Supervisory Training: A Secret to Employee Engagement & Retention

From Leader to Leader 850 x 445

I recently participated in a young professionals (YP) networking event serving as an “experienced” professional that allowed the YP’s networking experience and the ability to ask career-related questions. Throughout the luncheon, I was asked over and over “what advice do you have for me?” Besides the obvious answers of “take risks, take on challenges, and be authentic,” I confidently shared that supervisory training played a critical role in getting me to where I am today.

The interesting thing about my training is that it truly fell into my lap. When I left the workforce to care for my newborn son, I quickly realized that I missed the professional world and wanted back in. Through a few strokes of luck, I restarted my career at ERC serving as a “host" for ERC’s Supervisory Training Series. My role was responsible for organizing and hosting ERC’s Supervisory Training multiple times a year. This also meant that I sat through supervisor training over and over and over again. I used to joke that I was the most trained non-supervisor in the world. 

The interesting thing is with each class I became more in touch with just how difficult a supervisor’s role is. I would have countless “a-ha” moments, those times when something clicks and brings light to the way those around you worked. It even helped me to better understand myself and how I interacted both in the professional and personal world. I learned that not only does a supervisor need to understand the goals, direction, and expectations from the top leadership, but they also need to communicate that to the frontline workers and make it engaging and challenging so that the entire company is in unison. They are the glue, the constant push and pull that keeps the organization moving forward.

I also learned that in many cases supervisors didn’t ask to be promoted, they were just really good at making their “widgets” and so leadership promoted them unannounced. I realized that in many cases these supervisors were concerned about how they were to manage someone they were just peers with the day before. And I learned that almost everything you need to know to be a good supervisor was never taught in high school or college.    

The world of a supervisor can be overwhelming, often thankless, and yet critical to the success of any organization. In today’s market, finding ways to retain and engage your employees is key to success. I know that finding the time to train anyone seems impossible, but experiencing what I experienced, I would offer that making this investment sooner than later will prove to pay dividends.

Want to equip your managers with supervisory skills? Enroll them in our Supervisory Series: Fundamentals  or Advanced courses now.

- Kelly Keefe, President 

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Organizations in Northeast Ohio have long understood the importance of offering training and development opportunities to their employees. Whether training is being used as a strategy for attracting and retaining top talent to overall workforce development, ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey consistently reports that between 80 and 90 percent of organizations provide their employees with financial assistance to upgrade their skills. This percentage is even higher among NorthCoast 99 winners with 96% of these top workplaces offering workshops, trainings, conferences, etc to their top performers.

Training as an Attraction & Retention Strategy

Offering training and development opportunities was cited as is the top strategy, after direct monetary incentives, used to attract and retain top talent from a sample of 102 Northeast Ohio organizations participating in the 2012 ERC Talent Management Practices Survey. This commitment to building a skilled employee base is further demonstrated through the financial commitment made by these organizations. For example, 82% of respondents report offering financial assistance to employees who wish to pursue job-related training, 79% contribute financially towards conferences and 72% put money towards costs associated with professional societies/organizations on behalf of employees.

Training as a Factor for Economic Recovery

In addition to being beneficial for individual employers and their employees, training is also singled out as a key component for economic recovery. In an issue from November, 2012 of Fortune magazine, Nina Easton takes this one step further. She suggests that not only is training key for a recovery, but also warns that without significant investments in training from corporate America, the “job crisis” plaguing the U.S. economy for the past few years is likely to worsen. In today’s global market, she continues, U.S. employers hold the fate of their own recovery in their own hands. According to Easton, if we don’t invest in building the skills of employees here at home the so called “skills-gap” will continue to grow- a trend which she argues could be used by U.S. employers, “as an excuse to go on a shopping spree overseas for talent.”

While the survey data above demonstrates that many Northeast Ohio employers already recognize the importance of a well trained workforce, if Easton and other experts like her are correct, the influence that these organizations can have on the business climate may run even deeper than they realize- right to the heart of the economic recovery.

Additional Resources

Technical Training
Give your people the knowledge and skills to become a more efficient and productive employee. ERC offers a wide variety of technical training courses that are important to the success of your business. Click here for more info.

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