First-Line Supervisor Training

The Problem

Several small to medium-size companies within a 50-mile radius in an Iowa community expressed concerns about their first-line supervisors who had received little or no formal training. Due to this lack of training, there were several instances of employee-relations issues, high turnover, high absenteeism, performance issues and low morale. Although the training need was strong, the individual companies did not have the funding to provide adequate training.

The Solution

A consortium was established with the Presidents and/or Human Resource Directors from these organizations to find a solution for their common training need. A training needs assessment was conducted to determine the supervisors’ current skills, desired skills and skills needed for their future roles. Skills gaps were identified, and a 12-module training program was developed and customized to address these gaps.

The program was conducted 15 times over the course of a three-year period. Content included the following topics:

  • From Peer to Supervisor
  • Leadership Styles
  • Communications Skills
  • Difficult Conversations
  • Performance Management
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Time Management
  • Effective Meeting Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Customer Relations
  • A Quality Focus for Business Success
  • Managing Change

To ensure the learning was applied on the job, the training design included a comprehensive approach to preparation before the training, exercises and coaching during the training, and refreshers and reinforcement after the training.

The Outcome

Due to the focus on application of learning and transference back to the job, participants were able to immediately apply the course content after each session. Based on pre-training and post-training assessments by the participants and their managers, there were measurable changes in the participants’ skills, behaviors and effectiveness in performing their supervisory responsibilities.