Continuing Supervisory Education

RT-040 Topic Summary
RT 040

Overview

The construction industry typically does a poor job of selecting and training its supervisors. There is insufficient data regarding the direct impact of supervisory training on improved supervisory performance, productivity, or overall company profits. However, the research did find that highly successful, “best practices” companies have comprehensive, formalized training and supervisory development programs.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : "Best Practice" Companies have Comprehensive & Development Progress

Highly successful, “best practices” companies have comprehensive, formalized training and supervisory development programs. Common characteristics of such programs included (a) a strong commitment to the value of training from the highest levels of the organization, (b) an established methodology to perform needs assessments, (c) the development and delivery of training, primarily through the use of in-house resources, and (d) the use of training as an instrument to communicate and effect change in the corporate culture. Some of the best practice companies use recognized assessment tools to help select supervisors and also to subsequently determine specific training needed by each individual to be successful. (RS40-1, p. 19)
Reference: (RS40-1)

2 : Promotion of Best Workers to Supervisors should use Assessment Tools

The construction industry typically does a poor job of selecting supervisors. Organizations generally promote their best workers into supervisory positions without regard to their qualifications for a completely different set of responsibilities. Recognized assessment tools, which have been proven to be successful in identifying a higher likelihood for success, were seldom employed. 

To improve the supervisor selection process, companies should recognize the cost of poor selection, base selection on target competencies, consider using assessment tools, maintain pre-supervisory pools, and have alternate non-supervisory recognition for high achievers. (RS40-1, p. 10-13)

Reference: (RS40-1)

3 : New Supervisors Require Ongoing Training

The construction industry does a poor job of training its supervisors. Once promoted into a supervisory position, most organizations provided their new supervisors with minimal, if any, training. When training was provided, it typically failed to focus on an individual supervisor’s needs. Organizations typically fail to recognize that no amount of training will suffice if the individual selected did not have qualifications to become a supervisor in the first place. The result is a “sink or swim” situation for many new supervisors that is often detrimental to the organization’s or project’s success and always negative for the individual. 

Previous studies and research indicated common barriers to implementing an effective training program include lack of money, lack of time, lack of knowledge, too small of a work force, ineffective past efforts, hiring only trained workers, and a lack of employee interest. However, these barriers represent a “false economy” and can be overcome. (RS40-1, p. 6)

Reference: (RS40-1)

4 : Supervisory training is linked to improvement metrics

There is minimal data regarding the direct impact of supervisory training on improved supervisory performance, productivity, or overall company profits. Although there is a significant amount of research in this area, influences other than supervisory training alone prevented the use of strict scientific measurements to pinpoint the basis for improvements. “Best practices” companies, however, consistently indicated that there was a strong relationship between their training and educational programs and various improvement metrics they employed, including productivity gains. (RS40-1, p. 20)
 
Reference: (RS40-1)

5 : Implementation Tool #1

IR40-2, A Framework for Continuing Supervisory Education

The framework presented in IR40-2 is specifically designed for continuing supervisory education within a construction or design organization. Developed by the CII Continuing Supervisory Education Research Team, this framework provides a mechanism to respond to or to lead organizational change and, although designed specifically for supervisory development, the framework is valid for all types of training, education, and development. When implemented, it will provide a process for the development and delivery of all training programs. 
 

Framework Overview: 

Step 1: Establishing and Demonstrating Commitment
Step 2: Identification of Critical Supervisory Competencies
Step 3: Emphasizing Supervisor Selection
Step 4: Identification of Supervisory Performance Improvement Goals
Step 5: Creation and Delivery of Supervisory Development Programs
Step 6: Assessment of Performance
Step 7: Periodic Review and Adjustment


Implementation of the seven steps provides a mechanism for: 

  • Determining the critical supervisory competencies for the organization
  • Selecting supervisors with the best fit with critical supervisory competencies
  • Determining development needs for individual supervisors and the organization as a whole
  • Delivering targeted, cost-effective education and training
  • Continually adjusting selection criteria and training and development to meet changing organizational needs
Reference: (IR40-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved performance, Improved craft productivity

Research Publications

Continuing Supervisory Education: An Overview - RS40-1

Publication Date: 10/1996 Type: Research Summary Pages: 26 Status: Supporting Product

Supervisory Development for the Construction Industry - RR40-11

Publication Date: 06/1996 Type: Research Report Pages: 258 Status: Reference

A Framework for Continuing Supervisory Education - IR40-2

Publication Date: 12/1995 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 88 Status: Tool


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