ITB 2024 Special Reporting
The Golden Key to Employee Engagement
By Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist
Friday, 20th August 2021

If I told you there was a 'silver bullet' to leadership success, you would probably think I was not thinking clearly.

That's why I was very surprised to read a recent Gallup study.

Low Engagement Costs Employers Trillions

Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy USD $8.1 trillion. Moreover, the company found that managers reported having higher stress and burnout levels than the people they manage. Doing the math, that means that the 130 million managers leading the world's 1.3 billion full-time employees are more challenged with mental health issues than their teams are. Maybe, it's because they are trying to manage, instead of leading people?

Low Engagement Levels are Everywhere

In the past, companies believed that giving employees free snacks, a meditation room and allowing a day to bring their pets to work was the key to retention success. The result is that only 20 percent of full-time employees worldwide are "engaged" in their work. Based on other studies, this low number does not surprise me. One recent study from Envoy stated that 47 percent of returning employees will not remain in their jobs, if they are not offered hybrid work.

People Join Companies and Leave Managers

Based on meta-analytics of 100 million employee interviews (Seriously?), one of Gallup's most important leadership breakthroughs was that a full 70 percent of the variance between the highest engaged teams and disengaged teams was merely the manager. Most conscious HR people could have told them that!

Gallup's Great Discovery

More recently, by studying the difference between the best managers and their less effective counterparts, Gallup discovered that great managers weekly coach their people to higher performance rather than directing and administrating them. So coaching is the golden key to creating a culture of high performance and high development.

But Here's the Problem...

Many managers (I would call them "leaders") don't know how to coach their people. They have always taken the easy way out by telling people what to do and how to do it. The Gallup article goes on to make several great suggestions but only at the end does it address this issue---the most important factor.

The Skill of Coaching is Learnable

What can make this transformation work in your company is not only training the managers to be great coaches, but also training the team members to be coachable. Instituting this new system in your organization can truly be transformational---and is worth the effort.

Many Paths to the Same Outcome

There are many ways to accomplish this transformation. First, you could hire a consultant to create a customized program for your organization. Second, you could look for an off-the shelf program that might work. (Not my preference; one size seldom fits all.) Third, you could hire coaches to coach your managers, but that leaves out the team members.

The Easiest Way by Far

Finally, you could give everyone an Ingomu membership. Ingomu is a learning platform that features 50+ coaches, providing insights and information on a wide variety of topics, including how leaders can coach their direct reports. For more information on how to sign up yourself or your people, visit https://ingomu.com.

This Choice is Easy to Make

No matter how you approach it, coaching employees to higher performance works. However, the converse is also true; fail to coach people and you will suffer low engagement and high employee turnover. Clearly, your investment of time and money in coaching will reap remarkable rewards in employee engagement and retention. That choice is simple---I hope.

The Future of Coaching

Until we have software that can replace human coaches, their career prospects look good. Over the last several years, the demand for coaches has been increasing. With platforms like Ingomu, we may expect to see even more folks entering the coaching arena. Why? Because we know that coaching works.

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