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Oct 25, 2016

Employee engagement continues to be a major workplace issue — according to Gallup, only 33.7% of U.S. employees feel engaged at work.

The best way to combat this engagement crisis is by creating a coaching culture. The Building a Coaching Culture for Increased Employee Engagement Report by ICF and HCI found that 60% of employees rate themselves as “highly engaged” in organizations with strong coaching cultures, as opposed to 48% in organizations without.

So what exactly is a coaching culture? It defines how leaders engage and develop their employees through individualized training. Employers with this focus integrate coaching to push everybody to their peak performance. When they are doing their best, employees are more likely to accept ownership of their work and learn personal accountability, which gets them more engaged in their performance and career.

Additionally, this eases some of the burden on higher level employees. Managers don’t need to directly supervise their staff as they continue to develop skills for success and perform at levels that are meeting and even exceeding expectations.

Let’s take a look at how employers can create a coaching culture to improve employee engagement:

Define and align

Your employees will feel far more engaged in their work when they understand how their responsibilities impact large-scale goals. Focus on defining the big picture — what is the company’s mission and vision? When you have a clearly defined idea, promote it throughout the company and incorporate it into your employer branding.

The next step is helping employees define their personal and professional goals in a way that aligns with the company vision. Make sure you meet with their leadership coaches – these may be their direct manager, a team leader, mentor, or someone else — so everyone is on the same page.

These coaches partner with your employees to guide them through a creative process to find a way to help them reach their full potential. Leadership coaches are the backbone to your coaching culture because they embody what a coaching culture is built on — helping individuals evolve and improve themselves to reach their goals and experience sustained grow.

Before employees can grow, you need to identify what each employee’s strengths and weaknesses are and communicate your expectations. This gives you an opportunity to get a clear vision of where you want your employee to be in the future and what their role will evolve to.

From there, the coach and employee can set goals that align with the large-scale strategy and start to execute an employee development plan that best suits the employee’s learning style and fits into your vision for them.

Your staff will see themselves in the company’s future plans and feel more motivated in their work. Additionally, they will start to develop a sense of loyalty to the organization.


Customize Individual Action Plans

The reality is starting to set in for many organizations — one-size-fits-all training does not work. The State of Employee Training survey conducted by West Unified Communication Services found that one-third of the 200 full-time employees surveyed said current training programs aren’t productive. Another one-third also said the material is not interesting or engaging.

The issue is training programs aren’t customized to each person’s goals and vision for themselves, and they fail to cater to everybody’s unique learning style. The survey found that 48% of employees want training customized to their job, and 47% of employees want to pursue training at their own pace. So a more personal, one-on-one training experience is needed. This is where individualized training comes in.

Make individualized training plans a part of onboarding so new hires know right away that the company invests in helping them meet their potential. Develop training specific to various roles in order to empower each person to succeed in their own unique way.

Succession planning

Succession planning comes easy in companies with a coaching culture. With employees learning and growing, a company is creating a leadership pipeline. This way, when a key position becomes vacant, the company won’t suffer a major disruption. You are equipped with a list of internal candidates ready to step in.

The best way to build your talent pipeline is by investing in your coaching culture. Empower each person on your team to reach their highest potential, and encourage continual learning.  Measure their performance and use the data to have more impactful, ongoing discussions to help them succeed.

Continue ongoing performance evaluations and provide constructive feedback to engage them in their own employee development. This way, they aren’t left guessing how they are performing or where they stand in your eyes.

Employee engagement relies on your ability to communicate with your staff. When you create a coaching culture, you are adding a very important element to your relationship — a personalized, well-focused investment in each person’s professional development. This shows employees the high level of trust and respect you have for them and will motivate them to be their best — for you and for themselves.

How are you creating a coaching culture and improving employee engagement?