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How to Train Front-line Supervisors

How to Train Front-line Supervisors

Several employers in the region have told us they need to develop new supervisors for improved productivity. Despite tight training budgets, there are low-costs ways to enhance the front-line supervisors’ performance. Front-line supervisors play an integral role in coaching and training what is often the largest segment of organizational teams.

While each employer will have a unique culture and a few unique processes, front-line supervision is an area where there are more similar needs than there are unique. For example, effective communication as a supervisor is necessary in every organization. So, for the budget-constrained employer, there are programs available that have no or low developmental costs yet address a very high percentage of the skills necessary to enhance the front-line supervisors’ performance.

Role-playing scenarios

New supervisors can engage in role-playing scenarios to build effective conflict resolution techniques, enhance decision-making skills and improve communication. These opportunities can be coupled with senior level participation that in turn gives front-line supervisors greater access to senior leaders to collaborate on internal training such as “job rotation” opportunities. With this line of leadership training, development fuels higher employee engagement and productivity and decreases turnover rates among leaders and their direct reports.

Succession preparation program

Employers can also help prepare new or rising supervisors with a succession-preparation program. Once structured skill sets are identified, training can be developed and enhanced through participation in seminars over an expanded period or even online.

Workforce consortium

While there are no-cost solutions, there are also very efficient low-cost training solutions. For example, several local manufacturing companies created a consortium that shared costs for a front-line supervisor’s course that closely met all of the employers’ needs.

Mac McGinty, vice president of Community College Workforce Alliance, has been providing workforce services for Virginia’s Community Colleges for 20 years.

Knowing that the training of workforce is crucial to productivity, job satisfaction, and profitability and that well-focused development provides a positive return-on-investment, he is heavily involved in numerous community, regional and statewide workforce development efforts.


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