How important are managers to learning?

Discover some important insights from our latest Learner Intelligence Report.

Written by Natalie Benfell
Published 04 July 2022
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How important are managers to learning?

We all know how important managers are when it comes to performance and wellbeing, but did you know they’re a key factor in an employee's learning habits too?  

In recent years, L&D leaders have encouraged self-directed learning, empowering learners to take control of their own development. But don’t be fooled – that doesn’t mean managers are let off the hook when it comes to employee development. 

As well as looking at the impact of working arrangements pre- and post-pandemic, our latest Learner Intelligence Report explored some of the ways managers can impact an employee’s learning and development. 

Don’t be a barrier to learning 

When it comes to learning, there are always going to be challenges. According to our recent Learner Intelligence Report, a “lack of support, advice and encouragement from my manager” was reported as being the second largest barrier to learning at work for remote employees, and third for in-person employees. 

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With a lack of support, employees are likely to have reservations about seeking new learning opportunities. It’s important that managers encourage their employees to continue to learn, whether that’s providing clear pathways to resources, or simply keeping employees up to date on learning opportunities in their regular catch-ups.  

New opportunities 

You must be thinking, “Surely, a manager can’t be that influential on an employee's development?” It turns out they are.  

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When asked, “Through which, if any, of the following do you currently find out about learning opportunities at work?” most employees reported their manager as the main source of information. So, it’s important that managers provide support whenever they can. 

However, while a manager’s colleagues have a key role to play in sharing learning opportunities, internal communications and email nudges/notifications are almost equally important. Managers should take these other sources into consideration, and make sure that learning is accessible by every avenue. 

Support leads to proactive learners 

Managers supporting their team members with learning isn’t just good for employee development, it’s beneficial for the organization too. 

Our research shows that organizational support and employee proactivity are both positively associated with employee satisfaction. The more supported employees feel, the happier they are. And, the happier they are, the more proactive they’re likely to be when it comes to learning. 

MicrosoftTeams-image-(2).png Proactive learners help embed a culture of learning within your organization, which bodes well for organizational success. The more an employee learns and develops, the more positively they’ll contribute towards their organization.

About the author

Natalie Benfell

Natalie Benfell

Content and Product Marketing Manager
Natalie is a passionate marketeer with over seven years of marketing experience. She enjoys copywriting, creative problem-solving and helping to build a strong brand presence.

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