Tackle this challenge with the following five-step approach:
You've probably put a lot of time and energy into trying to make the training sessions valuable to your managers. You'll have to say goodbye to being irked and accept that your managers are your customers. Be open to feedback and embrace the opportunity to lead positive change.
For you to get honest feedback, employees need to trust you. Namely, it's important that they:
• Trust that you genuinely desire their feedback and aren't merely going through the motions.
• Trust that there will be no repercussions for sharing honestly.
• Trust that their input will really matter and be reflected in the ensuing changes.
Note: If you don't have your managers' trust, you may have more pressing challenges than your training program.
You may want to consider an anonymous survey, paired with in-person discussions with all or a representative sample of your team. Ask questions that will clarify managers' expectations and specific ways that you can rethink training. In some cases, it may also be appropriate to ask others in the organization to pinpoint any skills that your managers need to hone.
Involve your managers so that they are vested in the training process from start to finish. Create a training committee to help select topics, trainers and methodologies (don't forget to leverage the expertise within your organization). Following training sessions, have a process that allows ideas and strategies shared by outside experts to be vetted internally. If there is perceived value, ask managers to take a lead role in integrating the learning concepts internally. By doing so, you'll move from theory to application and thus increase the return on your investment.
Implement the changes that are reasonable within your resource restrictions. Explain why the changes are being made, and make it clear they came from feedback and ideas generated by the managers themselves. Communicate that the expected results will be of the changes, and encourage additional feedback as critical to continuously serve the organization better.
Have processes in place that allow you to assess what is working, what is not working and what needs to be changed to ensure your training remains relevant now and in the future.
SOURCE: Melissa Laughon, Catch Your Limit Consulting, Richmond, Virginia
LEARN MORE: A healthy workplace enables employees to respectfully voice their opinion, even if it is at odds with top management, experts say.
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