As the business world becomes more accepting of positive psychology and the need to understand and support employees performance from both a work and home perspective it draws an interesting issue around implementation and uptake from the workforce themselves.
Currently most organisations will “launch” a new coaching system centrally and/or a helpline with email communication and possibly a one off Webex. The communication also tends to be sent from the human resources department within the company. The normal results of this are a very low uptake in the new methodologies and support system and therefore although the idea is right the actual benefits to the people are never realised.
Rolling out a coaching solution
In these instances there are 2 key aspects that also need to be considered when looking to roll out any new coaching solution across an organisation.
The first aspect on uptake is the same across any organisation and any project. In order for any company wide project to work the employees themselves must believe in the benefits to them and the reasons why it will help them achieve their personal and business goals. Every organisation has experts in implementation and HR should engage them at the very outset of the project. These experts are normally found in the sales management team, as their job is to both manage personnel and deliver tactical implementation strategies on a daily basis. By harnessing their skills directly the organisation can benefit from their experience and really deliver an implementation plan that really works. This also has an added benefit in “buy in” because if the sales managers are involved in the roll out then the salesforce will see their direct leaders as key supporters of the initiative.
The second aspect is far more specific to offering to support employees from both a personal and work perspective. This is a much bigger challenge as it fundamentally attempts to change the way that employees interact with their work environment. In the UK, to a large extent the average person still believes that they cannot raise personal issues in work. The current perception for most employees is that if they raise a personal issue, even caused by “accepted” business issues such as stress, then this will actually harm their future prospects in the organisation. To add in the fact that they need to open up to discussing personal challenges and the fact that their work performance is suffering due to an issue at home makes this perception of risk even greater.
If we really want to challenge this perception then as part of the implementation of the new solution we must embrace this and actively overcome it at the very start of the process. A great way to begin this evolution would be to highlight case studies of employees that have benefitted from the program and how they have gone on to succeed in the organisation. This would become a cornerstone of the rollout as the employees will not only see a direct benefit in their own career progression but also, more importantly, feel comfortable in the fact that it will do no harm to their current perceived value. This will deliver a far greater uptake versus the current norm of the organisation telling employees that this is a confidential program, because it never can be if it is rolled out by people employed within the organisation itself.
In summary, to be a great business coach, delivering true holistic return on investment, we need to ensure that our programs are implemented and embraced fully across the companies that we support.