It goes without saying the Covid-19 pandemic has been and still is a major challenge to most businesses and employees. Those that stayed in the game did what was necessary to get through the most difficult market since the last recession. Now, many businesses are preparing to transition back their valued employees and implement the changes that will carry them through to full recovery.
But are the employees ready? Numerous new polices, compliance requirements and new ways of engagement are stressful and confusing for many. Combine this with the uncertainty most employees have been living with for months now, and we have a work force that is feeling tense and insecure.
Many employees lost some of their co-workers, teammates, and friends… solid people with skills who were good at what they did. Some may be feeling survivor guilt or anger towards their company for doing what it needed to do and wondering if they are next. Some have lost their career or business mentor, the person who was helping them at work and advance to the next level.
Spending so much time at home has its own challenges and may have caused some to realize how lonely and unfulfilled they are.. or how unhappy they are in their marriage… or how difficult it is to care for children and ageing parents. Or, they may have finally had the time to consider something they would really like to change about themselves or their relationships.
Now more than ever companies need a workforce that is energized, focused and productive. Employees need as much clear, concise and honest communication as possible.
The past months have brought about a quantum leap in the acceptance and ease of connecting online. Families from grandparents to toddlers have gathered and shared stories, businesses have completed transactions and doctors are dispensing medical advice all from the convenience of and privacy of just about anywhere.
Online therapy offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, and depression, but for the most part, not much else. Coaching, by contrast, provides for meaningful discussion and guidance on everything else that makes up a whole person and is specifically designed for people who want to genuinely improve their lives.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of coaching, the simplest comparison is to that of an athletic coach. Just like how all great athletes have coaches, the same concept can be applied to other aspects of life as well, included relationships, stress management, work life balance, and more. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
In fact, by 2022, coaching in the United States alone will represent a $1.34 billion-dollar industry (1). There is a reason top level executives, Olympic athletes, star performers, and some of the most accomplished people in the world all attribute so much of their success to coaching; because it works.
An example of a business working to make the power of coaching more accessible is Hundred Life Design, a digital coaching platform that offers access to top tier, unconventional coaches, all of whom excelled or continue to excel and innovate in their field of expertise. Users can select from a broad range of topics including personal and work relationships, health & wellbeing, business, leadership, career planning, interpersonal skills and more.
And it works, both on an individual level and within organizations. A recent corporate client of Hundred Life Design, Roseburg Forest Products, based in Springfield, Oregon. With close to 4,000 employees in numerous locations across North America, Roseburg engaged Hundred Life Design to put a confidential, individually focused coaching program in place that would provide selected individuals in the company with access to their choice of a coach or coaches for a period of 6 months. The results were positive.
Scott Folk, Roseburg’s Senior Vice President of Resources commented, “the program was well received by the company and our participating teammates because of the highly confidential nature of the coaching, this gave our employees the comfort that whatever was discussed with the coach would not be shared with the company or anyone at anytime ever”. Folk believes this is absolutely necessary in order to make yourself vulnerable and have the brutally honest conversations you need to have to make real change in life.
Following the 6-month coaching program, Hundred followed up with each participant and asked them to complete a confidential survey. The survey results were then consolidated and shared with the company without disclosing names or any detail. The results were impressive. Those who received coaching on average showed a 90% improvement in their attitude towards their personal life and a 70% improvement in attitude towards work life. Equally interesting was the cost effectiveness of the program. Roseburg spent on average $886 per employee over the 6 month period.
When asked if Roseburg will be continuing on with the program, Folk replied, “coaching is not for everyone, but when used on a selected basis, particularly for teammates who are key contributors, new in a role, going through transitions or developing into leaders, coaching from someone outside of the company can be highly beneficial. It’s also proven to be very cost-effective for the company and one that does not require time off or travel. For all of these reasons, Roseburg will continue to partner with Hundred Life Design”.
Time will tell whether or not the future of coaching will be online and adopted by more businesses. Yet considering the increasing initiatives companies are making to invest in employee wellbeing, new businesses like Hundred Life Design may be on to something.