Line manager training

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The role of the line manager has a profound impact on an employee's experience of work as well as their individual health and wellbeing. It has been established from research that managers are often emphasised as important sources of support for staff due to the influence they have over employee perceptions of the work environment.

Line managers are one of the most effective resources to support employee health and wellbeing. The best way to foster a supportive environment and have a positive impact is to ensure that line managers lead and provide the appropriate support to staff. In order to achieve this, line manager training should be implemented and maintained across the organisation.

It is vital that managers are offered additional resources to support them in promoting health and wellbeing. They have as much impact by being a supportive manager as they do being an unsupportive manager. Leading by example and being aware of the impact of their behaviour on others is key.

At NHS Employers we have rolled out two training programmes in partnership with Zeal Solutions, which have supported line managers across over 120 NHS organisations.  From this we have created some tips to help your organisation develop a successful line manager training programme to promote effective health and wellbeing.

1. Establish your needs
It is important that you identify the issues surrounding the ability to manage health and wellbeing within your trust, to ensure you can establish the requirements for the programme. The training we developed was based on research which established that supportive leadership, capability in dealing with mental wellbeing and the competence of line managers is critical for promoting individual health, performance and effectiveness.

2. Gain board commitment
Board approval and commitment is vital for the success of a line manager training programme. You need to ensure that your board is supportive and allows training days to commence and managers to be released from their daily role to attend the training.

3. Advertise the training
Make the training attractive and use promotional material to showcase this. Remember you have to encourage your staff to attend and make sure that it is worthwhile them being away for the day.

4. Train your trainers in a full one-day session
Make the most of your resources. Once you have developed a training programme, train a selection of your line managers so that they in turn can roll out the training across the organisation to ensure as many line managers as possible can be reached.  With a training session taking place over one day you can ensure that the relevant materials are covered in detail without taking colleagues out of their normal working day for a prolonged period. 

5. Use scenario-based techniques
By using scenario-based techniques and activities, your delegates are able to contextualise the training into everyday working life. Scenario-based videos are a great way to connect with your trainees and show work situations that will allow them to think about how they would deal with certain situations. 

6. Gather before-and-after evaluation and measure the impact
The key to ensuring that the training course is successful is through robust evaluation. By collecting before-and-after evaluation data, benchmarks can be established and improvements can be measured. This will allow you to adapt and change the programme to suit the evidenced needs.  Develop evaluation reports with the data that you collect from your programme to provide any results and conclusions to evidence the impacts that may be happening to your staff and organisation. These reports are also a great opportunity to provide evidence to your board and staff to promote participation.

Find out more about the training programmes we have delivered and the impact they have had. 

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