The world of career coaching continues to change and evolve. Typically, career coaches are hired by individuals who want to make a job change or pursue a more fulfilling career path. This career planning and development was done on the individual’s personal time and with their own money.
While individuals continue to invest in their own career development, organizations increasingly recognize the value of providing career coaching programs to their employees as a distinct benefit. By providing access to an external career coach, employers demonstrate a commitment to professional development for their current (and prospective) employees; in particular, to empower employees to plan and propel their individual careers.
Implementing a successful organizational career coaching program can have lasting positive impact on organization culture, recruiting and retention goals, as well as employer brand.
What Is Organizational Career Coaching?
At first-glance, organizational career coaching may look and sound like the perfect mechanism to develop internal talent for internal roles. While there are executive and leadership development programs designed specifically for this goal, career coaching has a different aim.
Organizational career coaching is designed as an employee benefit. While it certainly benefits the employer (more on this later), the primary goal is to provide employees the opportunity to speak with an unbiased career coach who can assist them in identifying and planning their career progression, whether or not that is with their current employer.
Why Invest in An Organizational Career Coaching Program?
Offering employees an outside resource to assist with career planning may instill fear into some (if not many) employers. Leadership and managers may worry that employees with an unbiased career coach will develop their employees right out the door.
While it’s true that some employees may decide to leave the organization after considering all their career options – most employees will leverage the services to gain clarity on what they truly want for, and from, their career over the long term. Moreover, organizational career coaches skillfully equip employees to have more effective career conversations with their managers, resulting in greater transparency and trust.
Considerations for Implementation
Before implementing an organizational career coaching program, consider these questions:
- Does your organization want to build a culture of trust and transparency where employees feel safe to share their career aspirations both short and long-term?
- Is the organization committed to developing your entire employee population and providing them with tools and resources to discover their unique skills and talents as well as their short- and long-term career goals?
- Is the organization prepared for employees to share the truth that they may have long-term career aspirations that may not align with your organization and as a result they may consider opportunities elsewhere?
Organizational Career Coaching – A Recruiting, Retention, and Culture Building Tool
By demonstrating to current and future employees that you care about their career path and progression, you stand out as an employer of choice in a crowded job market.
At Keystone Partners, clients continually tell us that exiting employees express their disappointment that there were not more career development resources to leverage. Employees share they hoped their managers demonstrated more interest in their career aspirations and helped them create a clearer career path.
By providing organizational career coaching, employees have access to a resource that results in greater self-awareness of their skills and strengths and equips them with communication techniques to express their interest in career progression confidently and proactively with their managers.
Frankly, any employee who chooses to leverage career coaching from their employer (or on their own) is most likely an employee worthy of investment. Expressing interest in coaching indicates that the individual is self-motivated and cares about their career progression and growth. And, very likely that of the organization as well. They are less likely to be the type of employee to clock in and clock out.
Furthermore, an organizational career coaching program can be expanded to coach HR and managers on how to have effective career conversations with employees, integrating career progression and development into the overall culture.
Best Practices for Implementing a Successful Organizational Career Coaching Program
When considering establishing a career coaching program for employees many employers wonder, “How can we leverage this to develop our employees to progress within our organization and into internal roles that we have?” Developing and promoting from within is always a best practice, and pursing internal opportunities is likely a path that appeals to some employees. However, for maximum impact, the organization must release all attachment to outcomes of the career coaching program.
A true organizational career coaching program focuses on career and progression from the perspective of the employee and not have an employer agenda. To realize the greatest benefit from organizational career coaching, it is imperative that the employer and employee know:
- Utilizing the services is completely confidential and there is no bias or agenda by the employer.
- The only agenda is the employee’s success with gaining clarity on what career progression and development look like for them as an individual.
- It is safe for the employee to share their true career aspirations with their career coach – even if that means they may be interested in eventually leaving their current employer and pursuing other career paths.
Providing career coaching to employees is a valuable tool – not only to help employees discover what they truly want out of work – but also to demonstrate that the employer cares about them as a person with an individual career.
The Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle have demonstrated that employees feel more empowered than ever about their career options. The pandemic gave individuals a unique opportunity to explore and affirm personal preferences when it comes to where, when, and how they work.
The competitive talent environment provides an opportunity for organizations to provide benefits that will meet current and prospective employees needs for autonomy and career empowerment.
Employers that provide confidential unbiased third-party resources such as organizational career coaching, demonstrate a commitment to employee growth. Developing career coaching skills for both employees and managers, fosters a coaching culture where there are fewer surprise resignations and greater transparency. Greater transparency yields more trust, and any culture built on trust ultimately creates more employee retention and loyalty.
Additional posts from Brenda StantonHR Strategy | Talent Management