How to Increase Loyalty, Engagement and Your Bottom Line
Why coaching could keep your employees and save your business
Last December, Facebook and LinkedIn made news by launching a coaching program to help employees build personal skills like collaboration and goal-setting. As someone who believes strongly in professional development at all levels, I was excited to hear about two prominent companies investing in their rank and file employees and thought other employers might follow suit.
But in the year since the announcement was made, few other corporations have jumped on the coaching bandwagon. While plenty of companies offer training, those programs are often meant to teach employees about specific procedures, processes and technical aspects of their jobs. Coaching, on the other hand, is more about helping employees develop the social and emotional skills to grow their careers. In my experience, employees who receive coaching are more engaged, more motivated and more productive.
In my firm, we support our placements with six months of coaching, helping them master key competencies like understanding workplace culture and norms, goal-setting and achieving and developing a personal brand and value proposition. This approach has allowed us to achieve improved retention rates for our employers because these soft skills are exactly what workers need to thrive. In fact, research conducted by the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation found that 75 percent of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25 percent is based on technical knowledge.
Coaching not only provides a way for you to equip your employees to meet their career goals, it offers numerous benefits to your organization, including:
Replacing employees is an expensive and time-consuming process. While it can take months to recruit, interview and train a new employee, some studies suggest it may be a year or even two before that staffer is fully productive. Cost-wise, that can add up to six-to-nine months’ salary of the departing employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Engaging employees through coaching can go a long way toward alleviating this problem. If you are a company that invests in your employees – even those in entry-level jobs – you will differentiate yourself and those employees will want to stick with you. You’ll demonstrate to your employees that they are valued and capable and that will allow your relationship with your staff to flourish in a way that it wouldn’t otherwise.
- IMPROVES CULTURE
Again, if you engage your employees, they will not only be less likely to leave, but they’ll be absent less, more motivated and stronger contributors. Gallup found that engaged employees are 17 percent more productive than their peers who are not. Those engaged employees also have an enthusiasm that is contagious, which creates a more positive culture and workplace overall. Employees who are coached effectively will serve as conflict diffusers and will set a higher bar and example for their peers.
- BUILDS FUTURE LEADERS
It’s clear that engaged employees can make a big impact on retention and corporate culture. Unfortunately, only 34 percent of U.S. employees are engaged, according to Gallup.
The biggest factor influencing the variance in employment engagement scores?
A good manager can make a huge difference in not only engagement, but overall job satisfaction. But good managers aren’t just born that way – in fact, Gallup estimates that just one in 10 people possesses the skills or temperament for management. Consider the fact that most front- line supervisors and middle managers land their positions because they are promoted for seniority or strong performance. Yet many front-line managers aren’t trained in emotional intelligence or how to motivate – key factors for gaining strong performance from their own employees. This often leads to supervisors under- or over-managing individuals, which only creates more turnover. By investing in employees from the start, you’ll be developing the skills they are going to need when they eventually become supervisors. With coaching, you’re setting up both your employees and your organization for success.
We know employees of all ages and positions crave more feedback and leadership development. Coaching is a way to fill that void, while increasing loyalty, engagement and potentially your bottom line. Remember that an investment in your employees is also an investment in your organization and future success.
Helen Young Hayes is founder and CEO or Activate Workforce Solutions, a talent acquisition agency that creates pathways to self-sufficiency through successful, sustained employment.