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……. it’s the prevention!

I was working with a group of employees a few months ago in a large organisation. Most of the group would have been in the later part of their career, and I was providing career transition support as their division was winding up and they needed to determine what they wanted to do from there. For all of them it was the first time in their career that they’d been given some career coaching and the feedback was resoundingly “Why wasn’t I given access to this information earlier in my career, it would have saved me making so many mistakes.”

It made me wonder why this type of support isn’t provided before there’s a redundancy or before a performance issue escalates to the point of someone leaving – the old ‘problem/solution’ approach. Do organisations think people will leave if they get inspired and motivated? Or is it a case of if (on the surface) nothing’s broken don’t fix it? I guess these are the easiest ways to see the value in career coaching, but what’s the hidden cost of not providing career coaching to your staff before an issue arises? Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. By the time a problem rises to the surface, that person has probably already started looking for another job and an investment to turn them around and keep them engaged at this stage is futile, or doesn’t last. People resist speaking up about a problem they’re having and dealing with it, and think that moving on will solve it, but in reality the problem follows them until they learn the lesson. If you want a workforce that can tackle problems with a growth mindset, and resolve them mostly on their own, wouldn’t that be something worth investing in?
  2. When people start to disengage, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the team and organisation, and long term it impacts the culture. When people get clear on their values and how their job enables them to live those values, they are intrinsically motivated and self-managed. They know how to read the signs that things are going south before they do, and they know how to self-correct.
  3. All the leadership training in the world isn’t going to help your future leaders step up if they are blocked by limiting self beliefs and traumatic experiences from earlier in their career. Imagine how much hidden potential is within your organisation.
  4. The figures for burnout keep rising, and believe it or not, with many people now working from home to some degree they put even more pressure on themselves to perform as they’re not visible in the office. And with their colleagues working from home, and less connection with those people who they used to have a laugh with, they’re feeling the stress more than ever. It’s also easy to lose sight of what they’re all working towards as a team. Sometimes when you’re in the problem it’s hard to recognise it and admit there is a problem in the first place, let alone develop effective strategies to turn things around.
  5. Last but not least, is feeling valued. When people’s development isn’t invested in, they don’t feel valued, and it doesn’t take much for another organisation to take some interest in them to fill that void.

So whether its you as a manager or HR professional that steps in and has some of these conversations, or whether you engage an external career coach, take some proactive steps to engage sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to see the ways Creating Healthy Careers can assist your workforce to thrive, take a look here.