What is the role for managers in an associate’s development? If the manager sends an associate to a training workshop or identifies an appropriate e-learning program .. is it enough?

In our view – absolutely NOT. While formal training in a class room or e-learning setting begins the process, much of the real learning occurs when the associate has an opportunity to practice and hone the new skills.

On August 28, 2006, a school teacher wrote a letter to the New York Times. In it she wrote “Most of the remedial kids I worked with… did not value book learning, and neither did their parents. The reading at home required as part of the program was rarely done. Most of these children did learn to read, but they may never catch up to peers whose parents made sure that there was homework time.”

Are you making sure your associate’s homework gets done?

Are you familiar with the content of the training and the skill? Before the training event, do you make the associate aware of the value you place on the skill and the training? After the event do you give your associate the opportunity and time to practice and hone their new skills? Do you follow up with the associate after the training to discuss the program and the activities you’ll both need to do to ensure that the training sticks? Do you regularly review and provide feedback?

Studies show that when managers speak positively about a training initiative, when they link it to improved job performance and opportunities for advancement, when they speak well of the training program itself, etc., that learners get much more out of the training experience. Because much of the learning happens after the formal training experience, studies also show that managers that don’t follow up after the training for review and reinforcement of the skill, or don’t provide an opportunity for the learner to practice and hone the skill, are wasting 87 cents for every training dollar invested!!

When the topic is associate development, are you being a “good parent”?