29 Ideas for Generating Manager Involvement

Time and again Training and Development professionals over a decade of projects across dozens of industries tell us that employees perceive their managers don’t fully understand and support what they learn in training.

So, a few weeks ago, we presented a webinar on how to build manager involvement. At the same time, we put out the call to find out how you (that’s right you!) get managers involved in training. You answered the call to action—

Among those who contributed was a Senior Learning and Development Manager from a global financial services organization; she shared:

Because lots of paper is difficult to keep track of—and because we wanted participants to be able to add to it during the session, we created a tri-fold “ticket” to entry. The front was designed to look like a “travel” ticket with the session information and objectives.

Inside on the left panel, we provided space for the participant to record outcomes from pre-training discussion with manager. The remaining space on the inside of the “ticket” was for participants to record strengths and opportunities during the session—the intent and direction we gave participants was to share with managers during their post training discussion.

The design was useful because it supported the process we wanted learners and manager to engage in. We didn’t track, but [calling it] “ticket to entry” reinforced the need to complete.

We love this idea! There are many things that you can do to increase manager involvement, check out the list below of strategies to try before your next training:

  1. Require manager-participant discussion as part of enrollment.
  2. Include manager report out in enrollment process.
  3. Survey managers with one-question online survey.
  4. Ask managers to provide a favorite quote or goal via email that can be incorporated into running slide show at beginning of programs.
  5. Have managers share what they have discussed with employees during developmental planning sessions.
  6. Build learning content into processes and systems that managers already use (hiring, performance appraisals, feedback sessions, staff or all-hands meetings).
  7. Involve managers in identifying top talent.
  8. Involve managers in a talent assessment center as observers and/or interviewers.
  9. Ask managers to sponsor and guide participants on a plant or operations tour.
  10. Meet with managers and discuss specific challenges and needs managers and employees are facing.
  11. Conduct an annual review with managers as to subjects and skills they see their people needing.
  12. Preview workshop content with managers prior to their people attending and discuss how they can support their employees in applying the content.
  13. Discuss the content with the participants regarding how it could affect their projects and current responsibilities and have them report out to their managers.
  14. Discuss how the workshop went and plans on how the training content will be applied to specific projects and situations.
  15. Invite managers to speak at workshops on a focus topic.
  16. Invite managers to participate in a panel discussion.
  17. Invite managers to participate in a fireside chat either pre- or post-workshop.
  18. Call and ask manager to be involved.
  19. Invite managers to present a case study to the group.
  20. Invite managers to participate in a workshop video related to specific content.
  21. Invite managers to kick-off a workshop session.
  22. Invite managers to join the participants for a reception, lunch and/or dinner.
  23. Invite managers to be a project sponsor for a learning team project or action learning.
  24. Involve managers in providing situations, scenarios, and role play content.
  25. Invite managers to review workshop content during the design process.
  26. Invite managers to deliver a work-related subject during the workshop.
  27. Involve managers in discussing what they have applied at work and inquiry about any changes that would better support employees in making the content operational.
  28. Hold virtual or in-person lunch and learn sessions for managers and direct reports.
  29. Create a tri-fold “ticket” to workshop entry that has space for manager and participant to complete.

Want to share with your co-workers? Download this list as a PDF tool here.