By Dan Harris
You’ve put a lot of effort into employee engagement.
In fact, employee engagement ranked as a top organizational priority in 2017, according to Virgin Pulse’s 2017 Trends in Wellbeing & Engagement report. However, you know employee engagement isn’t a simple accomplishment or a once-and-done task.
You understand the importance of having employees who don’t have to show up every day, but truly want to. This requires using employee engagement techniques: listening to employee feedback, giving frequent recognition for their hard work, and instilling a powerful mission into the company culture.
If you’re struggling with engagement, or your company’s leaders want to strengthen their engagement strategies, then add another technique to the list: coaching. Despite the difficulties involved, it’s well worth your time and energy to create an environment where employees feel motivated, productive, and passionate about their work.
Here’s how you can take your team above and beyond traditional engagement practices:
Giving employees opportunities to learn directly from managers helps them develop a stronger, more trusting relationship. As managers coach employees, they’ll provide personalized feedback in real-time. This tight-knit bond enables an understanding that managers — and the organization by extension — care about employees’ individual development and success.
However, sitting down and running through a checklist of strategies or skills isn’t going to enhance employee engagement. Laurel McDermott, HR business partner at Frontline Education, suggests managers think about a sports team and truly coach.
“To coach, you need to focus on performance improvement. Touch on the misses, but emphasize what needs to change for successes to occur. And don’t forget to highlight the successes and encourage them to continue,” said McDermott.
Coaching shouldn’t always be placed on managers’ shoulders. Challenge your team to relay skills and knowledge to one another through coaching techniques. Not only will peers be helping one another grow to a new career level, but they’ll also be cultivating trust and unification. These bonds will heighten employee engagement through increased commitment and motivation.
Create a mentoring program for employees to meet with different peers on a set schedule. This ensures co-workers are meeting one another and helps match varying personalities and coaching styles.
Because everyone learns differently, don’t forget to incorporate one of the most important aspects of employee engagement: feedback. In fact, according to our recent report, organizations that utilize 360 feedback as a means of peer coaching are more likely to have highly engaged employees.
Encourage your team to check in with each other the day following peer-to-peer coaching. This gives both the mentor and mentee an opportunity to process information and any questions or concerns about the day before.
Just like any other employee engagement tactic, coaching is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, a July Officevibe survey, State of Employee Engagement, found 31 percent of employees wish their manager communicated more frequently with them.
One and done meetings with managers or peers will leave your team disinterested in the process and may decrease their interest in growing with your company.
When leaders frequently check in with employees, they’re able to better understand where employees are in their development and follow up on any questions about how coaching can move goals and expectations forward.
After surveying our own team, we realized employees were missing out on more frequent check-ins from managers. So, rather than submitting everyone to staff meetings, we began meeting with employees one-on-one on a monthly basis (we called them ‘GOOD lunches’).
Together in these one-on-one meetings, managers and their direct reports discuss career and project goals, obstacles hindering their performance, opportunities for growth and advancement, and action steps to take before the next one-on-one meeting.
Each GOOD lunch provided our managers with key information to enhance employee engagement through coaching. Better understanding their team meant creating unique, personalized coaching strategies for each individual.
Effectively incorporating manager-to-employee and peer-to-peer coaching into your employee engagement strategy will help your team form tighter bonds, give even more in-depth feedback, and see a future with the company where they can continue growing and developing.
Dan Harris, Workplace Insights Analyst at Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day.