Certain traits elevate a salesperson’s success. Through years of conducting personality assessments, The Omnia Group’s data points to 17 distinct types of salespeople made up of various personality traits. Given today’s environment, though, one characteristic stands out above all others, and that’s courage.
Sales has never been an easy job, and I think it is fair to say it’s even more challenging today. Let’s face it; many of us relied on face-to-face, in-person meetings to build rapport with key decision-makers. The conversations that occurred before and after the formal meeting, over drinks and dinner, and the people you could connect with just walking down a hallway of your client’s headquarters helped form a deeper understanding of the client’s culture, their daily norms. You were able to use that to forge deeper relationships that ultimately helped larger deals and client longevity.
In today’s environment, with no in-person meetings and limited networking opportunities, it’s feeling almost impossible to form these deeper connections. After all – how deep and wide can you go on a 60-minute call when we’re limited by bandwidth, attention spans, and home distractions. Based on the latest research, though, our clients don’t want this from us anyway. According to a recent McKinsey report, more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions — a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after lockdowns have ended. Safety is one reason, of course. But self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders, and arrange service. Customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience. Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products.
So why courage? Because committing to a career in sales has never been for the faint-hearted. And being a success in today’s environment is even harder. Let’s look at some of the realities:
Consider these stats:
So, our company and our families rely on us, we’ve placed a good share of our income at risk, and our buyers are more difficult to reach and connect with than ever before. Clients expect us to show up steeped in knowledge about their business and industry. They need us to be well versed in how our product will help them reach their goals. That’s always been what’s hard about sales—couple with today’s changing sales environment to find ways to do all of this differently and creatively. We’re using new technologies every day – because after all, we need to meet our customers where they are. If they want to use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, email, text, online chat, or any other modality, we must be prepared to navigate it instantly.
A career in sales can be lucrative and very rewarding – that’s probably why 1 in 10 of us across the world have committed to this career. Succeeding in sales in today’s business environment takes a new level of persistence, innovation, and endurance. It’s daunting and more difficult to do day in and day out when the odds feel stacked against us, as proven by the statistics above. To get up every day, try new things, and push through the obstacles – to put our necks on the line for our companies, our families, and ourselves takes courage.
Admittedly, it is often easier to draw on our courage when proven sales traits are also present. That’s where an assessment can help. Courageous salespeople understand how to tap into their competitive drive, natural resilience, and bold tenacity to navigate the new sales landscape before us.
Dictionary.com defines courage as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear, bravery.
I’m inspired by and like to combine that definition with what Franklin D. Roosevelt said about courage many years ago - “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” For me, helping a customer make better hiring decisions and increase their engagement and retention is worth pushing through the obstacles facing us today. That’s more important than the fear of rejection or having to struggle with new technologies.
I hope you’ll join me in courageously pressing through.
In organizations, we celebrate the sales team for bringing new business to the firm. After all, a company can’t survive for long without revenue. But, on the other side of many org charts sits the isolated, often forgotten, customer service team. This department is usually regarded as a cost center, rather than a company asset.
If you’re considering customer service as a money pit, think again. According to American Express, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company. Quality customer support is imperative for sales.
If your company sees service as a weight, you’re likely leaving revenue on the table and alienating customers. Invesp notes that investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. In fact, in 2019 nine percent of American consumers switched companies due to poor customer service, says New Voice Media.
For best results, both sales and service need to work in tandem to provide the best-in-class experience your customers deserve. Let’s explore how to foster a winning dynamic between the two teams.
Before we dive into strategy, let’s examine the true significance of your company’s customer service department. Although the perception often is that this team exists solely to put out complaint fires and appease customers, the reality is that they do so much more. Did you know, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps, reports RightNow.
Customer service is the front line for your business. They make or break the customer experience. Want more proof? New Voice Media also reports that the #1 reason customers switch to a new brand is that they feel unappreciated, while 78% of customers have backed out of a purchase due to poor customer experience.
Starting to see how customer service impacts sales? If you need more convincing, consider that consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company with outstanding customer service, reports American Express, and 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service, according to HubSpot Research.
When the customer service team is operating at peak efficiency, they do much more than resolve issues. They foster relationships with customers. They put smiles on their faces. And they leave a favorable lasting impression of your brand in their minds. All of this equals a high customer retention rate, which means higher revenues. Bain & Company quantified this in a recent report stating that increasing customer retention rates (i.e. keeping customers happy) by just 5% can increase profits between 25% and 95%!
And, if they have the right skill set, personality, and training, your customer service team can actually bring in new business, too. They’ll nimbly move from problem solver to cross-seller or upseller, which increases customer satisfaction -- and your profits. Essentially, they’ll become an extension of your sales team.
In short, the department is absolutely vital to your company’s longevity and growth.
It’s tough for customer service to shine when they’re in conflict with the sales department. And you want them to shine, because as many as 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience, according to a Segment Survey. Often selling on commission, your sales team is typically concerned with one thing and one thing only: closing the deal. This revenue-oriented drive can lead them to over-promise things to your customers. And, when the company can’t deliver, customer service is left holding the bag.
Over promising and under delivering comes with a whole host of problems for your customer service department. Those issues include:
And -- the detrimental impact to your customers can’t be overstated. When your company fails to serve them as promised, they’ll rightfully become angry and distrustful. Even worse, you’re likely to lose repeat business and, according to American Express, angry American customers are likely to share their negative experiences with about 15 people.
So, when sales and service are at odds, interdepartmental communication will be poor, job satisfaction will plummet, customer retention will worsen, and the company’s bottom line will suffer. If you can get them in sync, though, you’ll have a happy, tight-knit workforce that closes more deals and delights customers. So, how can you get the two departments on the same page?
As a leader, there are four key things you need to do to improve the interdepartmental dynamic:
Let’s look at each in turn.
The first place to look is your scorecard and your company metrics for success. Do sales and service match up? Are they working towards the same established goals? And, more importantly, do employee behaviors align with those stated success indicators?
For example, if customer service has a goal of responding to all inquiries within two business days, the sales team shouldn’t promise a same-day response. The two teams must act as one and present a clear and consistent message to customers. After all, they are both working towards the same ultimate goal of making the company successful.
Your company needs to make collaboration a normal, celebrated part of doing business that gets prioritized. Ideas and data should flow freely between the two departments. And everyone in the firm, including the sales team, should adopt the mantra that customer service is a mindset, not just a department. Bottom line: the lines of communication must stay open, and the once near-adversarial relationship should become more team-oriented.
To promote unity between the two groups, offer ample opportunities for team building. When sales and service get together in an informal but planned way, they’ll get to know each other as people and gain empathy for one another’s perspective. Sales may think twice about promising the moon to a customer just to make a sale when they know service could have to deal with customer disappointment down the line.
In addition, seeing each other perform their respective roles can be eye-opening. They’ll understand the other department’s challenges and gain respect for everything that goes into being successful in that position. Consider arranging cross-department job shadowing between sales and service at the time of hire - and on an ongoing basis to cement these new perspectives.
And, if appropriate, consider job swapping. An extroverted customer service representative with a competitive streak might enjoy being in sales for a day or two. And a detail-oriented sales associate may benefit from taking on a temporary customer service role. Just be sure you’re not setting your employees up to fail. If their personality doesn’t lend itself to the opposite role, this strategy isn’t a good fit for them - or your unsuspecting customers.
The best philosophies and attitudes don’t mean a thing if the actual company structure and business processes don’t support them. As a leader, you must provide the structure, tools, and resources your teams require to perform at their best. That could mean ensuring adequate communication systems exist (think interoffice messaging) or physically situating the departments closer together in the office to facilitate more face-to-face conversations. The key is to make collaboration as easy as possible.
If you want to better understand your team members and discover ways to help them function as a cohesive group, a Team Dynamic Report can help. Based on the results of our signature behavioral assessment, this report shows how likely each team member is to communicate with each other and reveals deeper insight into their individual strengths and weaknesses. The report will give you an action plan to facilitate collaboration, improve communication, and unify your team.
The report can be customized to fit your firm’s unique circumstances. Getting one is easy. Simply fill out a questionnaire and hop on a quick call with us, and we’ll do the rest!
Sales and service have long been at odds. But, the truth is -- they’re both playing for the same team! Sometimes, employees just need to be reminded of that. As a leader, you have the power and responsibility to foster a winning dynamic between the two groups. When you do, you’ll have an unstoppable, connected workforce that wows your customers and positions your company for long-term success.
Businesses are about people working in a collection of teams to deliver on your company’s promise. Your people make up the soul of your company. Team building unifies people, making them an unstoppable force. Companies with robust team building programs perform better and have a brighter future than those that do not. Organizations “with a soul” outperform the S&P 400 in terms of higher employee engagement and retention, better customer service, long-term profitability, and more than 8x return vs. S&P 400 10-year returns. (Josh Bersin, Simply Irresistible: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, April 2014)
So, how do you create such a plan? And how do you do so when our teammates aren’t all in one physical space? Before we get into how let’s talk about why it’s important to do this.
Before we get into the components you need for a world-class, modern team building program, let’s look at what one can do for your company. If your organization gets team-building right, here’s what you can expect:
Keep in mind that by 2025 Millennials will make up an estimated 75% of the worldwide workforce (Source: Forbes). This will influence many companies’ future corporate cultures and affect communication and collaboration. When considering whether investing in a team-building program is essential, consider that 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal (Source: The Economist). In comparison, 37% say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying with an employer (Source: Gusto).
Need more convincing? When those things are in place, you’ll:
Ready to get started on modernizing your team building program? Let’s go.
There are three main things that you must include in your team building program:
Together, these elements will foster a team that trusts each other, cares about one another, and works like a well-oiled machine.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these must-haves.
Extremely connected teams show a 21% increase in profitability. Staff who feel supported want to give their best and contribute to their company’s success. (Source: Gallup)
We’re all busy, but don’t discount the occasional non-work specific activities. These give your team the chance to get to know each other as people, not just colleagues. If you’re working virtually, consider a Lunch-and-Learn, a book club, or an after-work virtual Happy Hour with trivia, break out group challenges, and of course -- prizes are a must.
These activities build camaraderie. Interactive experiences create memories that build connections and give way to legendary stories shared across teams for years. These outside work experiences are also another way for people to get to know each other and see a different side of people, which helps build empathy. And, as the connection deepens, trust follows. When that trust is in place, team members will rely on each other, support each other when needed, feel happier, be less likely to burnout, and achieve results.
A side benefit of these activities is how you show up as a leader for your team. They get to see a different side of you too. Watching you struggle solving a problem or not getting out of an escape room so easily makes you appear a lot more human than you may in the weekly Sales Huddle. Also, these activities may shed light on talents among your team you haven’t discovered yet. They can expose natural strengths and tendencies that may not stand out in the daily work environment.
Events that let your employees blow off steam absolutely have their place. But so do activities that help your business and your employees’ professional development. As you fill your team-building program calendar, be sure to include opportunities for your team to level-up together. Team members can encourage one another, practice new skills amongst themselves, and hold each other accountable.
Learning experiences in a team environment create an opportunity to mix up groups and build collaboration across teams who may not work together daily or only communicate through email. At The Omnia Group, we conduct a monthly learning lab with a variety of topics. We invite guest speakers from industry leaders and clients who give us great insights into their implementations. We watch videos together on topics such as building empathy and active listening. We also encourage people to get together in smaller groups to focus on joint learning that involves building their technical skills around Microsoft Office products and collaboration tools.
When you make professional development a priority, your organization’s collective knowledge pool deepens. You allow people to come together and share experiences they wouldn’t necessarily have in just a daily work atmosphere. Systems and processes will inevitably improve. And you’ll see those results in dollars and cents. You’ll also have a team that’s grateful for the investment you’ve made in them. That engagement bolsters the soul of your organization and your bottom line too.
Even the most well-meaning people and skilled professionals experience problems with one another from time to time. Your team building program should provide an open forum to address these issues as they arise. Common concerns that may need to be worked out include ineffective communication, broken processes, production bottlenecks, and team conflicts. These issues left unaddressed build stress, leading to low morale or, even worse -- burnout and turnover.
80% of US employees feel stressed due to ineffective company communication. (Source: Dynamic Signal) CareerBuilder sites that 61% of workers experience burnout, and as many as 31% of workers admit to suffering from extreme stress. A company sharing duties, responsibilities, and openly problem-solving can distribute the workload more evenly to boost productivity while relieving employees' stress.
Create “safe” forums where teams can come together to openly communicate and share where they are experiencing breakdowns. Consider taking your teams through learning programs that cover how to give and receive feedback in ways that lessen defensiveness and create openness to hear all sides. Although you can structure your forum in many ways, it must be a safe, cooperative place for all team members. The emphasis of your discussions should be on what’s happening -- not who may be to blame. Depending on the nature and depth of the problem, it may be worth bringing in a guest expert to facilitate a productive, relationship-oriented solution. These kinds of sessions, when conducted productively, not only help build team collaboration, but core problems get addressed, and innovations can arise. Some of the best ideas can come from these sessions -- new product ideas, process modernizations, and client delivery improvements that take your organization to a whole new level.
Each team member has a distinct personality. They bring different strengths, values, and worldviews to the table. Behavioral assessments unlock that valuable intel so you can craft a team building program that’s tailored specifically to your group. Your program will be enormously successful because it captures and honors the unique makeup of your team.
Businesses with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, says a ClearCompany report. Our assessments and behavioral insights can strengthen your company’s communication strategy and company culture, resulting in happier employees who openly communicate, become more productive and profitable, and reduce the likelihood of turnover.
Omnia offers a signature behavioral assessment that gets you the information you need in a snap. It’s fast and simple for employees to take part in, and you’ll receive instant, easy-to-digest results. If you want even more insight, we can also supply a deeper analysis. This, by the way, is another great activity you can use to build collaboration, develop empathy, and open communication across your team. In other words -- this is a great team-building activity and very easy to do virtually.
Strong teams are the cornerstone, the soul, of a thriving business, but they don’t happen overnight. Your employees want to be a part of a healthy, thriving team. To get a unified group's benefits, you’ll need to create and implement a custom team building program. To give that program the best chance to succeed in today’s modern business world, you must base it on your employees' deep understanding.
97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team affects a task or project (Source: Mckinsey), so imagine what the right insights into your team could do!
Get your program started the right way from the get-go. Contact us today!
In the current times, you may have had to furlough or lay off employees. Now that you’re able to hire again, you’re considering a rehire. You find yourself weighing the pros and cons of bringing previous employees back to your team. Will this decision be a good move, or is it better to start again?
The fact is, it depends on the specific person you’re reconsidering, the position in question, the culture of your company, and the nature of the former employee’s departure the first time around. Of course, the employee must meet any rehire eligibility requirements, usually excluding dismissal for cause or violation of ethical or behavioral conduct rules.
The good news is, it is entirely possible for the rehire process to offer a solution where everyone benefits. While HR directors and managers once considered rehiring a former employee to be a bad idea, times are unprecedented and have changed more than anyone could foresee. Many HR directors and hiring managers come to see the potential benefits of rehiring former employees.
If employees see their employer is actively working to bring back talented people, it can have a positive effect on morale and engagement, especially if the rehire was well-liked and respected. Rehiring high-performing and high-potential staff can also bring productive teams back together and lay a solid foundation for trust and confidence.
Unless the employee has been gone for a long time, it is unlikely that they will need to receive much in the way of retraining. This saves time when it comes to onboarding costs and allows you to slot the rehire employee into their position with minimal disruption. Even if some training and development are needed to support them in a new role, the time and cost involved should be much less than training an outsider. Previous assessment records and development plans might even be available as well.
Another advantage of hiring past employees is that there are few, if any, recruiting costs. Since the person already has a track record within the organization, employers have a good idea of what the employee can do, so they don’t have to find someone new and recruit them. Rehiring past employees saves on the frustration of trying out a new employee and finding they’re simply not what they seemed.
Another advantage of rehiring employees is that they already know the procedures and the culture within the business. Compared with a fresh hire, they have the advantage of knowing what goes on during meetings, how the workflow is handled, and how performance is assessed. They also know why some employees or managers do one thing one way and why others do it another way. The procedures are familiar, enabling them to get up and running fast, which is a big benefit to your company.
Another benefit of rehiring employees is that they will be more engaged and committed to the organization upon their return. Many companies find that these employees show a more positive attitude after rehiring. In most cases, that’s because they’ve seen how other companies run and worked with other people, which has given them a chance to know a good thing when they see it. These employees tend to be more appreciative of the company they work for and the team members they work with. They also bring a new perspective with them that could lead to significant changes in an organization.
On the other hand, rehiring isn’t always a great idea. There are a few key reasons why sometimes it doesn’t make sense to bring a former employee back into the fold.
While performance is obviously important, if an employee’s behavior or personality caused friction within a team or made other employees unhappy, the chances are good that you’re better off without them. There’s a popular adage that people don’t quit jobs; they quit managers. Bringing back someone who might adversely affect retention or create a toxic work environment is just asking for trouble.
There are many practical reasons why it makes sense to rehire a former employee, but just because it will be cheaper and faster doesn’t mean they’re the best choice to fill a position. If a new person is a better long-term hire for the organization, the added challenge of bringing them in might be worth it. No one wants to miss out on a future high-performer just because they didn’t want to bother with onboarding them.
Organizations can change dramatically in a short period of time. There’s a good chance that a previous employee could be walking back into a work situation that isn’t at all like the one they left. That would negate many of the benefits of rehiring an employee, so you should always consider how much things have changed when considering bringing someone back into the fold.
If you choose to hire a former employee, clearly communicate your reasons for doing so to your existing team. Also, brief the returning employee on the company’s current situation and set your expectations. If the person originally left for a specific reason, be sure that the situation has been addressed to avoid losing them a second time around. And finally, make sure to follow up regularly with the returning employee to make sure they are adjusting well.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could change our personalities at will? We could reduce conflict, increase communication, and improve productivity with little effort in this magical scene.
As employers, in addition to the above, wouldn’t it be grand if we could seamlessly coach our employees to achieve greater career success by changing their styles of behavior?
Of course, it would. The good news is there's a way to enable and coach different personality styles that actually work. It requires a quick and easy assessment to get started and a willingness to modify coaching and leadership techniques based on personality styles.
Employee behavioral assessments are helpful to understand the personality traits of job applicants and current employees. This behavioral / personality assessment makes it possible to uncover an individual's deeper motivators, preferences, and behaviors, plus how those traits will affect their performance in a particular role.
Sometimes individuals naturally evolve over the years to become more effective in their work and personal lives. And sometimes, we can help individuals consciously develop the characteristics they need in a given job. However, certain traits are easier to change than others.
With insights gleaned from a behavioral assessment, you can better predict job compatibility by gauging an individual's similarity or dissimilarity to the duties and personality patterns required to be successful in the job, your work culture, and with their peers and supervisor. Behavioral often is a bigger factor in fit than skill sets. Skills can be developed and improved. Some personality characteristics cannot.
Researchers have identified five characteristics that largely govern how our personalities function. These “big five” factors are generally believed to be fairly constant throughout our lives and may be attributed to genetics and the environment.
In concert with this finding, researchers at Stanford University propose that change is possible over our lifetimes. Even more encouraging is a finding that change tends to be for the better. But note that scientists disagree with this proposition. Some observe that while change may occur, it is likely to be nuanced.
1. Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. extravagant/careless). People are likely to improve in this area throughout their lives; with maturity comes greater conscientiousness. We develop this trait most strikingly in our twenties as we take on adulthood's work and family responsibilities.
2. Extroversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Extroversion is the trait of being energized by interacting with people; introverts are energized, in contrast, through thought and other solitary activities. However, extroverts may perform quite competently and even excel when working alone, and introverts may socialize effectively.
It has been observed that women may need somewhat less social support as they age, but men stay more constant in their extroversion orientation. Both genders may improve their social skills through experience and practice.
3. Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/callous). Our abilities to get along and emotionally support others may improve as we age. The thirties and forties are the life decades most apt to show development in this aspect of personality.
4. Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Openness is defined as a willingness to try new ideas and experiences. This trait may decline somewhat with age. As we grow older, we may become more set in our ways. Still, there is a great deal of variation among people at all stages of life, and we are not doomed to become inflexible over time.
5. Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident). Neuroticism is our tendency to worry and sense instability. Women are more likely to somewhat overcome this trait over the years relative to men.
What you can change. . . and what you may not be able to change.
While these five personality traits are the cornerstones of personality development, many other specific competencies are amenable to measurement via behavioral assessments, which can be changed. The extent of change that is possible varies by trait.
Our pre-employment / behavioral personality assessment is based on the use of an adjective checklist. It’s a fast, unintimidating, unbiased, and accurate way to get an individual to reveal their natural behaviors that might not be readily apparent on their resume or in their interviews.
This concept of measuring a person’s behavior is called psychometrics, which defines non-pathological behavior. Omnia breaks this down into four key groups:
Assertiveness: The need to make things happen.
Communication Style: The need to work with people versus the need for proof.
Pace: The speed at which a person operates.
Structure: The degree of dependence on rules.
The Omnia behavioral assessment is known for its easy-to-read, easy-to-interpret eight-column bar graph that displays these four behaviors as pairs of columns because every trait has the opposite. Just one assessment and eight columns will give you all the information you need to make your next hire successful!
The competencies that are the easiest to alter are generally those that are primarily relevant to the work environment. Coaching and training can help the willing student progress in oral and written communications, political savvy, chairing effective meetings, planning, goal setting, and customer service.
At the other end of the “changeability” spectrum are those characteristics that are most resistant to change. Intrinsic intelligence is difficult to improve, though book learning is, of course, possible. Creativity, analytical skills, integrity, energy, assertiveness, and even ambition remain unyielding to training and coaching.
In the middle are certain behaviors that may be susceptible to change, but the process is not easy. These competencies include listening, negotiation, change leadership, being a team leader, and conflict management.
All in all, it is important to understand our own personality traits and associated competencies as well as these characteristics in those we employ. Acknowledging how traits vary in their amenability to change helps us determine how to help employees contribute most effectively to the workplace and select (and achieve) appropriate career goals.
Every organization wants effective, engaged employees. In fact, employees want to feel engaged and effective in their workplace. How does one keep employees engaged and identify and address issues before they become real problems?
As you've probably experienced, employees are more likely to leave an organization when they don’t feel engaged and they’re not comfortable performing their job. That’s understandable because disengaged workers don’t feel like a part of the organization, which causes a breakdown in communication and productivity beyond one employee.
Another common concern is if an employee finds their job too difficult to perform, they won’t be confident in their abilities. They will likely be fearful that they could be disciplined, demoted, or even fired for poor job performance issues, which erodes productivity further.
However, there is good news.
When managers provide effective employee mentoring, training, and coaching, employees become inspired, motivated, and confident. It’s an obvious win-win! And it doesn't have to be difficult to get started.
According to the Harvard Business Review, coaching helps employees and companies achieve the following: Overcome performance problems, Strengthen employee skills; Boost productivity levels; Develop talent; Make better use of resources; Improve retention.
Overcome performance problems – By identifying areas that need improvement and providing training (including demos, one-on-one or team practice presentations, and playbooks), managers can help employees improve job performance.
Strengthen employee skills – Coaching provides employees with an opportunity to learn valuable skills that will make them more comfortable performing their jobs. It also enables to coach to understand which skills may need to be improved or refreshed and enables the coach to develop a continuing education plan.
Boost productivity levels - Once employees become more efficient and proficient in performing tasks, they can assume more responsibilities, which increases their value to the organization. Regular status updates and one-on-ones can alert the coach to new areas of interest or problems to maintain momentum.
Develop talent – Creating a pool of competent employees makes them more confident to seek leadership positions. It also strengthens internal communication and bonds within teams to ensure their working together toward common goals.
Make better use of resources – Informal coaching is less expensive than formal training sessions. It can also be more valuable as it's more personal and strengthens employees' feeling of "belonging" in the company culture.
Improve retention – Coaching encourages employees are more confident and feel more engaged. They’ve developed skills that can be used in career advancement, feel that their manager and the company support them, and experience pride and satisfaction in being competent to perform their job. As a result, they are more likely to be loyal to the company.
For coaching to be effective, you need a plan. It should include a well-thought-out process that fits the behavioral insights of your employee. That's where assessments come in.
When you understand what an employee needs to improve upon and what they want to accomplish, it's a lot easier to coach. Fortunately, development assessments can provide actionable data detailing what motivates employees to learn, what gaps exist in their natural aptitudes, and what learning and coaching formats are most effective for them. This allows you to build a customized development process for each employee that sets them up for learning success.
Behavioral and cultural fit assessments are also valuable for telling you what environments and situations are the best matches for employees. This can be especially valuable when putting new teams together because it can head off potential conflict sources and help put people in the roles where they’re most likely to be successful. The ability to provide insightful information makes these assessments critical to successful employee retention strategies.
According to Scott Williams of the Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University, there are several steps included in effective coaching:
1. Put the employee at ease. This is a vital first step in the coaching session, especially if the coaching results from poor performance.
2. Discover what the employee already knows. Once determined, this can serve as a foundation for new information and correct any erroneous data that the employee may have.
3. Present information or demonstrate work methods.
4. Repeat the presentation of information or demonstrate the work methods again. Repetition increases the chances of understanding and retaining the information.
5. Evaluate learning. Test the employee to determine if they understand the information that has been presented or if they can perform the skill as demonstrated.
6. Provide feedback. Let the employee know if they have successfully learned what was presented. If not, go over what still needs some work.
7. Correct. Provide or demonstrate the correct answers or procedure again.
8. Evaluate job performance. Periodically check to see if they are correctly implementing the knowledge or methods. Smith recommends gradually increasing the time frame for checking on the employee, with the employee's eventual goal to monitor their own performance.
9. Reward. The employee should be praised or given some other reward for mastering the area that required coaching.
Coaching is not the same as counseling. Wright says that “can’t do” problems require coaching, while “won’t do” problems require counseling. Won’t do problems refer to such issues as the employee’s attitude or fears that may be preventing them from performing their task. In this case, counseling is the first step that must be taken to resolve the won’t do issues first before providing coaching to the employee.
*Updated from a 4/22/15 post.