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Emma O'Connor


Training our people leads not only to them having a better understanding of their leadership or people management responsibilities, but also results in a more engaged, motivated and productive workforce. With the trend in leadership style moving from a “command-centred” approach to that of leaders who encourage, coach and lead by example, Emma O’Connor asks why are more organisations not investing in training?

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Training might seem like a buzz word, but the value of it is immeasurable. I was reading a LinkedIn post which said that Amazon trains its employees for jobs that have no relevance to Amazon as a company. For example, an Amazon employee might have training in health or transportation. For Amazon, people development and growth is of paramount importance to its employees, and therefore to Amazon. So why do many of us offer training on products and services, and not on people leadership or legal responsibilities?
When we train our people, it shows we are committed to their development not just as employees but as future leaders. We demonstrate an understanding of the issues and challenges our leaders have and how we want to create a level playing field of opportunity and success, encouraging our leaders to have positive management skills and behaviours. It is a statement to our people - and future leaders - that we want a working environment that is open, challenging and full of opportunities, with managers knowing their legal responsibilities and how to get the best out of their people. But how can we encourage managers to be leaders and support the growth of their teams?

Training doesn’t have to be a chore, there are lots of ways in which we can engage our people. Be it training “on the go” through webinars, apps, short video clips or eLearning modules to workshop-style face to face sessions, there are methods of delivery which work with your organisation’s needs. As an example, so far this month, our Training Academy has prepared a webinar on equality and diversity, run a day-long face to face HR update session and been asked to prepare and deliver short workshop style update sessions for managers on current manager and leadership trends.  
Training should also be engaging and, dare I say it, “fun”! Trainers need to understand your business, the pressures and the reality of being a manager. Let’s look at different topics and themes to engage our audiences. I want all attendees to say, as one recent delegate did for our event we ran, this is “the best event I have been to in 30 years!”. We spend a lot of time at work so it’s worth enjoying it!

So where do we start? Let’s get a blank piece of paper and think about these questions…

  • Who needs training? Managers, senior leaders, the Board, HR? (everyone!!)
  • On what? – think about some of the people management or leadership issues that have cropped up recently: conduct, sickness management, equality concerns or would a simple “do’s and don’ts” approach be better?  As a starting point, keep it simple – you can’t expect everyone to “get it” after one session
  • What are our delivery options? – face to face workshops, webinars or eLearning
  • Where are we going to do this – are we a multi-site operation? Do we have global offices?
  • How much time can we devote to this?
  • What’s our budget? 

We can always find an excuse and there are always more important things we think we should be focusing on. However, I have seen the consequences and the negative impact of managers who have not had the confidence to manage their teams and their people issues effectively. With fees gone and claims on the rise again, there is never a better time to put training back on the agenda.
From bespoke training programmes to standalone, bite-sized workshops sessions and webinars, the training possibilities are endless. It can seem confusing to know where to start but for ideas, have a look at our Training Academy website – there are loads of training courses available from conduct to coaching.
If it’s an HR interest course, a refresher or a course on wellbeing, we have a programme of HR training and workshop sessions to book on. Run in small groups, these legal and soft skills sessions are a chance to work with our lawyers and other professionals highlighting key concerns and areas of interest. Here’s our event programme
As Richard Branson said “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don't want to." Here, here!

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.


Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or have any training questions you would like to discuss, please contact Emma O'Connor on [email protected]

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