As we begin to plan for calendar year 2023, I’m talking to more executives about their vision for professional development.
Fortunately, nearly all organizations now see the importance of investing in their leaders at all levels, but many are still hesitant about investing in training and/or unsure how to build or re-establish an effective training plan. Well, better than doing nothing is to start small, even if it’s just a new skill-building lesson each term next year.
Negative impact of suspending leadership development any longer
For many years we have all been asked to “do more with less”, and over time this has meant reducing non-compliance related training and development for staff and leaders. But if we learned anything from the recession of more than a decade ago, we now know that taking our foot off the accelerator pedal of development leaves those in supervisory and managerial positions without the tools necessary to succeed in their role.
The workforce continues to evolve and leaders need to stay abreast of the changing mindset of today’s new workforce, including understanding generational dynamics and a variety of work styles. communication and preferences demanded by today’s workers.
Companies that cut leadership development academies and internal universities are now calling us asking why their turnover has become so high. Upon inspection, they realize that they have hired and promoted people to these positions without preparing them for success.
Let’s not make the same mistake in 2023. Training doesn’t have to be a huge investment, but we need to keep the wheel of learning turning regularly to, over time, equip our leaders with the skills they need.
A delivery change
Alright, alright, but where do we find the time to practice, you ask?
It’s not just the pandemic that has shifted more in-person training to virtual; the most recent Great Resignation workforce crisis meant directors and managers were spending more time in the field working. And with all the regulatory and compliance requirements for recurring training not being optional, this left most people with little time for non-compliant, but critical, leadership training sessions. Hence the understandable pause.
To overcome the limitation of training time, this year we have seen organizations shift their demands from as many full-day training programs to now shorter hybrid courses, partially asynchronous or on-demand, coupled with partially synchronous sessions with a moderator leading the live discussion.
Leaders kept telling us, “90 minutes is all we can do” when discussing training schedules. If that’s what we have to do, let’s do it. Let’s incorporate shorter training sessions into the program, and instead of covering several mind-altering and skill-building topics in a day, let’s tackle one at a time.
And it works wonderfully! Leaders who take this classroom approach are happier being able to focus on one area of improvement at a time, and with action guides and behavior change checklists after each class, they can implement practice what was preached in the sessions.
New training topics to cover
As you plan your 2023 curriculum, deciding what training topics are needed, keep in mind that training needs today are not the same as they were in the late 1900s. for our community leaders. Our workforce has evolved and leaders need to have more comprehensive people skills and communication skills that come unnatural to most. Thank goodness they can be taught!
We have identified new gaps in leadership skills over the past few years and have received more and more requests for training topics for new managers and advanced managers, who do not always have the same needs.
For new or emerging leaders, be sure to include topics in your upcoming training plans, such as leadership communication tactics, resilience, and coping mechanisms to ensure they can getting through tough days, and onboarding strategies to ensure these supervisors understand their retention responsibilities.
For seasoned leaders, it may be time to delve into emotional intelligence, updated generational dynamics, as well as reinforce leadership essentials such as giving effective feedback and ways to build trust. within a team when there is little time for on-the-job coaching and mentoring.
It’s time to start
That said, start building your training plan now. The main problem moving forward is that suspending leadership development for much longer is not sustainable. At least not if you want to create and maintain a place where people want to work.
Investing in your leadership at all levels this coming year will make your retention efforts much easier and more effective in the future.
Cara Silletto, MBA, CSP, workforce thought leader, is president and chief retention officer of an HR consulting firm Culture Magnet. She works with organizations of all sizes to reduce unnecessary turnover by bridging generational gaps and making managers more effective in their roles. She is the author of the book Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer.
The opinions expressed in McKnight Long Term Care News guest submissions are those of the author and not necessarily those of McKnight Long Term Care News or its editors.