“They don’t have the time” – Really? (Part1)

According to Dr Robert Brinkerhoff’s research, traditional training only creates 15 % learning transfer, meaning that only 15 % of the people we train actually apply something when they come back to the workplace. According to the same research, the common denominator for these 15 % is management involvement.

Knowing the importance of management involvement, not only from the research of Dr Brinkerhoff, but also from own experience, we always talk about the importance of this subject with potential and existing customers. Often in our customer meetings, we ask the customers to guess what the common denominator of the 15% who apply something is. To some clients, it’s crystal clear that it’s management involvement, but not for everyone. And very often when we talk about this, the clients start to get uncomfortable and very often they say “our managers do not have the time”. Really? Ok. Let’s start over.

What do we mean by management involvement? The bottom line of management involvement when it comes to training is setting goals, following up on progress and coaching the employees to new or improved behaviours. Sound familiar? Getting involved in the employees’ progress and development is probably one of the most important duties there is for a manager.

One way or probably the best way to handle the objection “they don’t have time” is to ask a question like “What do you want your managers to do?”. In almost any case, the clients come to the conclusion that it is (surprisingly enough!) goal setting, giving feedback and coaching their employees. With this conclusion in mind it is fairly easy to get the clients to start elaborating around the subject of management involvement and what they have to do to get their managers involved in the training.

So, the assumption that the managers don’t have the time is not true. When they are getting the chance to be involved and know what to do – they enjoy it. Give managers a chance to do their job and let them get involved in the training and development, and you will see great results.