By Susan Power, Power HR
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with 50+ organizations as a consultant. Almost every organization receives feedback from its employees identifying communications as an improvement area in employee engagement results. My human resources lens informs me that some misunderstanding stems from different personality styles and technology (hint: try to avoid email as much as possible). However, part of that misunderstanding is a skills deficit. There is a definite business case to be made for investing in employee communications training and coaching so leaders can communicate and coach more effectively.
In a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees, each cited an average loss of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees (Source: David Grossman, “The Cost of Poor Communications”). Debra Hamilton claimed in her article “Top Ten Email Blunders That Cost Companies Money” that miscommunication cost smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.
Poor communications skills are a major cost for many businesses. Often organizations promote their top-performing employees into management positions, and surprisingly, over half of new managers fail within their first two years. Many new leaders struggle with the soft skills that become even more critical when they are leading a team—skills like building trust-based relationships, resolving team conflicts, delivering constructive feedback, and facilitating team buy-in.
The technical skills of doing the work that get the employee promoted in the first place become secondary to leading the team. The team is responsible for doing the work, and managers need to be astute enough to plan how they allocate the work (to whom, when and how, and with whom to share what information), which communications medium to use, and—probably most challenging—how to deliver communications with the right tone and in the right manner. (Hint: the tone might need to be different, depending on the employee receiving the information).
Many new leaders have never received any training on leadership or coaching effectively. Larger employers may send high-potential leaders on a one-week leadership training course, with little reinforcement once they are back in the office. While this is better than nothing, it stands to reason that many new managers fail, as they are not set up for success. Often they receive no coaching or real-time feedback on their leadership style, and sometimes the leaders they work for do not model effective leadership behaviours either.
Coaching shows employees how to properly deliver and receive feedback by guiding them to be specific, personalized, and performance-focused. Coaching increases employee engagement, as it indicates to employees that the organization is willing to invest in them and their development. Coaching is a simple solution to increase the profitability for your organization.
Research shows that highly engaged employees deliver 21% higher profitability. Some studies have shown employee engagement to reduce absenteeism by 41%. This reduction is driven by increased engagement, as well as a higher level of commitment to the organization. Decreased absenteeism improves productivity and minimizes lost profits.
Inspired Leadership should be the goal of every leader. At Power HR, we say that when you inspire an employee it “means to excite, encourage or breathe life into”. When you inspire someone, it is as if you are filling someone with confidence so they feel they can achieve something difficult or special. It is like blowing air over a low flame to make it grow. Coaching is a much more inspiring approach to engaging employees than giving orders or telling your staff what to do. There is more than one way to get to Rome.
Multiply Your Leaders to Grow Your Business
Susan Power, Power HR
Susan is founder & CEO of Power HR Inc, a boutique coaching and consulting business. Power HR specializes in knowledge-based industries such as accounting, law firms, engineering, etc., and helps organizations Multiply Leaders to Grow Their Business. Susan has 15+ years experience in human resources and coaching. Susan built her consulting skills working in Toronto at the global management consulting firm Accenture. Susan sold her first HR consulting business then spent two years in an Executive HR Director role at JD Irving Limited, before returning to entrepreneurship. Susan is a Certified Human Resources Leader and has an MBA. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and invites you to check out the Inspired Leadership Podcast.