By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Workforce development programs are crucial drivers of employee engagement strategies across organizations. 

According to research, 93% of employees are more willing to stay with an organization if it invests in their career development. 

The millennials and Gen Z demographic is fast becoming the dominant workforce demographic. One of the key things this generation values is the acquisition of new skills with 87% of millennials citing investments in professional or career growth and development opportunities as key when selecting a job. 91% of the millennials think of their career progression as a top priority.

Clearly, investing in L&D initiatives is non-negotiable, especially as organizations try to get out of the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing their employee skill sets to close the skills gap and increase the digital capabilities of the workforce have become imperative for business success. At the same time, organizations also have to increase their repertoire of critical skills to meet the needs of the Future of Work. Leadership skill development, as you can see, now needs a complete overhaul to help then transition from being a remote boss to a virtual leader. Organizations have to help managers lead teams more efficiently. Building organizational resilience by building employee resilience has become crucial. 

These and many such other changes must be introduced in the L&D initiatives to make them relevant for this hybrid workplace of the future. Consequently, organizations also have to approach their L&D budget allocations differently so that the organization can adapt to unexpected changes proactively.

Crafting a tangible “measure of success”

Training budgets increased from $17.7 million in 2019 to $22 million in 2020 for large companies. The total amount spent on training in the U.S in 2020 stood at $82.5 billion. With these numbers at play, making sure of the ROI from training investments becomes imperative for almost all organizations. 

To achieve this, it is essential to craft tangible “measures of success”, the parameters that determine the success or failure of learning and development initiatives. Some of the key elements to measure here are:

  • Behavioral changes: Measuring whether the training program has brought about the behavioral change in the workplace and evaluate if both individuals and teams are aligned with the organizational values and purpose. Monitoring the relationship between skill development and behavioral change is also essential to increase training efficiency, and improve business metrics 
  • Organizational impact: Measuring the increase in operational efficiency or organizational outcomes as a result of training. A sales training, for example, should result in sales revenue growth. 
  • Skill attainment: Measuring the knowledge levels of the employee both pre and post-training. The learners’ knowledge and skill levels must show improvement at the end of training.
  • Workplace application: Measuring the extent to which the learner is applying the newfound knowledge and skill in her role to improve outcomes and performance. Skill acquisition without skill application is purposeless in the enterprise narrative

However, to achieve good outcomes from L&D initiatives, it is necessary to closely tie these initiatives to the organizational goals and role-based performance goals and inextricably make L&D a part of the performance management process. 

Peer Coaching Drives L&D

Complementing training and skill development initiatives with peer coaching can make L&D initiatives more successful. Peer coaching is a powerful tool to drive team spirit and employee engagement. This becomes more relevant and essential now due to the rise of a hybrid workplace- one that accommodates both remote teams and on-premise teams in tandem. 

The rise of the hybrid workplace brings about new challenges – most of which need the workforce to hone, fine-tune and increase the repertoire of their critical skills such as communication, empathy, collaboration, strategic and critical thinking, and the like. 

Peer coaching delivers a quantified impact across learning and development initiatives because it:

  • Provides a 360-degree view of employee performance: Peer coaching helps employees gain a more holistic view of their performance. Instead of relying only on managers for feedback, peer coaching provides a well-rounded overview of areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement. Peer coaches can give quick and accurate feedback and offer timely advice to accelerate learning and drive accountability. 
  • Empowers and encourages people to learn new skills: Peer coaching does not adopt an instructional approach like training. It is a deeper relationship, one that is ‘freer’ in nature. This perspective becomes the most defining factor of peer coaching. It is because of the nature of this form of coaching that makes people more attuned and welcome towards learning and skill acquisition. Since peer coaches are people who perform similar job functions as the learner, the conversation becomes more relevant to identify blind spots that training programs can miss. Peer coaching also empowers employees as a peer coach acts as that go-to person with whom they can talk directly and candidly when needed and learn by watching them work. 
  • Drives behavioral change: Repetition is essential to drive behavioral change. This is where day-long training programs fail on the measurement matrix. Peer coaching is a continuous process and is greatly needed to build critical skills like empathy, active listening, effective feedback, communication, leadership, etc.  Since peer coaching highlights reciprocal engagement, it facilitates the joint consideration of the process rather than merely listening to spoken words. This type of coaching helps in building an understanding of the “why” in question and, hence, can bring about a shift in behaviors through constant engagement.
  • Increases employee engagement: Peer coaching is also a great tool to build team spirit and camaraderie between employees. It is of valuable assistance when we want to build trust bridges across the organization to bring employees together. This becomes essential especially because hybrid teams, remote teams, and work from home burnout are an everyday reality across organizations.

Peer coaching helps employees build connections across the organization. It can be valuable to drive diversity and inclusion initiatives. It can help new employees migrate from being the ‘outsiders’ to the ‘insiders’ in the organization while helping all build trusted networks that drive career progress. All of these factors contribute heavily towards employee engagement and help build ‘shared purpose’ across the organization.

To make peer coaching outcomes successful, organizations need to design quantitative and qualitative points of measurement. 

Quantitative measurement 

For this, it is essential to leverage a technology-powered advanced coaching platform that helps organizations:

  • Identify the exact skill requirements of the workforce and deliver contextual peer coaching programs 
  • Assess skill needs, employee strengths, and weaknesses using skill assessment programs. The reliance has to be on data – not guesswork or gut feel
  • Use data to make the best coach-learner pairing 
  • Get evaluation insights from managers as well as colleagues to provide holistic feedback on soft and hard skills
  • Get detailed insights from self-scoring, peer rating, coach, and leader feedback both continuously during the coaching and post-completion 
  • Get post-coaching insights like engagement index of both the team and organization and enterprise insights from rich analytics 

Qualitative measurement 

Qualitative measurement must complement quantitative measurement. For quantitative measurement, organizations have to look at the non-numerical data and identify the measures of success. 

So, how employees respond to peer coaches and coaching, how well they can apply their newly learned skills, how aligned they are to the organization, is there a behavioral change, and whether they are engaged and believe in the organizational purpose, for example, become important points to measure. 

It is only when we measure both the qualitative and quantitative parameters that learning and development initiatives can drive a tangible impact on organizational outcomes. 

Connect with us to design comprehensive and effective peer coaching strategies and drive them using the power of AI to drive transformational learning and development results.   

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

It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic made its announcement and completely upended business operations and working patterns. The grand scale of the global Work-From-Home transition, and the subsequent onus on digital transformation to navigate this new world of work, has led most organizations to accelerate their upskilling initiatives. 

Upskilling, incidentally, has been a major topic of conversation from the pre-pandemic days. Organizations are being compelled to re-evaluate upskilling strategies to make sure that these initiatives can help them traverse the COVID-induced uncertainty. They need to ensure that their employees remain relevant and can productively and positively contribute to the bottom line.

While upskilling is about increasing competency, it is more about improving resilience to face a competitive and volatile market. The pandemic has further emphasized the need for digital transformation, especially as resilient futures become directly proportional to the acquisition of new and more relevant skills.

Upskilling initiatives need coaching

“Upskilling”, simplistically, is defined as the act of teaching (an employee) additional skills. In today’s business narrative this means ensuring that the employees learn new skills as technology offers new opportunities that need new skill sets. 

Upskilling initiatives are thus more than efforts to merely keep your employees up-to-date on the latest technology. For upskilling to deliver the desired outcomes, organizations have to make sure that they are designed to not only increase know-how but also improve overall performance and business outcomes.

When coaching meets upskilling

Upskilling has to deliver impactful and sustainable change. And for that, coaching becomes imperative as it delivers the following:

Better employee outcomes

Upskilling efforts are directed towards making employees more knowledgeable and improving their technical dexterity as we move into the future of work. However, along with know-how, the employees also need to manage the change these new skills will bring into their lives. 

Coaching not only improves knowledge levels but also helps employees understand how this change is relevant and important for their careers. Coaching brings clarity of thought and understanding to employees and helps them apply the knowledge to their job roles more easily and comprehensively.

Improved retention

Millennials and Gen Z are now the dominant part of the workforce. Motivated by growth and opportunities, these generations want organizations to be invested in their growth story. Making upskilling initiatives coaching-focused helps organizations demonstrate their investment in employee growth and helps in driving better employee engagement. 

This type of investment makes the employee feel valued and helps them become better prepared to successfully fulfill their job roles. This effort, in turn, drives employee investment in the organization and helps prevent attrition as employees do not scour around for ‘better opportunities.’

More contextual

In today’s day, ‘context is king’, especially as we work with the millennials. By leveraging new-age technologies such as AI, organizations can leverage coaching platforms that help them drive context and make their programs more relevant for their employees. Using data-driven assessments, organizations can identify learning and knowledge gaps and help employees embark on their learning journeys. AI-powered coaching platforms can pair the right coach with the right employee, to drive impactful coaching conversations.

Upskilling employees also demands them to understand how their job roles will change and provides the direction to help them become more collaborative. This is essential since technology expertise has to be complemented with essential power skills like collaboration, communication, out-of-the-box thinking, and other essential traits that drive productivity, innovation, and ultimately, business outcomes. Such behavioral skill development that drives lasting change can only be achieved by building powering up upskilling initiatives with coaching.

Continuous and ongoing

Unlike traditional (one-time) training programs, coaching is a continuous and ongoing process, and hence, it becomes more impactful in driving and implementing change. Coaching is information-driven but is not just instructional and passive. It is more comprehensive and helps employees become future-ready by helping them understand and adapt to the new ways of work.

The ongoing nature of coaching becomes all the more beneficial as employees receive the right guidance at the right time and thereby capably manage the challenges that keep them from reaching their optimum potential. It is because coaching is continuous and ongoing that employees can rewire and reprogram themselves to navigate challenges and align their job roles with organizational goals with greater clarity.

Powering up coaching programs with coaching is almost like that silver bullet to help traverse this new world of work. By connecting the right coach with the right learner, organizations can capably build a bridge of trust with the employee to show their investment in employee growth.

Coaching also allows for clear, actionable, and proactive feedback that points out areas of improvement. AI-powered coaching platforms like NumlyEngage™ can provide timely nudges based on skill-level data. All of these factors help impact upskilling outcomes positively and ensure that that the workforce is future-ready in the truest sense of the term.

Connect with our team of experts to create fool-proof, outcome-driven upskilling initiatives by diving into the coaching universe and consequently keeping your workforce engaged and skilled at the same time.

By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO

Millennials and Gen Z are now the dominant generations in the workforce. 

With the Baby Boomer generation on their way out, Millennials and Gen Z represent more than half of the workforce. 

By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Gen Z is expected to constitute about a quarter of the global workforce by this year. 

Any new generation entering the workforce often prompts comparisons to the generations that came before. Predictions, often accurate and sometimes not, are made on how the generation would disrupt the workforce. 

Millennials, for example, have a different set of motivations to remain engaged at work. They and Gen Z have also been the generations most conversant with technology. Quite naturally, their being in the workforce prompted new forms of communication and a more pronounced shift towards technology.

While these two generations have operated on an ‘always-connected’ mode, they have redefined employee-employer relationships and are now moving into management positions. 

Contrary to the ‘lazy’ and entitled labels that have been assigned prematurely and unfairly to this demographic, research shows that millennials are a hardworking lot, with 73% of them working more than 40-hour work weeks. 26% globally work more than two jobs.   

Gen Z and Millennials have their foot on the gas when it comes to preparing for their career ultramarathon. We say ‘ultramarathon’ because the climate of constant change and disruption have become an indelible part of the business environment. And Millennials and Gen Z, much like long-distance runners, have their eyes on the horizon and are planning for ‘what’s next’. 

These generations are not motivated just by paychecks anymore. While the money is important, these two generations look for a shared purpose and an opportunity to grow and thrive. It becomes essential for organizations to first identify what inspires and motivates this talent to draw up strategies that ensure retention.

Read: Engaged Employees Are Driven by Shared Values and Vision

Coaching emerges as an influential tool to drive, motivate, and retain this workforce. It also ensures that the organization’s leadership pipeline has skilled, qualified, and well-adjusted individuals capable of leading the organization to success. However, run-of-the-mill coaching programs are unlikely to make the cut for this generation. 

Here are some coaching strategies to drive Millennials and Gen Z at work –

Develop strong interpersonal and highly cognitive social skills

Millennials and Gen Z have been the ‘always-connected’ generation with technology being omnipresent in their lives. While they bring an unprecedented level of technical skills to the table, it is hard to ignore their apprehensions on their ability to communicate with peers and form strong interpersonal relationships. 

Most of Gen Z, for example, acknowledge the importance of in-person communication while accepting their challenges with the same. Highly cognitive social skills such as critical thinking, strategic thinking, and problem-solving also need development.

In a business environment where almost 92% of HR leaders place great importance on emotional and social skills, it is only prudent to design coaching strategies that bridge this gap.

Develop Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge specific to job roles, processes, customers, and other organizations’ subtleties such as culture. Passing down tacit knowledge is essential to enable leadership development and drive long-term success. Hence, coaching strategies for millennials and Gen Z need to focus on this heavily.

Contrary to the argument that a day-long training session might suffice here, building tacit knowledge is an instructive process that needs to focus on the technical aspect as well as on building and honing the power skills of the generation. It needs to ensure that along with the technical knowledge, they become more self-reliant, skilled, and thoughtful employees who are aligned with the organization’s goals. Such employees can improvise when things are tough and are quick to identify improvement opportunities.

As Millennials move into managerial roles, it becomes essential to develop this vocabulary to help them pass on tacit knowledge with skill and positively impact the organization.

Read: How Employees with Power Skills Give Companies A Competitive Advantage

Keep it contextual

The generational machinations of Millennials and Gen Z lend them to be more questioning in nature. They also are driven by context and relevance. They are highly invested in learning opportunities and want ‘careers’ as opposed to ‘jobs’. 

Hence, organizations have to provide them with these learning opportunities as well as provide them with concrete and directed avenues of leadership development.

Coaching plays a vital role here. However, organizations need to build focused and outcome-driven coaching conversations by making them relevant and contextual to their needs. Tests such as Behavioral Assessment tests or 16 Personality Factor tests based on self-evaluation provide context and relevance this generation demands. It also helps them become invested in learning opportunities since these are based on quantified data. 

Leveraging AI-enabled coaching platforms also aid the coaching process by ensuring the right coach- coached (Jedi) pairing. These platforms provide personalized, contextual AI bot nurture touch points to address each individual’s skill gap and unique learning process.

Actionable insights from analytics on skill development, performance, employee engagement, and more can be further used to improve the quality of the coaching conversations and keep these generations invested in their growth story.

Reskilling and upskilling are incomplete without coaching 

According to the Future of Jobs report, more than ‘a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise of skills that are not yet considered crucial for the job today. This, and many such other reports, show the changing skill requirements. And yes, Millennials and Gen Z also fall in this category. 

As a response to this challenge, organizations have accelerated this reskilling and upskilling initiatives. However, these initiatives for the Millennial and Gen Z demographic need to account for the technical upskilling as well as the power/soft skill upskilling. Coaching is the only way to ensure that technical upgrades are complemented with behavioral skill upgrades to make sure that the workforce is prepared to fill their new roles and also become capable leaders of tomorrow. 

Read: Your Reskilling Initiatives Cannot be Successful without Strong Mentoring Programs

Keeping Millennials and Gen Z engaged is hard work for organizations, especially with the rise of the gig economy and the subsequent rise of the digital nomads. The gig economy is characterized by freelance work and short-term contracts as opposed to permanent job roles. ‘Collaborative economy’, ‘sharing economy’, or ‘crowdsourcing’ are some of the synonyms that are fast finding their way into the vocabulary of these two demographics. 

However, while the gig economy is lucrative, it is also ambiguous. Since this economy is growing stronger, organizations have to develop strategies to keep the Millennials and Gen Z workforce away from this lure. 

Recent research from Deloitte shows that job loyalty from this demographic has risen as businesses address employee needs from ‘from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling.’ 

To keep this workforce engaged and invested, organizations have to appeal to their values, build a sense of shared purpose, show investment in their career growth and have concrete mechanisms in place to help them achieve professional success. These are the primary ways to retain and keep this workforce engaged, and organizations can attain this by having robust coaching strategies in place. 

Connect with our experts to evaluate how you can leverage AI-driven, highly contextual coaching programs to keep the Millennial and Gen Z workforce engaged and invested at work. 

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Companies are at the cusp of digital transformation and are making ‘upskilling’ employees their priority. 

Take AT&T, for instance. They decided to overhaul their legacy systems and hence had to upskill their employees to keep pace with the emerging technology trends. 

While an overall upskilling of all employees is necessary, companies have started taking a specific interest in upskilling their engineering and tech teams due to the dynamic landscape of technology. But what worked yesterday may become redundant tomorrow. 

However, merely teaching new programming languages or new technologies is not enough. Tech and engineering teams have to be coached on power skills to bring in behavioral changes in their team members. 

Read: Power Up Your eLearning Initiatives with Coaching

Let’s look at some coaching strategies that can be used to upskill the engineering and tech teams.

7 Upskilling Coaching Strategies

Identify learning gaps

The first step towards designing a coaching strategy is to identify the learning gaps and fix them. One way to find the gaps is by asking each employee to fill a self-evaluation survey to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The assessments must be prepared according to the nature of the employees’ role. Ensure that the self-evaluation survey includes questions about both – the soft and hard skills, so that mentors can create a coaching plan accordingly. For example, a person with excellent hold on Python language may score low on communication skills. For a team leader, communication is as important as technical skills. Such gaps can be found and fixed for each employee.

Set up coaching goals

Once the assessments are done, the HR and the employees’ coach must identify the core goals that the employees must meet to close the skill gaps. They must communicate the goals they expect the employee to meet. There could be two kinds of goals – the short-term goals that aim to close the immediate gaps, and the long-term goals to achieve a specific outcome such as nurturing an employee for the leadership role. The coach must ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to the employee, and time-bound. This will help both the coach and the employee to remain on track. 

Personalize the coaching

No two employees in the same role or title are similar. That’s why the same learning or coaching path for all employees is not advisable. Employees engage better and show up to 180% improvement in their jobs when their coaching is personalized. Personalized coaching involves aligning the coaching goals based on the employees’ strengths and weaknesses, their interests, their readiness, and their current proficiency levels. The coaching journey is tailored based on various parameters and tested in an individualized manner.

Offer one-to-one coaching

The most crucial thing about coaching is to choose the right coach for the right employee. Finding a coach cannot be based on guesswork. It has a science behind it and might require the help of technologies such as AI to assess and find the right match. Based on the skills gap, companies must identify the areas in which the employees require immediate attention, discuss them with the employees, and pair them with the right coach for each area of improvement. Coaches must help employees face the complexities in their careers and focus on transforming their future for better by improving their skills. Although this form of coaching aims to hone the skills of employees; coaches have admitted that the process has also helped them become a better coach. 

Make coaching holistic 

Engineering and tech teams cannot be proficient in technical skills alone. Of course, it is necessary to master technologies and new programming languages. However, these teams also need to acquire soft skills such as communication, negotiation, creativity, and leadership skills to build meaningful engagement with customers and peers. That’s why it’s essential to make coaching a holistic process. Coaches must assess employees based on their soft and hard skills and ensure that the coaching plan covers all the aspects required to build a good future leader. Even the evaluation and progress should be measured based on all the aspects. 

Make communication a continuous process 

A coach-employee relationship goes beyond a few weekly or monthly meetings. It requires commitment from both parties. A continuous and contextual communication process is needed to make coaching more productive and useful for employees. The idea is to build a healthy personal-professional relationship between them. This one-to-one communication can happen through various devices such as phones, tablets, and internal portals. The communication process must also involve evaluating the employees and coaches and sharing the feedback. So, the coaches know what they must do to offer a more meaningful mentorship to employees, and employees would know what they must do to achieve the goal earmarked for them by the coaches. There should also be a system to provide engagement scores to both the coach and the employee to assess and improve their engagement levels. 

Measure the outcome

Evaluation is not a one-off process. It is a continuous process. Coaches must use data analytics to measure the overall progress of employees and offer feedback on their skills, engagement, and performance. Continuous feedback will help employees to become more mindful of their strengths and weaknesses and transform themselves proactively. The outcome of  coaching should not be only on an individual level. The impact must be evaluated on the overall enterprise-level too. 

We have developed a coaching program, especially for engineering and tech teams, to help them learn hard and soft skills. The program will benefit engineers who seek guidance, managers and executives, engineers who wish to coach, and the SME and HR teams. Check out how we help in transforming the engineering and tech teams through our AI-based coaching platform.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Remote working is no longer the ‘new’ normal. It is just normal now. 

Hallway conversations, informal lunches, and break sessions, pop-in status reports are on hold for an indefinite time. COVID-19 has ushered us firmly into the age of remote working, where even the most traditional organizations had to adopt this trend.  

With the rules of engagement witnessing an overhaul, HR teams, and organization leaders are grappling with the challenge of keeping these newly remote teams engaged – especially since the individuals making up these teams have their own culture and personality. 

There has been a dramatic shift in the manner in which organizations are operating today, making engagement a difficult game to win. While these unprecedented times continue to impact the workplace and the workforce, organizations have to think of creative ways to make this distanced working environment more engaging so that productivity and employee happiness are not at opposing ends. 

Coaching can become a venerable tool in the HR and leadership arsenal to keep employees engaged. Here is a look at why this is so.

Maximize talent despite the distance 

Remote working is different and demands a different way of leading. Organizations thus have to look at how to help their employees navigate this new normal by guiding them on maintaining a work-life balance while delivering maximum productivity. 

Coaching them to adopt a flexible schedule, develop a flexible mindset, and maintain self-discipline in the absence of constant monitoring are important to drive productivity. Helping them become more goal-oriented, detail-driven with elevated accountability and ownership levels also drive productivity and engagement. By coaching effective prioritization skills and helping employees develop a ‘can-do’ attitude, organizations can keep employees effectively engaged while maximizing the talent despite the distance. 

Guide for growth 

Since millennials are the primary demographic in most organizations, it is imperative to remember that growth is a key engagement driver for these employees. In this remote working environment, it is natural for employees to be concerned about their growth within the organization.

Apart from identifying and providing coaching to meet the employees’ technical skill requirements, organizations also have to identify the power skills gaps by using data from assessments such as 16 Personality factor Tests and Behavioral Skills assessments. Coaching employees on these skills will tangibly impact their professional career and help them become high-potential employees. It helps in driving employee engagement by demonstrating investment and interest in employee growth. 

Drive leadership development 

Remote working or not, organizations have to work continuously to drive leadership development in the workplace to keep employees engaged. Whether it is to identify next-generation leaders or identify high-potential employees, a focus on leadership development also helps in keeping employees engaged, especially in the world of remote work. 

Coaching can play a significant role as an enabler of engagement by helping remote employees understand how to navigate complex relationships, establish greater credibility, cultivate strategic thinking, and develop the capacity to exert influence on decision-making.

In the absence of physical interactions, leadership development coaching guides employees on building and leveraging strategic networks and drive authentic engagement needed to proceed in their careers. 

Read: Critical Leadership Skills that High-Potential Women Leaders Should Be Groomed On

Bridge the skills gap 

Despite the world of work going remote, organizations cannot put a pause on their upskilling and reskilling initiatives. However, while technical training programs help in closing the skills gaps, organizations also have to focus on bridging the power skills gap. Skills like communication, collaboration and influence, problem-solving, innovation and execution, strategic thinking, and the like are essential to driving productivity and engagement. 

Developing a growth mindset is also a prized skill that organizations are looking for to increase the employees’ mental tenacity, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly complex and competitive.

Read: What Can Organizations Do to Develop an Entrepreneurial Growth Mindset Amongst Employees?

Coaching plays a big role in navigating the hard skills and power skills conundrum. Owing to its continuous nature, coaching outcomes drive behavioral change, which helps employees understand the organization’s investment in their growth story. This then becomes a powerful driver of engagement since enablement here drives engagement. 

Empower managers to drive successful teams 

The time to walk the ‘lead by example’ talk is now. In this new world of remote working, the eyes of the employees are fixed on managers and leaders. Managers need to be coached on how to identify the individual talents of individual team members. They also have to discover how to interact with and guide less-experienced employees best through challenging work situations and help them progress along their career paths. Many managers are also leading remote teams for the first time and need coaching on how to best guide their teams for success. 

The absence of physical interactions also means that managers and leaders now have to become clearer in their communication skills and build skills to recognize effort, anticipate team reactions, assess team confidence, appreciate employees, and provide effective feedback. Along with this, managers also have to coach their teams for success and learn how to develop their emotional intelligence to keep team motivation and engagement high. 

Read: How Has the Role of Leadership Changed with COVID-19?

Managers can rely on effective coaching to help them navigate the new challenges and implement the behavioral changes to drive highly successful teams. 

The role of coaching is becoming increasingly important to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive in these challenging times. 

Running and working in remote teams requires specific skillsets and new attitudes so that productivity and engagement levels remain consistently high. It is perhaps time to look towards AI-powered technology and rich analytics to drive highly relevant and contextual coaching programs and help employees deliver their best performance and remain engaged. Consistently.