Basic Training Topics For Your Management Team

We assume that our managers arrive with all of the skills we desire. We rigorously screen and interview, we put them through our orientation and then send them out.

We have found that there are several topics that managers need to know, but rarely raise their hand to say, “I need help in this area!” This is because they are supposed to know it and fear being found out if they have weaknesses, especially during the interview process.

We have developed a series of Basic Management Training Topics based on our exposure to the results of what happens when managers don’t have these skills.


  • Recruiting and Hiring: We cringe as we sit in interviews and watch managers start off with illegal questions such as, what year did you graduate from there? How many kids to you have? Basic interview skills, such as open ended questioning and guiding the interview discussion to align with the required job skills and corporate culture are important.


  • Discipline and Termination: How many of your managers have been trained in discipline and the actual process of firing people? While we are largely in an at-will environment, the modern process has developed into a series of sequential steps in order to mitigate unemployment claims or worse, wrongful termination lawsuits.


  • Employee Benefits and Compensation Practices: Managers should be able to articulate a basic knowledge of your benefit package. This may be why an employee chooses you over another firm. We recommend providing a one page summary for all managers to have at their finger tips to use when screening or interviewing. In addition depending on the role, managers should also be able to articulate the performance and rewards program during interviews.


  • Sexual Harassment and Diversity: Many states, such as Connecticut and California, already mandate sexual harassment training for supervisors. We recommend combining this with a discussion on the values of diversity.


  • Human Resources Regulations: There are basic regulations that managers should know. They don’t need to be HR experts, but we find that many don’t know the basic underlying rules of why things are done. As an example, a basic understanding of FMLA, HIPAA, and Workers Compensation rules is important.


  • Performance Management: Organizations spend 90% of their time designing the form and 10% on the actual process and delivery. Training managers on giving feedback, understanding the performance management cycle, and the actual writing and delivery of reviews is key to the success of the organization.


  • Budgeting and Financial Statement Analysis: As managers grow, they are expected to be able to budget and evaluate their Income Statements and in some cases their Balance Sheet. While many understand the basics, they may not understand your company’s process, overhead rates, or required margin in developing budgets and analyzing results. We recommend a session that take them through the basics.


  • Labor, Wages and Overtime: Many organizations do not classify exempt/ non-exempt employees properly. With the new minimum salary rules there will be an evaluation of this in the coming months. Companies that have collectively bargained staff have an additional need for line managers to understand topics such as grievance rules and seniority.


  • Industry Specific Training: We see that many managers are jumping industries as we face shortages in the various executive ranks. While osmosis works, it works at its own pace. It is important that you have an environment where you can foster learning, where managers with great skills can apply them at a faster speed when they join your firm.


Finally, these training sessions can be delivered in almost any format. To minimize disruption, we have found that 60-90 minute blocks of time are a great way to deliver this training or an extended period. Finally, we recommend that all managers attend, even if they are experts. The attendance of the experts helps foster great discussion and focuses the training relevant company issues.