Boston — April 19
Of all corporate staff levels, senior management is least likely to get training and development, according to a survey of 2,000 human resources and training and development executives by Novations Group, a global consulting and training firm based in Boston.
Although 90 percent of first-line managers will receive training this year, only 59 percent of senior executives will do so.
“Leadership development professionals have long known that top management is sometimes ambivalent when it comes to any type of training,” said Paul Terry, Novations vice president for talent management. “Nevertheless, the rate at which senior-level people get development support is probably greater than at any time in the past. Organizations are more concerned about bench strength and retiring boomers. Our findings probably under-reflect how much senior management is actually getting, since their teams often participate in visioning, coaching, strategic planning and other endeavors that are actually T&D, if not in name.”
Which of the following employee categories at your organization will receive training & development this year? (Select all that apply.)
- Entry-level employees: 82 percent
- Experienced nonmanagement employees: 75 percent
- First-line managers: 90 percent
- Middle-level executives: 76 percent
- Senior-level executives: 59 percent
Novations’ findings also indicate how important organizations consider training for first-line managers, Terry said.
“First-line managers are making a transition from individual contributor to leader,” Terry said. “Often, this means putting a gifted technical person into a role that requires the individual to manage other people, and experience tells us this shift is difficult and calls for substantial organizational support and coaching in addition to training.
“By a large margin, training professionals recognize the challenge of moving individuals into a managerial role.”
Employees make various transitions during their careers. In your experience as an HR professional, which of the following is most difficult?
- From entry-level to seasoned professional: 17 percent
- From seasoned professional to supervisory/managerial: 65 percent
- From supervisory/managerial to senior management/executive: 18 percent
“Many first-line managers are recently promoted,” Terry said. “More senior managers already got some fundamental training, and management understands that first-line managers can have the greatest impact on everyday lives of employees.
“Effective training for first-line people can help improve retention and engagement.”
The finding that only 18 percent of respondents believe the transition to senior management is the most difficult, Terry said, suggests organizations underestimate the dimensions of the challenge.
“A senior executive plays a qualitatively different role in the company and has to have a broader perspective,” Terry said. “He or she has to make critical business decisions, set company strategy, muster resources and give direction to the whole organization.
“Consequently, developing a senior person has to be a deliberate and structured process that integrates the right kind of experiences.”
The Novations Group Internet survey of 2,046 senior human resource and training and development executives was conducted by Equation Research.