Employee Development Program: 9 Reasons Your Team Needs It

If you are a top-level executive, it’s your job to lead your business into a new trajectory despite enormous change and uncertainty. But you’re not in it by yourself. Your management team can either catalyze, stall, or even undermine your success. How they perform comes down to the employee development program they receive from you.

As the executive leader, you face two opposing issues:

  1. You must ensure your leaders get all that they need from you.
  2. You cannot provide – on your own – everything they need now.

Solution: Increased leadership coaching through an employee development program.

So if your leaders need more, and you have less to give, do you simply plan to fail? Of course not. The answer is to engage expert leadership coaches – not for a lengthy developmental engagement, but rather, for a modified, specific term period of coaching support (6 – 12 weeks). Expert leadership coaches can act as a sounding board, provide constructive and objective perspective, and help leaders identify blind spots and soft skill obstacles in communication and relationship management.

Here are nine reasons to provide an employee development program now:

1. You Don’t Have Enough “Sounding Board” Time

You must make time to keep open channels of communication with your leaders as you exchange information, strategize, and execute your plans. But you don’t have time to act as a sounding board for each of your leaders as they assess and think through developing situations. A leadership coach can fill that necessary and high impact role. That means when your leaders meet with you, they will be even better prepared to discuss the business.

2. You Can’t Afford to Lose Your Star Players

Crisis creates opportunity – your competitors may seize their opportunity to steal away one of your key leaders. Providing a leadership coach is a concrete way to give your support and assurance that you value this key player. Talent is less likely to leave when they feel valued.

3. The Dollars You Put into a Development Program Will Do More than a Bonus

You want to recognize and retain your core team, but cash is tight. Think about your options: You can invest about $3,000 per leader in IMPACT Group’s Priority IMPACT Coaching™ program. Or, you could dole out the same in amount as a cash bonus. For a VP, director, or manager making six figures, $3,000 will quickly become a forgotten gesture – maybe not even worthy of mentioning to a spouse. It won’t be life changing.

But weeks, months and years from now, your leaders will remember that you invested in professional coaching to help them through these difficult times. Coaching makes it personal. As cited above, your team members need to be reassured, and your decision to provide an employee development program provides more meaningful reassurance than cash.

4. You Need to Quell Any Worries About Continuity/Stability

Your investment in coaching signals your commitment to your leaders’ future with the company. When you hire a leadership coach for someone, it shows your confidence in that person to lead over the long term. Today’s business climate will exact a toll in employer trust as many managers – within and outside your company — are laid off. Providing a coach is a clear signal you view them as having a long-term seat at the table.

5. Unproductive, Internal Conflict Will Kill Your Rebound

While it would be great to pretend that our intellect, technical skills, and business acumen are all that matter, the reality is that emotions run high during times of uncertainty. Even the best, most cohesive teams can let emotions (anger, fear, pride, jealousy, over confidence) erupt into interpersonal conflict. When teams aren’t getting along, they are guarded and stop communicating. Experienced and objective leadership coaches can guide leaders in strategies to de-escalate emotional conflict. They excel at helping people reframe situations to reduce tense interactions.

6. You Want to Foster Cooperation

In times of change, new needs cause roles to morph as you assign new responsibilities. It’s easy for these new assignments to be misconstrued as significant role changes with either increased or diminished stature. Fear and uncertainty can build as people begin to wonder about a developing shift in power. Such feelings can create interpersonal struggles as people guard their turf. By investing in a coach for every leader on your team, you reaffirm your recognition of each person’s value, which fosters collegial good will and more productive interaction.

7. Your Leaders are Being Tested

Whether your organization is managing extraordinary growth or a restart, your leaders are being tested. Leading through change is never easy. Employees are less likely to move behind a new plan if they doubt their leaders. “We’ve never done this before” sentiment can stop all forward traction. Working with a coach offers your leaders a chance to gain confidence in their leadership approach by discussing it with a trained expert for additional input. While leadership coaches aren’t there to provide business advice, they are experts in helping leaders manage difficult communications, relationships, and conflict.

8. Coaches are a Remedy for Isolation

In 2019, long before we began sheltering in place, Cigna reported that three in five Americans (61%) report feeling lonely, and 12% of lonely workers believe their work is lower in quality. We know it’s lonely at the top. A coach is a protection against loneliness, and could become a needed boost to the team’s mental well-being.

9. Your Leaders Will Be Forced to Change. Inspire Them to Trade Up!

This pandemic has taught us that change isn’t always a choice. Your leaders are confronting many new situations in which change is an imperative. Companies often invest in an employee development program, and despite the encouragement of new skills, managers go back to their old ways.

However, this pandemic offers an opportunity to support your leaders with a coach when they have to approach things differently. A short coaching program can enable your leaders to test alternative leadership approaches in key areas such as communication, change management, and delegation.

Maybe the best reason to invest in developing leaders right now?

Allowing your team to access a few expert leadership coaches – through this low-cost, purposeful program — could have the most effect in how your business succeeds in the months ahead.

Click here to discover how Veolia achieved real business results through developing their rising leaders.