Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

Magic ways to train when your managers are flung far and wide!

The traditional way to train managers was to work out what areas they needed to build skills in and then run a programme of facilitated workshops to cover those skills. We ran many Management Bites workshops this way. But there are some problems with this approach.

Even when all your managers are on the same worksite, they may have other priorities or be off sick or on holiday, so not all managers can attend the workshops.

If your managers are all in different locations across the country, then it can be expensive and time consuming flying or driving them to the same place for the training

And running 2 or 3 days of training covers so much material that managers are overwhelmed and not sure what to try using first.

It was because of these issues that last year we completely changed our business model and started offering off the shelf half day Management Bites workshops that you can buy and run in house. And what we’re seeing is the HR and L&D people who have purchased these modules are running them in a number of new ways to counteract the issues above. Here are 4 examples.

  • After buying a Management Bites module, one company ran a Train the Trainer session for a group of employees that they knew had excellent people skills and would be great trainers. These employees then ran sessions for other groups of managers in their different locations. I actually took this approach years ago with PostiePlus – we trained our Area Managers in our sales programme and they then ran programmes with their managers in their region. However this was a very hierarchical approach. The new way to tackle this is to tie ‘Train the Trainer’ or ‘Being a Learning Champion’ into your development planning and career succession programmes – for employees who want to develop in this area or employees who may become managers one day.


  • Another company has tried running one of the Management Bites modules as an online workshop. This is different to a webinar (where the presenter talks and everyone watches the screen and listens). In an online workshop, each manager can turn on their camera and so all see each as well as the presenter (you need a good internet speed for this) and can talk to each other. If you can’t do video, then you can have discussion points where managers can talk to each other, or some webinar technology allows for groups of managers to have a chat online or by phone then come back to the main session. While there may be some expense in buying the technology, it’s much less than the travel costs and time out of the business for managers to get to a workshop.


  • In a company where managers were extremely busy, they have split the module into 1 hour sessions (the modules have 4 x 1 hour blocks) and are running them as brown bag lunch time sessions. That way, managers can multi-task and have lunch while learning.


  • Lastly another company were interested in running some online learning but didn’t want to have to build e-learning modules. So they have videoed the presentation parts of each workshop so that managers can watch these (like internal TED talks!). This doesn’t of course include the discussion and practice parts of a workshop, however if managers have watched the presentations, the actual workshop itself can be much shorter! You can also create recordings in PowerPoint as you talk through the slides – an alternative to videoing.


This last approach also helps with another issue. New managers who come on board after you’ve run the programme. How do you get them up to speed and familiar with what everyone else has learned? If you’ve videoed or recorded the sessions then your new manager can watch this and have a discussion with their manager about it. Or if you’ve run a Train the Trainer, you could now have that Trainer run some mini sessions with the managers who missed out.

Right back when Management Bites first came out – I felt strongly that everyone had jumped on board with leadership but forgotten about management training. Being a manager is a position where you manage a team and it’s managers who have the biggest day to day impact on their team performance, and therefore on the performance of the company as a whole.

Managers are often technical experts who might be as good with the people stuff and so need management training. I’m really pleased that the new off the shelf modules have provided a new way for companies, HR and L&D teams to run Management Bites training for their managers. But I’m also pleased to see the innovations that teams are trying to find magic ways to run that training when managers are flung far and wide!

I hope that these ideas might inspire you to try different ways to train your managers. I’d love to hear any other ideas that people have used. And if you’re keen to have a look at the Management Bites modules, then just click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 14, 2017 by in Learning and Development and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: