Do one off management training and development programmes work?

27 Mar 2018

Not according to Emma Donaldson-Feilder and Rachel Lewis (Kingston University) whose research programme won them the¨ “British Psychological Society Practitioner of the Year Award” 2014.

Phase 2 of the research  "Developing managers to manage sustainable employee engagement, health and well-being" (Feb 2017) builds on the original phase of research conducted in 2014, and introduces the new resources and tools which have been developed since then.

Background to the research

Academic and practitioner evidence demonstrates that employee health, well-being and engagement are important for organisational success. 

Manager behaviour not only impacts on employee health and well-being, but also on employee engagement.




Research found that almost a quarter of the variance in employee productivity is explained by psychological well- being, perceived commitment of the organisation to the employee and resources and communication.


A Towers Watson study (Fairhurst and O’Connor 2010) highlighted the negative interaction, suggesting that highly engaged employees whose well-being is not protected are at risk of burnout and, ultimately, reduced engagement and performance. 


The same study also found that if organisations are investing in employee engagement activities but not also acknowledging health and well-being, there is a risk of only a short-term impact on engagement.

The report provides the training development programme with checklists for:

Considerations for planning, design and format of the programme that support success

Characteristics of manager participants that support programme success

Characteristics of the organisational environment that support programme success

Each of these checklists are defined for:

  • Before the development training programme
  • During the development training programme
  • After the development training programme

In each instance the approach embraced:

  • Using a series of interventions over time.
  • Integrating the programme into organisational strategy.
  • Ensuring opportunities to apply new learning and applying multiple aligned goals for participants
  • Help managers see the programme as beneficial and important.
  • Ensure it is relevant to, and reflective of, manager participants’ job roles.
  • Maintaining management support and feedback mechanisms.
  • Promoting a supportive company culture.  

Relevant to using a series of interventions over time and case studies conducted:

Running the course for one day a month – this minimised the impact on the managers’ day job of being away from the office. Furthermore, the time between each session enabled managers to be challenged in their thinking during the workshop and then have time to put the learning into practice. 

When you look at all of the above, you might think, well that is all a bit obvious. Common sense even.

You as an employer take care of the employees and they will take care of you.

The key words here are:

  • Sustainable 
  • Methodology
  • Employee Engagement
  • Development
  • Health and well being

A Gallup study found that business units with the highest engagement scores (the top 25%) averaged 18% higher productivity than those with the lowest engagement scores (the bottom 25%). 

However, a combination of engagement and psychological well-being predicted productivity levels better than engagement alone. 

The prize is sustainable positive outcomes over a prolonged period. 

One-off training doesn’t work.  The intervention should be long-term (3 months plus) using a range of different methodologies (such as coaching, feedback, and workshops)

Expressions Partnership’s “The Management Training Academy” is a management development programme which typically runs over 4-6 months covering all learning styles and includes FREE Unlimited phone coaching and email support.

It is run as an Open "Public" Management Academy and a Bespoke In-House Academy and caters for:

  • Managers who have had some time to acclimatise to their role, but wish to be more effective and contribute more.
  •  Managers who have not had any structured development.
  • Managers new to the role
  • For those who need a refresher to invigorate their outlook.

Note: 8 out of 10 companies who send a delegate on this course enrol more of their staff on the same course.