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Managers Training Needs


I am currently in the process of carrying out a full training needs analysis of all first line managers within the company (approx 30 managers)

Previous attempts have only gained individual perceptions of own needs and seem to be a little subjective.

Any suggestions on how to get the most accurate needs would be most appreciated.

Louise Hall

8 Responses

  1. Ask more questions!
    Louise, this sounds like a very common problem but you don’t give much away about other aspects of your organisation, which might be part of the answer. For example, is there a performance management system and if so, are there management competencies in place. Has there been any management coaching carried out? Also, depending on the quality and capabilities of the managers, is their subjective view so much of a problem. Their perspective is critical and pivotal to any change considered necessary with how managers are managing generally.

    Hope this doesn’t make the whole thing look harder to diagnose!


  2. Self perception is a vital aid to motivation
    I agree with Rick that a manager’s subjective view is important – it is certainly crucial when it comes to motivating people to attend training that they percieve they do not need! The only other way is to instigate some sort of 360degree feedback but may be make it 180degree – ie ask other managers what they think of each other’s needs and marry this to their own perceptions.

  3. What does the business need from them?
    Rick is right, before you invest significantly in delivering training you need to be very clear about what you expect from your managers. Whilst gaining their input is important in gaining commitment and a grounded view of what they do day to day by only seeking their input you may simply end up with the same situation, only with a higher training spend.

    If you don’t have a clear competency framework in place for managers embedded into your performance management process, then that’s the best place to start. Work with the managers, their managers and other key stakeholders to articulate your management expectations.

    If the required management behaviours are already explicit then a 360° review process is a great route to not only identify development needs but also help managers to understand the need for development at a personal level.

    If you would like to chat through any of these issues please get in touch, alternatively these links may be helpful:

    01789 734333

  4. new perspectives
    Leading question: How do you know you are only getting the perceptions of the individual and that their views are subjective?

    This is perhaps the missing link in your TNA. You need not only the managers’ view of their needs, but also a perspective from their managers. Where do the 2 perspectives differ? Where are they the same? This in itself will highlight information needs within the organisation as much as training needs.

    Another leading question: Is your perspective on perception and subjectivity more to do with what you want to see done, and what you want to train the people in, rather than what they see as their real immediate business need?

    Sometimes we look for answers that are too complicated. It may be that actually, the first line managers are right!

  5. Assessing managers learning and development needs
    The problem of this type of training needs analysis is you may be asking people for what they don’t know. Insight People Development would suggest considering management standards, such as those set out for NVQs, for individuals to assess themselves against. Individuals can assess how often they need to use the competency, its importance to their job and how difficult they find it. You can then go to the next step of using a 360 degree approach with the manager getting feedback on their performance from their manager, peers and from those they manage. From this information it is easy to identify real learning needs. Self-assessment against standards and competencies is itself a development process for managers.

  6. Training must benefit the organisation as well as the individual
    Most individuals recognise the personal development gain in training but will only choose the areas they are interested in given a free reign.
    Training has got to be arranged within the context of the needs of the organisation. You need to do an audit of skills required by the business that will help it to flourish and foster a positive environment for all employees.
    When you’ve identified what’s needed then look at your managers and decide what training they need to fulfill the requirements.
    A good training company will recognise the bigger picture. This process should be seen as rallying the troops, reminding managers that their positive contribution is vital to the vitality of the whole and cultural change for the better. Carried out successfully you should end up with a more cohesive and upbeat group of managers and a organisation.
    Tina Coulsting, Director, Mentor Consultancy.

  7. Training Needs Analysis Toolkit
    I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it – but there is a TNA toolkit available in the Library within Training Zone, which might help you.

  8. Training needs analysis – forget it
    Training needs analysis is a common issue and leads you into great difficulties – raised expectations, unrealistic responses, divorce from the business, length of time to collect data, unmanageable list of diverse courses.

    If there is to be any training – and that’s a big “if” – it must come from the business. It should not be seen as a separate activity undertaken by a separate department. Training is the responsibility of managers and individuals, and it should be part of every day work.

    Likely development needs should come from the business plan, not the other way round.

    How to do it? Get a unit in a room and get them to define their objectives. Then they explore their critical success factors. How they plan to achieve their objectives is defined as well what they aim to achieve.

    In this way, all contribute and all are committed.


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