By Varnika Garg, Associate Product Manager

Workplace dynamics change constantly for employees. New situations and challenges at work are common occurrences that can make employees feel stressed and worn out. The pandemic has only made the situation worse, with many employees finding themselves working in silos and feeling even more distanced from their teams and managers. 

But if you ask anyone, whenever faced with a challenge, most people would prefer reaching out to a colleague for help. This is often due to the close bonds that people build with their colleagues/peers at work. 70% of employees say having friends at their job is the most crucial element to a happy working life.

To get more insights into this, we at Numly conducted a quick poll on LinkedIn running for about a week, with the following question:

If you need expertise and do not know who to ask, what are your top methods to find the right person?

  • Ask manager for recommendation
  • Colleague for recommendations
  • Ask during a virtual event
  • Search via people locator tool

Results:

And here are the results, and they were not quite surprising!

With about 46% votes to “Asking a colleague for recommendations”, it is clearly evident that people do value peer relationships and would like to reach out to them when they are stuck and need expertise.

Takeaways:

Peer-to-peer relationships or Peer Coaching is evolving as an essential process for every organization. There are some real and tangible benefits of enabling your employees to interact and solve problems. Helping your workforce develop a close relationship with each other not only prevents them from feeling isolated and unheard, it is also a great way to improve your organization’s engagement levels. 

Some benefits of Peer Coaching are:

  • Increase in productivity and performance
  • Improved team morale
  • Boost in employee retention
  • Increase in camaraderie and engagement

For the current generation, having a well-connected network is highly important. Employees are keen to find new ways to seek and connect with others in their field to seek guidance and knowledge on critical skills development needed for their personal career growth. Organizations that are conducive to create such a trustworthy environment for their employees are highly sought after. 

Solution:

Having understood the importance of Peer Coaching, the biggest question is, how to enable it at your organization?

Numly offers an AI-enhanced platform – NumlyEngage™, that enables Peer Coaching as an extension of eLearning, making it possible for organizations to tap into employees’ hard and soft skills and empower them to coach each other in a structured manner, while leveraging third-party learning content, expert coaches and built-in, AI-enabled coaching programs tailored for all corporate functional groups such as Sales, Customer Success, R&D/Engineering, Women Leaders, New-hires, New Managers, etc. 

NumlyEngage™ helps employees of an organization to connect with each other on specific skills and coach each other in a systematic manner, guided by AI-generated recommendations and tips and content. in turn, organizations will get to experience accelerated revenue, increased performance, and improved employee engagement, especially in the post-COVID-19 era of Working-From-Home (WFH).

Leverage the power of Peer Coaching today! Get a live demo to discover how NumlyEngage™ can help you.

How to Be a Standout Leader During Times of Uncertainty

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Attractive as it might sound; remote working has led to collective burnout among employees.

Along with the fear of the pandemic, the loss of connection with colleagues, the fear of losing jobs, the economic downturn, and the unstable socio-economic environment has added to the employees’ stress. Add that to the blurring lines between personal and professional lives and the pressure of proving productivity, and we have a perfect recipe for an upcoming disaster.

According to a survey by FlexJobs and Mental Health America, 75% of employees are experiencing burnout at work. 40% are specifically feeling it during the pandemic.

What employees need right now is not a manager who is focused solely on getting work done.

They need a leader who will reassure them and instill confidence in them that they can tide over these uncertain times.

What organizations need right now is a standout leader who will not just innovate but also inspire employees by being compassionate and leading from the front.

Let’s look at some qualities that a standout leader must possess. 

How to Be a Standout Leader in Times of Uncertainty

Be a mentor instead of a manager

The uncertain scenario is likely to make employees anxious. They might have several questions about the future of their career, the right path to achieve career goals, how to grow in the organization, etc. They need a reliable person who has the experience and has weathered several ups and downs in the industry to give sound and unbiased advice. They need a mentor who will understand their aspirations and coach on how to achieve them. While thinking about productivity and company goals, a standout leader focuses on helping employees achieve their goals. A highly motivated employee will automatically be able to achieve company goals too. 

Read: Train Managers to Become Better Coaches

Adopt an infinite mindset

Author Simon Sinek first professed the theory of infinite mindset. In his book called ‘The Infinite Game’, Sinek discusses two types of mindsets – the finite mindset and the infinite mindset. The finite mindset is apt for games like chess and football, where the rules are set, and the endpoint is clear. There is a clear distinction between winners and losers. But in the business world, leaders need to have an infinite mindset. That’s because the rules will change depending upon the environment, there will be no endpoints, and there is no winner or loser. The business is just ahead or behind in the competition. An infinite mindset will help organizations to build a sustainable business and constantly innovate to thrive in the future. In the current times, that’s what is expected from a standout leader. 

Encourage employees to upskill and future-proof themselves

Organizations have started to realize the importance of digital transformation and are increasingly using automation and other next-gen technologies to increase accuracy and productivity and to decrease overhead expenses. A standout leader will predict this change and plan ways to future-proof the employees. They understand that an employee can thrive only if they upskill themselves. They will have one-to-one discussions to understand the strength and limitations of the employees and design a personalized training map to ensure that they are updated with the latest know-how of the industry. 

Read: The Missing Piece in Reskilling Initiatives 

Improve employee engagement through personalized conversation

The absence of physical connection and water-cooler moments has led to low morale among employees. It’s important to engage employees, so they feel valued and contribute actively to the growth of the organization. 

Highly engaged employees are 480% more likely to stay committed to the organization. 

True leaders will find ways to engage actively with employees. They will not see it as a drill. They will have a 1:1 personalized, two-way conversation with employees to understand their aspirations, goals, roadblocks, and coach them on ways to achieve it. They will leverage technology to track and measure the outcome of coaching. 

Make employees feel safe by boosting their confidence

Employees are understandably worried about what lies ahead for them in the future. It is up to  leaders to step in and make employees feel safe. They will listen to the concerns and not dismiss them as irrational fears. Through personalized coaching and continuous communication, they will boost the employees’ confidence and make them feel safe at the workplace. 

Be empathetic to the needs of employees

Apart from being an employee, a person also dons multiple hats such as that of a parent or a caregiver. With the lines between work and family time blurring and employees suffering from burnout, it’s time for leaders to understand the challenges that employees face while working remotely and find ways to support them through tough times. They will lend them a patient hearing to ensure that they feel heard and valued in the organization. 

Conclusion

It’s been more than several months since the pandemic hit the world. Employees are quickly adapting to the new normal. As they traverse through the challenges of working from home and fighting the fears of the pandemic and financial losses, leaders have to create innovative solutions to prevent burnout and engage employees. 

Solutions like NumlyEngage are designed to help leaders leverage the power of coaching to enhance employee engagement and productivity, and reduce attrition!

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Attractive as it might sound; remote working has led to collective burnout among employees.

Along with the fear of the pandemic, the loss of connection with colleagues, the fear of losing jobs, the economic downturn, and the unstable socio-economic environment has added to the employees’ stress. Add that to the blurring lines between personal and professional lives and the pressure of proving productivity, and we have a perfect recipe for an upcoming disaster.

According to a survey by FlexJobs and Mental Health America, 75% of employees are experiencing burnout at work. 40% are specifically feeling it during the pandemic.

What employees need right now is not a manager who is focused solely on getting work done.

They need a leader who will reassure them and instill confidence in them that they can tide over these uncertain times.

What organizations need right now is a standout leader who will not just innovate but also inspire employees by being compassionate and leading from the front.

Let’s look at some qualities that a standout leader must possess. 

How to Be a Standout Leader in Times of Uncertainty

Be a mentor instead of a manager

The uncertain scenario is likely to make employees anxious. They might have several questions about the future of their career, the right path to achieve career goals, how to grow in the organization, etc. They need a reliable person who has the experience and has weathered several ups and downs in the industry to give sound and unbiased advice. They need a mentor who will understand their aspirations and coach on how to achieve them. While thinking about productivity and company goals, a standout leader focuses on helping employees achieve their goals. A highly motivated employee will automatically be able to achieve company goals too. 

Read: Train Managers to Become Better Coaches

Adopt an infinite mindset

Author Simon Sinek first professed the theory of infinite mindset. In his book called ‘The Infinite Game’, Sinek discusses two types of mindsets – the finite mindset and the infinite mindset. The finite mindset is apt for games like chess and football, where the rules are set, and the endpoint is clear. There is a clear distinction between winners and losers. But in the business world, leaders need to have an infinite mindset. That’s because the rules will change depending upon the environment, there will be no endpoints, and there is no winner or loser. The business is just ahead or behind in the competition. An infinite mindset will help organizations to build a sustainable business and constantly innovate to thrive in the future. In the current times, that’s what is expected from a standout leader. 

Encourage employees to upskill and future-proof themselves

Organizations have started to realize the importance of digital transformation and are increasingly using automation and other next-gen technologies to increase accuracy and productivity and to decrease overhead expenses. A standout leader will predict this change and plan ways to future-proof the employees. They understand that an employee can thrive only if they upskill themselves. They will have one-to-one discussions to understand the strength and limitations of the employees and design a personalized training map to ensure that they are updated with the latest know-how of the industry. 

Read: The Missing Piece in Reskilling Initiatives 

Improve employee engagement through personalized conversation

The absence of physical connection and water-cooler moments has led to low morale among employees. It’s important to engage employees, so they feel valued and contribute actively to the growth of the organization. 

Highly engaged employees are 480% more likely to stay committed to the organization. 

True leaders will find ways to engage actively with employees. They will not see it as a drill. They will have a 1:1 personalized, two-way conversation with employees to understand their aspirations, goals, roadblocks, and coach them on ways to achieve it. They will leverage technology to track and measure the outcome of coaching. 

Make employees feel safe by boosting their confidence

Employees are understandably worried about what lies ahead for them in the future. It is up to  leaders to step in and make employees feel safe. They will listen to the concerns and not dismiss them as irrational fears. Through personalized coaching and continuous communication, they will boost the employees’ confidence and make them feel safe at the workplace. 

Be empathetic to the needs of employees

Apart from being an employee, a person also dons multiple hats such as that of a parent or a caregiver. With the lines between work and family time blurring and employees suffering from burnout, it’s time for leaders to understand the challenges that employees face while working remotely and find ways to support them through tough times. They will lend them a patient hearing to ensure that they feel heard and valued in the organization. 

Conclusion

It’s been more than several months since the pandemic hit the world. Employees are quickly adapting to the new normal. As they traverse through the challenges of working from home and fighting the fears of the pandemic and financial losses, leaders have to create innovative solutions to prevent burnout and engage employees. 

Solutions like NumlyEngage are designed to help leaders leverage the power of coaching to enhance employee engagement and productivity, and reduce attrition!

By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO

While calculating the value of an employee is a complex task since they are unlike any other asset, we are aware of the price tag on the loss of an employee. 

Studies show that replacing a key person in an organization costs between 70% to 200% of the individual’s compensation. Couple this with the rise of the purpose-driven employee, and we know that the employees today are not driven by salaries and fancy perks anymore. 

So, if pool tables and office parties no longer make the cut, how should organizations invest in their most valuable assets to ensure a healthy return on investment? This becomes even more pertinent in today’s day as we enter a new world of work, a world ushered in because of the COVID-19 pandemic where distributed teams and remote working are the new normal. 

Also Read: Annual Office Parties are NOT a Replacement for Purpose-Led Engagement for Women and Millennials

Navigate the productivity chasm

The battle with productivity is not a new one. Organizations have been focused on investing in their physical and technological and tools infrastructure to help employees remain productive at work. However, the need to be productive is also personal. While organizations have to focus on creating an enabling environment that fosters productivity, it also has to help employees understand what hinders their productivity. 

There is no singular productivity style. There is no universal productivity impediment that impacts every single person in an organization the same way. Since people are essentially different, organizations have to help their employees discover their productivity patterns and factors that impact and impede their productivity. They also have to give them access to skilled and experienced senior resources who can coach them through productivity challenges and become more invested, focused, planned, and methodical.  

Also Read: Engaged Employees Are Driven by Shared Values and Vision

Invest in personal growth 

The change in the workplace demographic has brought about a big change in what your employees care about and value. The millennials now make up the majority of the workforce, and for them, purpose trumps money. While salaries and perks remain attractive, these are gradually being seen as cosmetic perks. 

Studies show that employees who feel they are not growing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave. What the employees want is to see the organization invested in their personal growth.

How can organizations achieve this? Organizations have to become more focused on identifying high-performing individuals. However, what organizations have to do more is to invest in developing a ‘growth mindset’ – a mindset that believes that every individual has the potential for growth and greatness. Managers who have this mindset have more high-performing teams than managers who don’t. This is simply because people need someone to believe in them authentically. 

Authenticity does not come in the absence of clarity. Hence, all managers and leaders of the organization need granular insights into the skill sets of the employees. However, along with the technical skills, they need clarity into the behavior and power skills needs of their teams. Needless to say, this information has to be based on data and not the proverbial gut feel that many organizations have been (unsuccessfully) banking on. 

This helps in designing well-thought-out, clear, contextual, personalized, and relevant growth plans for employees, one that helps the organization develop individuals to fill the leadership pipeline with high-potential employees.

Foster a healthy and inclusive company culture 

It is the organizational culture that drives employee engagement and employee experience. 

If organizations want a productive and highly-engaged workforce, they have to create a company culture that supports that. Organizations have to become more intentional in building a healthy and inclusive work culture. 

Building such a work culture often demands looking at the unique needs of the workforce. It involves evaluating the diversity initiatives at hand as diversity and inclusiveness become essential cogs to build an authentic organization. It also demands organizations to do more than conducting day-long training sessions to educate the workforce on the challenges of their peers like women, minority communities, or seniors. 

To build such a work culture where equality, fairness, and empathy reign, organizations have to focus on building the EQ of the organization leaders. Coaching them to understand and feel the challenges and struggles of the workforce helps bring about meaningful change in their attitudes and beliefs. It also helps them draw policies and processes that create a more enabling and nurturing work environment that is characterized by its engaged and productive workforce. 

By making mentoring and coaching as a part of the culture-building exercise, organizations help employees also become more invested in their own growth story. These connections help them navigate the challenges of professional life and help them reach their professional and personal goals. 

High productivity, discretionary effort, and innovation then become by-products of these efforts, an automatic consequence.  

Also Read: The Mentoring Games and the Battlefield Called the Future of Work

In Conclusion

If we give a cursory glance at retention studies, it is easy to agree on what makes an employee stay in an organization – a chance to learn and grow, a healthy work environment, and recognition and respect. All of these falls under the ‘psychological ownership’ umbrella – and since psychological ownership is a behavioral trait, organizations have to focus on coaching and mentoring to bring about such behavioral change.  

It is clear that organizational leaders have to run at full sprint to keep up with and stay ahead of the compelling and competitive business landscape. For this, they need the support of their human capital – their single-most valuable asset that takes them towards growth and innovation. 

The best companies across the world have realized the value such an attitude brings. Richard Branson, for example, has gone ahead and built an organizational culture that places the employees first and has been reaping its rewards. 

Making the right investments in employees, understanding their needs, growing a culture that is inclusive and safe, and investing in building the power skills of his people leads to resilient, strong, creative, and innovative organizations. And it is in these organizations, where the employee is motivated to put in the discretionary effort, that eventually separates ‘good’ from ‘great’. 

If we look at a company balance sheet, we find the ‘book value’ of the organization consisting of tangible assets. However, along with tangible assets, it is time to focus on the intangible assets of the organization. The intangible assets comprise entirely of the human capital. It is this capital that contributes to and determines the success or failure of the business. Perhaps listing human capital as an asset and not a liability on the balance sheet will bring about a strategic shift in how we treat and engage with it. 

 

If recruiting and retaining top talent is on your agenda, you need Numly™ – an AI-Enhanced Coaching Platform. Get a demo today

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

As Zig Ziglar, the famous American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, has famously said, ‘You don’t build a business. You build people and people build the business.’ 

Employees are critical assets that hugely affect the success or the failure of the organization. And their engagement in organizational operations, as well as its cultural perpetuation, is critical. Hiring talent is hard, but retaining talent is harder. 

In fact, more than 60% of the companies in a survey said retention was harder than hiring. And employee engagement defines by and large, for how long the employees will stick with the organization.

Today, around 35% of the workforce alone in the US belongs to the millennial generation, and a similar trend is there globally. Millennials in the workplace are notoriously infamous for being job hoppers. While this generalization might be far-fetched, it cannot be denied that millennials have a shorter attention span and crave for change, engagement, and feedback, more than any other generation. 

Read more: Does your Employee Engagement Strategy Drive Consistent and Multi-Touch Interactions

And to engage the millennial and Gen Z employees, who are the future of the workforce, is challenging yet imperative. As organizations implement several policies and infrastructural changes to make the ‘workplace’ appealing to the millennials and the Gen-Z, one of the most undervalued employee engagement hacks is coaching. 

 

Importance of coaching

Corporate coaching is often perceived as an ‘add-on’ or an ‘employee-benefit’ and is most commonly restricted to two layers of the workforce – freshers and leaders. But the organizational workforce is highly diverse, and coaching can be immensely helpful in driving engagement across the entire workforce. 

Let us have a look at how coaching is integral in designing the employee experience and driving engagement throughout the organization.

 

The tight connection between employee engagement and coaching: how it helps

 Improving the skills of employees

Coaching employees with the skills they want to explore for meeting knowledge gaps or for upgrading their skills can help build a relationship of trust with the organization, along with heightened self-esteem within the employees. With skill-based coaching, employees can feel more confident, can accomplish more, and contribute more to the organizational duties. Coaching also helps employees in carving their own career growth in the organization, and they do not have to depend on the managers to decide the next course of action. When organizations provide regular career development opportunities, employees feel engaged and stick around longer than usual.  

 

Developing leadership 

Engaged managers lead to engaged employees, and there’s no denying that. Coaching can step in to help managers develop leadership qualities to create a sense of satisfaction among the team members. With coaching, organizations can build a strong line of leaders who mentor the employees rather than ‘managing’ and ‘controlling’ them. Coached leaders can drive an efficient team-wide goal-setting system coalescing the organizational goals with the employee-specific goals. 

 

Driving a barrier-free team communication

With coaching, managers can learn to develop empathy, which helps in opening up a conscious and transparent feedback system. Around 69% of the employees said they would work harder if they were appreciated better. Coaching can aid in shaping leaders who provide appreciation as well as constructive feedback, delivered appropriately. 

Coaching can also help establish a platform for employees to express themselves without the fear of being judged. Offering the employees a chance to voice their opinions can be incremental in organizational growth as well as employee engagement. When employees feel heard and involved, they can share the same vision as the organization and be more engaged and productive. 

With coaching designed to improve emotional intelligence, employees can improve verbal, written, and informal forms of communication, not just within the teams but also with the customers and clients, meaning your organization always puts the best foot forward.

Building a work culture

Engagement, motivation, and accountability are primarily an emotional change. Coaching can help organizations in asserting values within the employees and imbibe them organically. With coaching, employees can feel empowered and accountable, and that helps in building a strong work culture. 

 

Read more: Employee Engagement Is a Cultural Change

 

To summarize…

Coaching is an integral part of individual development and is pivotal in building engagement within employees when approached correctly. Unlike other performance review systems, coaching needs to be integrated within the day-to-day routine of the employees to really make an impact. 

Connect with us to know more about NumlyEngage™, an AI-Enhanced Coaching Platform. With NumlyEngage™, organizations can 

  • Improve employee engagement, performance, and productivity
  • Identify, attract, and retain top talent 
  • Grow the next generation of business leaders