The United States is experiencing one of the most competitive job markets of the last decade. A growing number of candidates and frontline employees are seeking companies that offer upskilling and career enrichment programs, which are interpreted as a value-adding component of workplace culture. As a result, the race to attract and retain top talent has forced companies to get creative and reevaluate their investments in programs that enrich the employee experience.
Career coaching is an offering that can positively shift an employee’s relationship with their employer and enhance a company’s workplace culture. High-quality coaching is shown to have transformational effects on professionals at every level and helps an employee flourish in their role. For frontline employees, career coaching can provide the necessary skills and a big-picture understanding to help them grow and extend their careers within an organization.
The most successful and attractive companies recognize that when their people thrive, so will the organization.
Table of Contents
What is career coaching?
Does offering access to a career coach improve employee retention rates?
What are key elements of a successful career coaching program?
How to choose a career coaching provider for your company?
How to integrate career coaching into your professional development programs?
What is career coaching?
A career coach is someone who is trained to empower professional clients with resources to achieve their career goals. While every career coach will offer a different approach to support their clients, the most impactful coaches rely on research-based exercises and analysis techniques during each client session.
Their objective is to help professionals identify where they want to go in their careers and the pathways leading them to that goal. They also hold their clients accountable for putting in work and following the prescribed steps, practices, and behaviors most likely to foster success and growth in their careers.
Historically, career coaches are hired by a person independent of their employer. More recently, a growing number of companies are offering their workers access to career coaches or reimbursement to offset the cost of service.
Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Motorola, Target, Amazon, and Hewlett-Packard, offer career coaching programs to develop the next generation of leaders, boost employee performance, and help employees get aligned on corporate goals.
Career coaching supports employee retention.
Employee retention requires making employees feel valued as an asset to their company. In 2022, ManpowerGroup, a global workforce solutions company, published a labor study which found 81% of employees now expect training programs from employers to help keep their skills up-to-date. The study also showed that 49% of the respondents would move to an organization that supports well-being.
Providing access to ongoing learning opportunities can help frontline workers and mainline employees:
- Gain a sense of clarity about the direction of their careers
- Become aware of potential skills gaps and take steps to credential themselves
- Improve professional communication skills
- Gain a refreshed sense of confidence and value in their role
Together, these ingredients help improve job security and motivation to succeed, contributing to overall well-being. Professional development programs also give employees the opportunity and space to grow within their organizations, and when employees have room to grow, they’re also more likely to stay.
A recent survey from Better Buys, an organization that helps companies make smart investments, found that employees who take advantage of professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged and exhibit a 34% higher retention rate than those who don’t.
Employee engagement also fosters a strong company culture and encourages workers to stay with their company. In the same study from Better Buys, research showed that disengaged employees are twice as likely to resign.
Key elements of a successful career coaching program
Trust, transparency and accountability are all major components of a successful career coaching program.
When building a career coaching program, it’s crucial to maintain an open line of communication with the selected career coach to ensure that their approach aligns with the company culture.
Remember these four pillars when considering a career coaching program for your company:
1. Tailor your coaching program to suit your employees.
A one-size fits all approach is unlikely to be effective for all employees. For a career coaching program to be effective, it is necessary to identify the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to advance their careers and design coaching sessions and resources accordingly. Work with your career coach provider to ensure individual assessments are conducted.
2. Partner with the career coach to align their approach with company culture, language, and your long-term workforce strategy.
Doing so can help your organization to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your employee development efforts. This can help ensure that companies get the most value from your training and development programs and that your workforce is well-prepared for future challenges.
3. Establish regular check-ins and progress tracking with participating employees and the career coach.
This is essential to ensure accountability, motivation, adjustment, and effective communication throughout the coaching process.
4. Encourage employee feedback and remain open to modifying your initial approach.
When employees feel that their feedback is valued and their input is used to improve the organization, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work. This can lead to higher levels of productivity, better retention rates, and a more positive company culture overall.
The Right Fit: How to choose the best career coach for your company?
Many factors will come into play when selecting the best career coach, including cost, location, services offered, and specialties.
It’s always best to seek multiple quotes from individuals and coaching organizations to understand the potential investment and establish a budget. This will also help you decide the maximum number of employees who will be able to partake in the coaching program.
Coaching is a largely unregulated industry. While there are many qualified and experienced career coaches, others may have only attended a workshop or completed a certification program that lacks any accreditation. This may take time to carefully investigate, but in the end, the effort will be worth it to your employees.
Coaches are people, too, and sometimes, the connection with specific individuals just won’t click. This is important because your employees will be spending a lot of time with this person. Trust your instincts when searching for the right fit.
Some coaches are generalists and offer experience with a diverse pool of companies and clients. Others specialize in working with companies and employees in a specific industry, with new and young businesses, or even a specific size of company. The value of working with coaches who integrate their professional experience into their approach is that it humanizes the services they provide.
Pathstream can help integrate career coaching into your professional development programs.
Integrating career coaching into professional development programs can be a game changer for organizations looking to enhance their workforce. By partnering with a provider of career coaching services, organizations can provide their employees with a comprehensive and personalized approach to their career development. A career coach can help individuals tap into their strengths, address areas for improvement, set achievable goals, and develop a roadmap for success, including upskilling opportunities.
This not only reignites employee morale and boosts retention but also illuminates career paths for growth within the organization. Investing in your employees’ career development through career coaching can result in a stronger, more engaged, motivated, and fulfilled workforce. Request a demo today and start building a brighter future for your organization and employees.
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