How to retain your talent through career coaching

If you, like many other businesses, you are struggling to retain your talent right now, then career coaching could be the answer. 

Why is it important to retain your people? 

According to news reports, job vacancies have hit a record high as employers continue to struggle to fill roles. In such a fast-changing job market, it’s no wonder organisations are focusing on why employee retention is important.   

Post pandemic, the right work-life blend is a priority for people. All work and no play aren’t appealing, and neither are lengthy commutes. Hybrid and remote working opportunities have given people more mobility and choice than ever. ONS data shows that more than three-quarters (78%) people said that being able to work from home gave them an ‘improved work-life balance’. By creating opportunities for your staff, you are future-proofing your organisation. However, we must be mindful of the challenges that hybrid and remote working brings, especially around employee learning and development. 

How does career coaching benefit organisations? 

Traditionally organisations might have thought about coaching or career development support to retain their top talent or develop people with high potential. But career coaching should be an opportunity for everyone in your organisation, not just the high-fliers. Even those who may not aspire to change roles or climb the ladder will feel valued with this kind of support.  

Many companies invest in learning and development programmes for managers and may even provide access to online digital learning platforms for employees. However, there is often a gap in the personalised career development support for the individual.  

Some line managers do this well, providing their team with career guidance and mentoring to ensure they are learning and developing, helping the team to progress their careers within the company. On the flip side, many other line managers are so busy managing the day job that team personal development time slips down their priority list.  

Of course, I’m an advocate for self-development and employees taking responsibility for their own learning, but if we don’t prioritise development time then employees are likely to leave rather than progressing internally.   

We all understand the fast pace of change and the need to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the workplace. It’s important to keep learning, topping up our knowledge with new technologies, evolving new ways of working and adapting quickly to different structures. Team members who were once experts, may now be lacking in key skills which can impact on your organisation’s success.  

In addition to skills, people need to know how to develop their career, whether this is: 

  • Support to think about the future changes that may impact their role  
  • Thinking about what their personal strengths and development areas are  
  • Exploring their career direction 
  • Guidance on their personal development plan (DPD)  

This is where career development support can help.  

Whether its group sessions or one-to-one career coaching or mentoring, investing in career development will help you: 

  • Raise aspirations 
  • Improve engagement 
  • Create a future pipeline for people to step up to the next level 
  • Pursue a sideways move to broaden skills/experience  
  • Deepen knowledge as a subject matter expert (if desired) 

If your employees feel valued, supported, and can see they have opportunities to develop and progress, it will keep them engaged, motivated to learn and less likely to be seeking opportunities elsewhere.  You’re also less likely to see employees quiet quitting because they feel valued and have the opportunity to grow.  

Richard Branson said something that all organisations should take note of: ”Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. Going this extra mile to give more personalised career support could be a great way to show your team how much you care about them. 

How does career coaching and mentoring benefit employees? 

There are many benefits to individuals taking part in career coaching and mentoring.  

Group sessions, can help provide employees with the understanding of career planning and tools to help manage their own career path and future development. From sessions exploring self-awareness, playing to strengths and PDPs, this can be a great way to ignite self-development and career ownership.   

One-to-one career coaching, works more deeply with individuals and their specific goals, helping them to think through their personal career challenges, explore options, opportunities and obstacles and focus on their future career plans.  

Coaching can give people a chance to spot other opportunities for development that they might not have considered. It allows them to think more broadly and creatively about how they can achieve their growth objectives and how to navigate different opportunities that may emerge outside of their plan.   

Some examples of how career coaching can be successful 

Through her employer, I worked with a client who was looking to progress in her career. During the career coaching, a new opportunity came up to work abroad for a year and open an overseas branch for her organisation. It was a big change and something she hadn’t considered before. The coaching gave her a confidential space with someone objective to work through her thoughts and feelings about the opportunity, discuss the possible advantages and risks along with the concerns she had about taking it.  

Having weighed everything up she embraced the opportunity and three years later she has decided to stay! It’s a great example of an agile modern day career plan and how we can pivot when new and exciting opportunities come our way.  

Another career coaching client aspired to become a director within her organisation. She recognised the need to gain experience at this level to help her progress. Through the coaching we explored what would help her to achieve this. She engaged a director-level mentor from outside her organisation but within the industry to benefit from their insight and wisdom.  

Because she let her company know her ambitions, they offered her a move to the US to get the director-level experience she needed to progress. She stepped out of her work division and comfort zone to do this, showing great courage to take this leap. Coaching provided a safe space to consider whether the opportunity was right and helped her to plan.  

These are just a few examples of how career coaching provided by companies can work to help retain talent. I have worked with many other people, focusing on building confidence to apply for promotion, preparing for internal development/assessment centres or interviews as well as self-awareness, identifying future goals, getting noticed, how to market yourself, and how to get credibility at senior level. 

Take the next steps 

When working with employers, I collaborate with other career coaches to provide solutions through Cube Learning and Development, the other company I’m a director of. It’s important for us to understand what you want to achieve from the career development support you plan to offer to your people.  

You may want to provide one-to-one for individuals that will benefit from some external support or provide some group sessions to support employees with their career development, or a combination of both. Career coaching and development can be adapted to both individuals and groups, depending on the situation. It’s a brilliant way to show you’re investing in your people, helping them to feel valued and more engaged. 

If you’re thinking about how to retain your talent through career coaching and development support, email me to find out how we can help.  

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash – Naassom Azevedo

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