Impact of Managers on the Transfer of Training
What is the true impact of managers on the transfer of training?  While we have always believed that managers have a big impact on the transfer of training from the classroom to the job, our recent study of 121 professionals and their managers at a major North American financial services firm amplifies the impact of managers on the transfer of training.

1.  20% Higher Skill Adoption
Manager coaching is directly linked to skill application on-the-job.   We compared 61 participants average proficiency score across 38 skills who received individual coaching to 47 control group participants who did NOT get individual coaching.  The Coached Group scores were nearly 20% higher than those who did not receive coaching from their manager.

Are your managers providing reinforcement coaching for your critical initiatives?  It could make a 20% difference.

2. 2x Greater Performance
Manager coaching is also directly linked to on-the-job performance.  Each participant was asked for one example of how “coaching conversations with your manager have made a significant difference in a sales situation.” These were verified to include the situation, specific coaching, and results over the last three months.

Our training measurement found that the Coached Group created 2x more new revenue over the same time period as the Control Group.  Are your sales managers coaching their direct reports to help meet revenue targets? It could double your revenue.

3. 72% Difference
How do those being coached feel?  We asked, “What difference did the coaching conversations with your manager make in your success?  The rating scale ranged from 100% “made all the difference” to 0% “made no difference” (your manager did not have any impact or played no role in your success).

Participants in the coached group said their manager “made a significant difference” (72%) compared to “a little difference” (33%) for the non-coached group.  it worth a manager’s time to coach? Just ask those who benefit most.

The Bottom Line
Coaching and reinforcement form managers has a significant impact on skill adoption and performance.  If you want employees to use new skills and improve their performance, make sure you involve your managers before, during and after your workshops in a way that makes sense.  Otherwise, your training investment is most likely nothing more than wishful thinking.

To learn more about how to measure and improve the impact of your training initiatives, download Training Measurement Best Practices – 5 Practical Steps to Make it Happen 

How to Climb the Corporate Ladder as a New Manager
If you are like most new managers, you welcome your management position as the first of many rungs on the corporate ladder. Your hope is to prove your abilities in this role so that you are promoted to the next more responsible position and so on up the leadership ladder. What are the smart ways for new managers to climb the corporate ladder of success?

3 Smart Ways for New Managers to Climb the Corporate Ladder
Follow the tried and true advice of new manager training experts:

1. Know Thyself
Be sure that your personal strengths and weaknesses are consistent with what it takes to be a great manager and leader. Check in with colleagues, utilize a leadership 360 or conduct your own self-assessment by asking questions like: Do I typically…

  • Understand and support the overall company strategy?
  • Create a positive working environment for others?
  • Excel at attracting and retaining top talent?
  • Enjoy working with others?
  • Offer to coach others and receive positive feedback when I do?
  • Lead groups that I join?
  • Step up when there are difficult problems to solve?
  • Handle stress well?
  • Take a bigger picture view of issues?
  • Give credit to others when or where it is due?
  • Create and foster clear goals and roles?
  • Enjoy informing others about developments that may affect them?
  • Set personal examples for others to follow?
  • Keep commitments to others?
  • Challenge and continually improve processes and productivity?
  • Promote and utilize diverse viewpoints and styles?
  • Exemplify continuous learning and adaptation?
  • Behave authentically and with integrity?

We know the list is long.  Welcome to managing others!  “Yes” answers indicate that you have the basic qualities necessary and the motivation to become an effective manager. “No” answer highlight areas for improvement if you want new managers to climb the corporate ladder of success.

2. Be Eager to Learn and Develop Your Talents
The best managers are always open to new and challenging experiences that they can learn from. Seek out the advice of others on how you can improve and then act upon it. Experience will be your teacher…learn by doing, by observing and by working with others.

Give yourself the opportunity to reflect on inevitable missteps—what went wrong and how you could handle it better the next time. Be willing to work on yourself and hone your skills. The self-satisfied new manager will never advance very far.

3. Welcome New Leadership Challenges
Be ready to volunteer for tough jobs but be smart about which ones you choose to take on. You want to foster a reputation for someone who is confident (and able) to take on difficult assignments. You can learn much from stretch goals but beware of the risks.

Assess carefully what development opportunities the new position has to offer and how good a fit it is with who you are and what you want. Take on a job where your strengths are really needed but where your weaknesses will not create problems. In general, if you cannot show positive results within 6 months, the new job will not be one that moves you up the ladder. Look for another challenge that suits you and the organization better.

The Bottom Line
While there are some nuanced differences between being a manager and a leader, there are significant differences between being an individual contributor and a new manager of people. Individual contributors are responsible for their own success and development while managers are responsible for the collective success of others.   If you want to move up the ladder of success, know your strengths and weaknesses, be eager to learn, and proactively take on new challenges.

To learn more about how to be a successful new manager, download 5 Unnecessary Misperceptions that Slip Up Too Many New Managers

Why Measure Training?
Are corporate training metrics simply an exercise in futility that pleases training experts and HR but otherwise has no meaningful value to the business?  Yes!  If you are only measuring training satisfaction, hours, costs, participants, programs etc.

The Value of Training Measurement
Successful companies have learned that corporate training metrics have tremendous value in three areas:

  • Helping to evaluate what matters (where to focus your efforts)
  • Tracking progress (what is working and not working)
  • Increasing accountability

A Golf Analogy
Take the game of golf. It used to be that putting was the more valued skill in terms of what it could earn a golfer. Nowadays, driving is the more lucrative skill. What happened? PGA courses have been changed. Fairways are longer and grass in the rough is being cut shorter.

A study cited in the Harvard Business Review by Baugher and Day of Western Illinois University and Burford Jr. of Junior’s Shaft Shack in Forest, Virginia state that “a 1-standard-deviation increase in driving distance would have boosted a player’s earnings by an average of $671,779.15 in 2013, whereas the same relative increase in putting skills would have raised his earnings by just $510,195.91.”

In other words, on average a golfer who improves driving skills stands to earn more than one who improves putting skills. The environment changed and the golfer who could understand how it changed and who could adjust to the changes emerged with the advantage.

In Business
The same is true in the corporate environment. Without an understanding of what skills matter most in your workplace, how do you know where your training efforts should focus?

For instance, let’s say you train your sales force on improving their pre-call planning skills but what actually determines sales success in your business and industry is, instead, better business acumen and executive level presentation skills. Your training did not target the skills that would give your team the competitive advantage.

To make a difference, you need to know what competencies are most critical for your team to succeed both now and in the future. And then you have to build or buy them to remain competitive. This requires effective training measurement of:

  1. Adoption: Are they using it?
  2. Proficiency: How good are they at it?
  3. Impact: Is it making a difference?

And again, back to the golf analogy, without consistently measuring the marketplace and your customers, how will you know what adjustments to make in the skills and knowledge of your workforce to meet new and evolving challenges? The savvy golfer shifted with the course changes and worked more on driving than putting. Savvy companies keep a close eye on the changes that could affect their business and realign their training priorities to meet the shifting environment.

The Bottom Line
Learn from consistent measurement whether, as a professional golfer, you should focus on driving or putting. And learn from measurement, as a business manager, exactly what critical few competencies matter most for your team to succeed.

To learn more about corporate training metrics, download 5 Steps to Smarter Training Measurement

Rapid Advances in Technology Are Changing the Way We Live and Work
The exciting and sometimes scary growth and application of technology to enable innovation and development appears to be here to stay. Kids are growing up with it, and entire industries are being disrupted by it.  So, is leadership still important?  Does leadership EQ beat AI?

  • On a macro scale, the World Economic Forum reports that a 10% increase in broadband penetration is associated with a 1.4% increase in GDP growth in emerging markets.
  • On the work front, McKinsey reports what many of us have experienced – many activities that workers carry out today (about 30 percent) have the potential to be automated by technologies that exist today.

Will One-Third of Your Job Go Away?
In additional to industries like Trucking that is predicted to lose thousands of jobs to self-driving cars in the future or areas like healthcare where predictive analytics is changing the way doctors diagnose and prescribe, technology and partial automation will impact almost every job from the front-line factory worker to the CEO. Amazon has even begun to use algorithms instead of humans to predict demand of certain products.

In fact, there are reportedly 170,000 fewer retail jobs in 2017—and 75,000 more Amazon robots.  As artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and machine learning continue to grow, what skills will matter most to perform at your peak? Does leadership EQ beat AI?

Skills that Matter Least
Let’s start with the skills that seem to have the highest probability to be improved through automation. While the majority of artificial intelligence applications still require the help of humans, we believe highly automatable skills fall into two broad categories:

  1. Administrative, repetitive and routine tasks
  2. Data gathering and analysis

While we are confident that technological advances will continue to delight, scare and surprise us, these two categories seem like the lowest common denominator. We already see this happening with tasks such as grilling burgers, making salads, brewing coffee and selecting stock portfolios.

Skills that Matter Most
If the need for humans to undertake automatable tasks will be on the decline, we believe that should free up more than 30 percent of workers time to do the “human performance things” that truly differentiate one person and one company from another. We believe success will therefore become more and more dependent upon Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – the ability to understand, empathize and collaborate with other people.

Those individual and organizations that excel at EQ in three overall areas will outperform their peers.

1. Understanding Others
Invest in the self-awareness, empathy and communication skills required to read people’s emotional cues, recognize the feelings and needs behind those signals, understand what matters most to them both personally and professionally and articulate your understanding in a way that can be heard.

2. Motivating Others
Invest in the skills required to create, articulate and align clear goals and roles. Then learn how to use intrinsic and extrinsic motivation communication skills to help others to do their best work. Remember, your job as a leader is to create the circumstances to consistently get the most out of your people.

3. Collaborating with Others
Invest in the influence, change, conflict management, problem solving, project management, leadership, decision making and teambuilding skills required to produce performance results which cannot be achievable by any single individual alone.

The Bottom Line
Does leadership EQ beat AI?  The good news is that most experienced leaders already believe that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than one’s intelligence (IQ) in terms of being successful. Think of technology advancements as the foundational progress related to building personal and professional IQ. Then invest in EQ to take you and your team to the next level with the help of technology.

If you liked Does Leadership EQ beat AI, download 8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback

Top Employee Engagement Trends for 2018
These Top Employee Engagement Trends for 2018 are based on the employee engagement surveys from nearly 50 Best Places to Work contests, this comprehensive report is the one and only of its kind, examining employee engagement and culture trends at America’s top workplaces.  This year’s study aggregates responses from more than 600,000 employees from 8,000+ organizations across America.

The Top Employee Engagement Trends for 2018

1.  Overall Employee Engagement is Up Slightly
The number of highly engaged employees increased 0.50 percent from 2016 to 2017.   This makes sense given the level of focus and investment employee engagement has received over the last few years.

2.  Overall Employee Disengagement Has Not Improved
Despite a slight growth in highly engaged employees, the number of disengaged employees remained steady at 2.7 percent between 2016 and 2017.   We define disengaged employees as those who score in the bottom percentile.  They are disconnected from the workplace, negative, disruptive and hinder productivity.

3.  The Employee Engagement Highs
The four items with the highest favorability were the same in 2017 as 2016. This indicates that these are strong indicators of being a Best Place to Work.

  • I believe this organization will be successful in the future
  • Everyone here is treated fairly regardless of race, gender, age, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation, or other differences
  • I am proud to work here
  • The people I work with most closely are committed to producing top quality work
  • My immediate manager cares about me as a person

4.  The Employee Engagement Lows
The five items with the lowest favorability are consistent with last year’s report, which indicates that most organizations,
including Best Places to Work, struggle in these areas.

  • When the organization makes changes, I understand why
  • I am paid fairly
  • I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization
  • If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized
  • It would take a lot to get me to leave this organization (note: this item also was one of the only items to decline in favorability year-over-year)

5.  The Top Five Drivers of Employee Engagement
While all items on the survey had a positive correlation with employee engagement, some had a greater correlation than others. Items with a correlation of 0.75 or higher were considered significant drivers of engagement.

  • My job allows me to utilize my strengths
  • I trust the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success
  • I believe this organization will be successful in the future
  • The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource
  • If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized

6.  Employee Retention is Still a Struggle
In a year of improved favorability, the survey item, “It would take a lot to get me to leave this organization,” was the lone detractor. Since 2014, this survey item has declined in favorability, with its most drastic decline between 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, 2017 didn’t recoup 2016’s loss. Low favorability on this item has been found to be a top predictor of employee turnover.

7.  Managers Care About Employee Development But Cannot Deliver
The gradual increase in the item, “My immediate manager cares about my development,” is a great indication that managers understand the importance of developing their teams. However, when coupled with whether employees have visibility to growth opportunities, we see an average 10 percent gap in favorability over the past eight years. That gap has gradually widened from 9 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2017. This represents the gap between managers’ intent and their ability to deliver.

The survey item, “I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization,” is consistently a top driver of engagement. Unfortunately, it’s also consistently been among the bottom in favorability. Empowering managers to close this gap could greatly impact engagement.

8.  Employee Recognition Is Improving, But Not Enough
Despite the improvement in favorability on the item, “If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized,” it maintained its consistently low ranking and high uncertainty. While employers are improving employee recognition efforts, it might not be enough.

The Bottom Line
How you engage employees matters. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.  Because each company has a unique strategy and workplace culture, we recommend you take a look at these top employee engagement trends for 2018 and determine how they impact your current talent management strategies.

To learn more about how to use these top employee engagement trends for 2018, download The 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

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