Discussion Paper 22: Training for supervisors: discussion paper on the impacts

23 Sep 2016

The Supervisory Skills Training programme was implemented by Better Work country teams in Cambodia, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. The programme was designed to be highly interactive and to teach supervisors about their roles and responsibilities, professional behavior at work, communicating effectively with workers, and improving worker performance, thus improving outcomes in three areas: supervisors’ abilities and confidence at work, their relationships with workers, and productivity.

Training had positive effects in all three of these areas (measured in terms of self-efficacy, attitudes toward workers, and productivity). Although there were some direct effects of training, including improved perspective-taking, reduced injury rates, and reduced time to production target, the effect was often moderated by other variables, like mindset or perceived power.

Training was most effective for supervisors who believe that intelligence is not fixed, and therefore were presumably more open to learning new skills and more likely to persist when challenged; for supervisors who rejected the idea that improvements in working conditions necessarily reduce factory performance; for supervisors who perceived manager buy-in for training and thus likely felt supported in implementing what they learned; and for supervisors who felt moderately but not extremely powerful (i.e., not more powerful than their managers). Having moderate power may have been the key to being both open to learning new skills and confident enough to implement them on the factory floor.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep up to date with our latest news and publications by subscribing to our regular newsletter.