Training Employee Supervisors (in Culture and Everything Else)

Training Employee Supervisors is Easy

(if yours is an Employee Focused Company)

We’ve covered in some detail the benefits to developing and maintaining a proper culture for your workplace.

Here’s one more reason: a company with a good culture is smarter. The people who make up a good culture simply have more resources to draw upon for solving problems, innovating and breaking new ground!

But instead of talking about playing music and videos for the shop floor, let’s talk about the people overseeing the shop floor.

Your culture can’t go very far if you’ve got troglodytes overseeing your most valuable assets.

The problem for many companies is that the people who’ve been promoted into these positions are often there with a very conservative mind-set. It’s often one that’s developed over multiple years watching “how things are” and that gets cemented into “how things have to be.”

That makes for a culture that’s not only anti-innovation but often anti-worker, too.

Training and re-training these managers takes determination, and often a full arsenal of resources. But all of these problems are most evident when a culture has developed in isolation  – from both its customer base and from people more generally.

Remember: All organizations are organized groups of people, first. Remembering that is often step one to developing into an organization that is not only healthy, but profitable too.

Training Employee Supervisors often means spelling that out. But it also means, quite simply, training people in training. Supervising without training is a step against your continuous improvement paradigm and against the culture that’s developing. And like all things cultural, organization culture requires taking advantage of all the means of expression and communication – and sometimes using them in some unorthodox ways.

Here are five of the most important ways to Train Employee Supervisors for a Part in Your Cultural Revolution!

1) Train Supervisors to be TRAINERS: We said that above. Now to emphasize, everyone of your staff supervisors needs to understand their role – in communication, coaching, development, continuous improvement and simple presentation. They need to be not only “stars” but performers – not busy meeting-attenders. That’s the old failed way. Showing your organization’s commitment to ongoing training is always going to start with these people – so dinosaurs probably don’t fit the bill.

  • Re-Tool all your Supervisory Staff to be in constant training and development mode.

2) Share Articles – Healthy cultures rely on shared access to multiple sources of information. Your supervisor’s boss is not a source for information. Lots of business cultures rely on compliance to nix lots of good ideas. Formalizing article sharing doesn’t often lead to good results, but open and ongoing conversations do.

  • Don’t confuse compliance with skills. Compliance people are necessary, but they should only say yes/no based on company policy. That’s not a skilled position on business – no matter what your business is. Skilled people have to make decision based on a much wider range of experience.

3) Podcast Everything: It might sound ridiculous, but their oh-so-important meetings are just a way that dinosaurs avoid learning (and often avoid working for the organization). Modern companies have abolished meetings and talk instead. A multitude of training and development podcasts can be listened to, and should be used to keep your dinosaurs on their toes. Get into the habit of receiving reports on what was learned from this week’s podcast.

  • Remember, if your supervisory people have only studied your company to get where they are, they are useless to you. They need to be retrained to take the best from elsewhere in your industry and everywhere in every industry.

4) Conference & Webinar Recordings: Again, to lots of cynical minds they sound ridiculous. But assigning one recording to a few people, and having them report on key points is cheaper and far more useful than traveling around the country to conferences and conventions. Streaming or tape delayed conference sessions help you cut through the expense and the time, and . One tactic I use is to ask each team member to watch a different session then report back to the rest of the team at an upcoming meeting with information on the session and the key learning points. If it seems valuable to the larger group, it can than easily be added to each person’s development plan.

  • Very often, just being recognized as part of an “Industry” is a huge shot in the arm for supervisory staff and for employees more generally.

5) High Culture: This can mean sports, it can mean the street, even religion or church. All of these things add up to just people. Of course, higher culture tends to mean less controversy. Doubtless few of your people are really going to be authorities on opera. That makes opera a fair place to start. Learning a little bit about it – with all of  your people – opens up the entire organization to “learning.” It also provides a neutral place where no one is an authority.

  • Just like people, organizations need to “learn how to learn” too. That’s often a difficult task to even begin and asking your supervisors to learn can be like asking them to

Being a “People-First” company is not only a good policy for a good corporate culture. It’s also a way to put your customers – and star employees – in first place. Bring that topic up with your compliance people. Let us know in the comments section below how it goes.



Photo this page: Défilé des écoles du groupe spécial au sambodrome lors du carnaval de Rio 2004 © GNU Free Documentation License by Clem Cousi

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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