Every year, organizations invest massive amounts of capital in training programs to ensure that their workforce stays abreast with the latest trends in driving innovation and building leadership skills. Organizations have usually turned to workforce training sessions, and many are still under the notion these sessions provide immense benefit. However, with the rising number of millennials in the workforce, traditional ‘PowerPoint sessions,’ consisting of theoretical concepts, have become obsolete as they entail endless dictation, don't engage managers, and do not result in any behavioral change.
Talent management in the millennial era – fighting for top talent
The candidature of millennials is no longer done via conventional interviews but through methods such as career open houses, which aid network building. Studies have also shown that millennials yearn for a healthy culture and sustainable vision in potential employers rather than just having the right skill set or being a good fit.
A quick look at some stats on millennial-employee loyalty and engagement show that almost half the professionals between the ages of 18 and 25 years are most likely to leave their jobs within the first year. Furthermore, 70 percent of the millennials believe that a company’s sustainability would impact their decision to stay long-term, and 64 percent say that benefits are extremely important to employer loyalty. What’s more, only 29 percent of the millennials are engaged at work, 55 percent are not engaged, and another 16 percent are actively disengaged.
If the above numbers are anything to go by, millennials are changing the conventional way in which organizations engage their talent and are forcing them to offer a healthy work-life balance and meaningful work opportunities. In the millennial era, the old-school approach of training using presentation slides has given way to life-long experiential learning and coaching. Coaching millennials through role play, gamification, behavioral therapy, and social learning not only improves engagement and knowledge retention but also bolsters creativity and innovation.
The diversity in today’s businesses, markets, customers, and talent has vastly changed the erstwhile perception of what skills a leader should possess lead effectively. While nurturing the millennial workforce, leaders need to adopt a coaching style of leadership since millennials are driven by their inner voice. This coaching must be interspersed with experiential learning, as it facilitates progressive learning through introspection and collaboration. But what exactly is ‘coaching’? The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as, “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment.”
Five ways in which coaching improves retention
There are several benefits of using executive coaching for workforce training, the foremost being enhanced retention and engagement levels. Here is how coaching improves employee retention and engagement:
- Clarity: executive coaching helps eliminate ambiguity in roles and improves the communication process to create a platform of shared understanding amongst employees
- Commitment: individualized coaching indicates that the organization is committed to helping the employee succeed, which deepens the trust and nurtures the relationship that employees have with their management
- Courage: coaching instills the courage to deal with interpersonal and organizational challenges by being open, communicative and collaborative; it also helps facilitate skillful confrontation and allows leaders to face challenges head-on
- Challenge: coaches enable leaders to challenge themselves and step outside their comfort zones; thereby, nurturing their potential and skills to build a positive and resilient attitude
- Collaboration and Compassion: executive coaching can help leaders nurture a candid and transparent workplace environment, thus, making them approachable and cultivating a culture of honesty, trust, collaboration, and compassion wherein employees learn from each other
Choosing the right coach
While there are many self-proclaimed coaches in the market today, it is crucial that companies engage only with qualified and certified coaches. The following things must be kept in mind while choosing the right coach for your workforce:
- Qualifications: there are regulatory bodies in place, like ICF, to ensure registered practitioners and coaches are certified; make sure that the qualifications of the coach are aligned with the learning needs of your leaders and procure testimonials from former clients
- Style: the coach should be able to build a rapport and showcase empathy to engaging leaders and demonstrate respect, passion, and help you learn new approaches and techniques
- Tools: the coach must use the right tools to capture relevant data and metrics to find the root cause of the challenge and enable employees to find the best solution
Measuring the success of an executive coach
To determine if executive coaching has successfully improved retention and engagement, try to gather data-driven insights that go beyond measuring the ROI. For instance, consider the following:
- Ideation to Initiation: measure the time taken in nurturing an idea to the product reaching the end-user
- Surveys: use feedback tools for surveys from all stakeholders to collect real and qualitative insights on the coaching
- Productivity: measure productivity levels before and after coaching. If there are no formal productivity measures, determine the time taken to achieve closures or solutions before and after the coaching activity
To wrap it up, executive coaching is increasingly emerging as a comprehensive and robust approach to ensure executives are adequately groomed to transform their millennial staff and boost productivity in the workplace. As the learning and development function becomes increasingly personalized, one can expect organizations to bring in scientifically-trained external coaches to help employees chart their learning journeys and objectively provide sensitive feedback. The future of talent development and management is highly digitized, data-driven, and personalized and specialized executive coaches are likely to be a prominent part of the same.