It was back in Paris in 2007 that the seed was planted. It was a seed that would flourish over the years and it wasn’t until about 2011 that I was able to give true meaning to the conversation that had taken place in which that very seed was sown. Back then I was in charge of setting up a Translation department from scratch, recruiting talent, implementing processes and technology, winning major contracts, designing corporate objectives, creating a vendor pool etc. You name it, we were wearing all sorts of caps. We never took our eye off the ball – we knew what our goal was and we were determined to reach it, no matter what – we had our timeline set out and a tactical & strategic plan to get us there. We were to become one of the better, most trusted providers in the French Compliance LSP Market and there was no stopping us! The team expanded as we recruited more people and our vision never changed.
At that time, a conversation with my then boss went something like this “Your recruitment is spot on, you’ve managed to find some really talented individuals – what’s your plan for retaining them? How are you going to keep them engaged and loyal?”
Retention plan? Engagement plan? We have fizz on Fridays and massages throughout the season, what more does he want? The work is being done, the customers are (for the most part) satisfied and the employees are happy to be here (or so they seem).
Fast forward a few years and plenty more recruitment challenges and headaches later and I truly understood what a robust people development strategy was. At the very core of this is Employee Engagement. In February 2012, the findings of a report “Unlocking Britain’s Potential” were published. Commissioned by the Government to understand what actions UK businesses might take to unlock the potential of its workforce, the report highlighted that the engagement and development of employees will be a key factor in supporting UK economic growth. The research identified that 1 in 4 employers see engaging/motivating staff as a key business challenge and just 10% of employers rated themselves as excellent at bringing out the best in their people.
In fact, much of the work we support businesses with today focuses on implementing a robust employee engagement strategy. Our experience shows that this needs to focus on four things:
1. Belonging – as part of your strategy you must have a plan to make sure employees understand and feel part of the company’s values and corporate objectives.
2. Support – the quality of line management support needs to be a priority. Investing in coaching, leadership development is a must, not a nice to have.
3. Voice – ensure that as part of your strategy, your team feel heard. There are various forums for implementing this.
4. Trust – nurture trust between leadership and employees. Your strategy must be built on a foundation of trust in your workforce and likewise trust in you as a leader. Trust is earned not a given!
Having a robust Employee engagement strategy can take away a lot of the pain we see in business dysfunction today. It is a commitment to the organisation and its corporate objectives that goes beyond the day to day job satisfaction. When an employee is engaged, they are completely bought in to the company values and the overall vision. Engagement is something the employee has to offer in return for their dedication to the firm. Coaching is just one part of an Employee Engagement Strategy but there are other fundamental elements.
So, how can coaching help with Employee Engagement?
Traditionally, coaching has been reserved for executives and senior leadership teams as a means to develop them further and improve business performance from the top, down. This certainly has its merits. But accessible coaching to all employees can only promote further business performance, be that, to the bottom line, in terms of employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction or compliance related activity. At the heart of a high performing culture in the workplace is a solid, open minded coaching mentality that strives to develop the potential of individuals and focus their abilities accordingly. It gives employees confidence to perform, not just against company KPIs but against personal growth related goals. Employees are more confident, have higher self esteem, are bolder in their decision making and more assertive in their actions. Ultimately, they are engaged!
If you would like to hear more about the other fundamental elements to a robust employee engagement plan, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or visit our website at www.mindsetleadership.co.uk.