Three Ways to Expand Learning and Development Opportunities for Frontline Supervisors

Posted by Steve Copacino on 8/16/17 11:02 AM

retail_training.jpgYour frontline supervisors have a significant impact on your employees, and your overall business operations. Working directly with the staff on a daily basis, a supervisor’s influence can improve productivity and employee satisfaction or have a detrimental effect on these metrics. In many cases, employee turnover isn't related to issues with the company itself, but instead is a result of frustration with ineffective supervisors.

Providing your frontline supervisors with employee development opportunities is essential, as your organization gains both short and long-term benefits by investing in this segment of your business. Here are three ways you can continue to expand these L&D opportunities.

Mentorship Programs

Your supervisors can get a jump start on their learning process by working with people who walked in their shoes before. They get the hard-earned knowledge that often takes years of experience to attain – without going through the trial and error process.

By connecting with mentors who have useful insights, your frontline supervisors can begin adopting new practices and finding out which skills are the most useful for improving productivity and overall satisfaction.

They also gain a sounding board for dealing with difficult situations that come up during their jobs. For example, they could ask for advice on dealing with employees who refuse to listen to their instructions, or strategies to motivate their employees and maximize productivity.

Pathway to Earn Industry Recognized Credentials

Providing frontline supervisors the chance to earn an industry recognized credential is another way to expand L&D opportunities.These credentials give your frontline supervisors the opportunities to show off their skill sets and expand their knowledge. Credentials may be formal degree programs from an accredited institution, such as a Business Management Associate Degree or Retail Supervisor Career Diploma, or can be unaccredited certificate programs such as those offered in the National Retail Federation’s Rise Up courses. You can choose the program that works best for your business needs and the availability of your frontline supervisors.

In addition to the new skills supervisors learn through earning these credentials, credentialed supervisors may also get elevated in the eyes of the employees they oversee. Their people want to know that the supervisor has first-hand knowledge of their work tasks. If they haven't seen the supervisor working their way up the ranks themselves, the certifications can serve as an alternative.

Soft Skill Development

Supervisors and managers need soft skills that they may not have developed over their career path to date. Leadership and communication skills are critical for effectively working with the employees under them.

When a supervisor has effective leadership skills, the employees are happy to follow this person. They listen to requests and quickly act on any instructions that the supervisor gives. The employees also trust the judgment and decisions the supervisor makes. When they have problems, they're happy to bring their concerns up, rather than building resentment.

Clear communication skills are another must-have for your frontline supervisors. They need to effectively provide constructive criticism for their people, be able to convey their decisions clearly and guide the team as needed through verbal and written formats. If they can't talk to their employees, misinterpretation could lead to bigger problems.

Interpersonal skills also fall under this category. Above everything else, your frontline supervisors need great people skills to keep the team working efficiently. Even the best teams may end up clashing with each other, and the supervisor has to step in and diffuse the situation before it impacts their team, and the company, in the short and long terms. With proper conflict management skills, they can step in well before it comes to a head, so your organization doesn't get disrupted by this conflict.

Your frontline supervisors need ongoing skills development opportunities as much as, or even more than, your frontline workers. Give them the opportunity to expand their talents, and you'll reap the benefits.

Recommended for you: Four Topics to Cover when Training a First-Line Retail Supervisor

Topics: Employee Retention, Employers, soft skills

 

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