software in our systems to work more efficiently. Yet, when it comes to professional development such as management training, so many senior leaders can’t seem to justify the “human software upgrade.”
See you next time…
Natalie Ivey is a performance consultant, author, and professional speaker who provides contemporary leadership and employee development training. Ms. Ivey can be reached at rpchr.com or at 800-517-7129.