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Aligning Management and Supervisory Training

Strategic training initiatives for any organization

A man in a suit and tie is posing for a photo.
​Matthew W. Burr, SHRM-SCP

​Training needs change as managers and supervisors grow. As HR professionals, we can ensure that leaders' needs are met through strategically aligned training initiatives. These initiatives can, in turn, be created in direct alignment with the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™), which works for any organization.

Continuing education is vital for the growth and development of managers and supervisors. Seek suggestions and buy-in from leadership prior to developing and implementing training; without the support of your organization's leaders, your efforts may be met with resistance. Training should be tailored to meet the needs of your organization, so know what works for your workforce (for instance, be prepared to train on off-shifts). Make training part of the performance review and goal-setting process. Seek feedback before, during and after the training, and look for opportunities to improve it.

Here are some recommendations for managerial and supervisory training in certain areas, based on my successes in training hundreds of leaders at all levels. The SHRM BoCK provides a road map for how we as HR professionals can provide strategic and effective training in our workplaces.

  1. New-hire orientation and onboarding. If your organization requires managers and supervisors to oversee these processes, create a checklist and train them to work through it. This will also assist in building relationships with the new hires. Let the Consultation and Communication SHRM competencies be your guide.

  2. HR and safety laws. Many organizations require their managers and supervisors to receive high-level training on the federal and state laws governing HR and occupational safety and health. Know the areas in which your leaders need help. Consult the Organization and Workplace knowledge domains of HR Expertise, the SHRM BoCK's technical competency, to design training that will have an impact and provoke powerful discussions.

  3. Performance reviews, conflict management and workplace feedback. Utilize your skills in Leadership & Navigation, Business Acumen and Relationship Management to train managers and supervisors in improving their own skills in these areas.

  4. Legal, effective interviews. Ever-evolving laws and regulations in cities and states cover prior salary queries, protected activities, "ban-the-box" initiatives regarding applicants' criminal histories and more. Make sure you stay up-to-date as you develop and implement training to help your leaders conduct solid interviews.

  5. Policies, procedures and employee handbooks. Discussing hypothetical scenarios and past events with managers and supervisors is a good way to provide informative training. Your proficiency in Critical Evaluation will help you measure effectiveness.

  6. Payroll processing and vacation approvals. New managers and supervisors often struggle in these areas, so providing tools and resources to ensure accuracy is necessary. To communicate this information, refresh your knowledge of the Technology Management functional area.

  7. Workplace investigations. These are crucial for supervisors and managers to understand. Ethical Practice and most other competencies come into play in helping leaders become knowledgeable and informed.

Matthew W. Burr, SHRM-SCP, owner of Burr Consulting LLC in Elmira, N.Y., is an HR consultant, an assistant professor at Elmira College, and an on-call mediator and fact-finder for the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. He holds master's degrees in business administration and in human resources and industrial relations, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.


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