How To Get Return On Investment From Management Training

30 Jan 2017

According to award winning research there are 8 elements that need to be considered and implemented if employers are to gain maximum Return on Investment (R.O.I) for management training and  development programmes.
Expressions has been designing and delivering Leadership and Management training and development programmes for a wide range of audiences in a number of countries for over 15 years. We have always held the belief that development needs to be right not just quick, easy, affordable or fun, but a blend of elements centred on meaningful and sustainable performance improvement.
The 8 elements are detailed below with links to the research and how our Management Academy fairs against these criterion. 

Top tips for improving likelihood of success of management training and development programmes

Successful management development programmes should result in managers being able to apply and sustain their newly learned skills and behaviours in the workplace. Experience and evidence has shown that this is not easy – and is actually rarely achieved.
Many management development programmes rely on choosing the right provider, the right model, and running a ‘training event’. This approach fails to recognise that changing behaviour long term needs both support and an organisational context that encourages and embraces the change.
Emma Donaldson-Feilder and Rachel Lewis (Kingston University) have summarised the top factors for consideration to improve the likelihood of success of the programme, as follows:

Award winning research conducted and published by 
Rachel Lewis - Associate Professor
Kingston Business School
1. One off training doesn’t work.  The intervention should be long term (3 months plus) using a range of different methodologies (such as coaching, feedback and  workshops)

The Management Training Academy typically runs over 4-8 months covering all learning styles and includes FREE Unlimited phone coaching and  email support

2. Ensure senior managers are on-board and supportive. Consider framing the programme in a way that will appeal to senior managers – for instance positive messages (development opportunity rather than addressing skill gaps), linking with existing organizational strategy, citing the business case and illustrating litigation risks or statutory duties

Each delegate has an identified 'Significant Project' that is agreed with their senior manager. These projects must be aligned to a business objective. Senior managers are also encouraged to act as mentors for their developing manager.

3. Ensure senior managers lead by example. Long term positive change in middle and first-line managers’ behaviour won’t be possible if the managers above them are displaying different or negative behaviours. Consider cascading management development programmes from the top to the bottom of the organisation.

Our Leadership Training Academy offers a progressive developmental programme for the senior managers. Senior managers are also encouraged to attend any of the Management Academy modules they wish. Delegate managers share their Action Plan with their senior manager at scheduled one to one sessions between the modules.

4. Set manager participants clear, multiple and challenging goals. Make sure all participants know what they want to achieve from the programme. Revisit the goals throughout the programme – it may be that goals change or develop with new learning. Make sure goals are challenging – but not too hard: they need to be realistic to be motivating.

Every delegate completes a 'Success criteria' form prior to commencing on the programme. This includes their 'Significant Project' which is shared at the first module so other delegates may assist or share ideas that might help implementation and improvement.

5. Have clear behavioural standards for managers. Ensure that within the organization, managers are clear about their role and what they are expected to do. Appraisals and development processes need to be clear and consistent and any competency frameworks up-to-date. 

Module one focusses what a good manager looks like in the delegate's organisation. Not text book theory, but real capabilities within their specific organisation. Delegate managers conduct a self-assessment against these capabilities, then their reports give an assessment on them as well. This forms the basis of their current managerial performance and areas of focus for specific developmen

6. Ensure that managers value the programme as an opportunity for learning and development. It has been shown that if managers value the opportunity for learning (as opposed to valuing the programme for the perceived status or promotional opportunities), the likelihood of them using the new learnings in the workplace is much increased

Senior managers (and indeed the most senior manager) must endorse the Academy programme and present it as an investment in the organisation's future. Some in-house Management Academies have taken advantage of our idea to interview potential delegates to ascertain their suitability for the programme and gauge their potential within the organisation.

7. Ensure that managers feel confident in their skills. Managers don’t always feel like effective managers, or even managers at all. In order for the skills to be transferred, managers need to be supported to feel confident in their ability to succeed in the programme and in their ability to work as a manager. Focus on building managerial confidence. 

Each module begins with a Review Learn Improve (R.L.I) session to discuss what is working and what delegates have implemented successful as well as areas they are finding difficult. These sessions are aimed at building managerial confidence.

8.  A supportive organisational culture is key. A supportive culture means one where there is open dialogue across all levels of the organisation and where respect and recognition for all employees is embedded and visible.  

Not only is this covered within the modules of the Management Academy it is an essential aspect of how the programme delivers the managers.