The Manager Training Gap: Why Aren’t They Getting Help They Need?

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Apr 1, 2014

The American Society for Training & Development recently found that 26 percent of new managers felt unprepared to transition to a leadership role, with 58 percent saying they didn’t receive any training at all.

This statistic is endemic of a large misconception about managers — whether they are promoted internally or recruited for their experience, companies naturally assume that since they have done good work in the past, transitioning to management should be a quick study for them.

Myth busted

Managers are normal people tasked with greater responsibilities. Chief among those responsibilities is maintaining healthy relationships among staff. In the case of employee recognition programs they are indispensable, as they help in engaging employees on a daily basis and ensuring they are properly and effectively recognized for their contributions.

Yet out of the vast majority of organizations that have reward and recognition programs in place, a mere 12 percent of them have formal manager training related to employee engagement and recognition.

This should be raising alarms, considering an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor is a top engagement driver.

3 ingredients of effective managers

Organizations need to understand that engaging and recognizing employees are skills that take training and practice just like anything else. Managers who effectively engage employees are the result of three primary ingredients:

  • Strategic Mindset – They have meaningful training on recognition best practices and are able to strategize their recognition. This includes tying the recognition to relevant organizational values, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to participate in the program, and being sensitive to a multicultural and multigenerational workforce.
  • Program Knowledge – The manager is aware of the recognition touch points that are available in the workplace, and has a trained eye for identifying key behaviors the organization wishes to drive with the program. They are adept at operating relevant recognition software suites, and are able to answer any questions employees may have about the program.
  • Personal Connection – More than anything employees crave a genuine, human connection with their supervisor. Skilled managers take the time to show genuine interest in their employees’ personal achievements, and have practiced the art of being good listeners.

Uncommon wisdom

It all may seem disingenuous, but surprisingly few managers (12 percent to be exact) get this kind of preparation.

Merely having a reward and recognition platform isn’t enough anymore — there needs to be a comprehensive strategy to back it up, which includes manager training.

As Aristotle reminds us, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.”

This was originally published on the Michael C. Fina blog.