Until the last few years, coaching has mostly been a perk for C-suite and senior level executives needing leadership development or performance deficiencies corrected. That was acceptable when hierarchical organizations were directed from the top and people fell into line based on specific top-down directions. In no way does that describe today's workplace in which technology and social media drive internal and external networking, collaborative work styles, a plethora of new perspectives and a need to regularly innovate in order to remain competitive.
All employees need the ability to perform at their highest level and pursue career goals, enabled by developing supportive networks and productive relationships. What this means is that everyone in your organization needs coaching, and the best way to accomplish this is develop and maintain a positive coaching culture in which people learn from each other at every opportunity and are encouraged to grow in their jobs and meet personal and work goals. Hiring team players is crucial to maintaining a coaching culture, making pre-hiring assessments a key tool for identifying the people who are a best fit.
conversations in every direction
In a coaching culture, people share their knowledge and learning in the belief that collaboration produces exponential results. Before millennials, social media and pervasive technology, employees tended to jealously guard their innovative ideas out of fear someone else would steal them and get recognition or the targeted promotion.
In the workplace today, teamwork is critical to success.
Employees must be motivated, engaged, able to thrive in a dynamic work environment, collaborative and willing to share information, ideas, diverse perspectives and knowledge.
The ability to communicate effectively is at the core of a coaching culture. People hold conversations in every direction. Feedback flows back and forth, and up and down. Diverse perspectives and ideas are encouraged, shared and embraced. Collaborative decision-making drives innovation and performance. Not everyone who applies for a job in your business can excel in this kind of environment.
In fact, if you are in the process of developing a coaching culture, it is likely that some of your longer-term employees are struggling to adapt. Assessing existing employees to pinpoint the people who need further development in order to help them understand their new role in a coaching culture can close existing gaps. However, from this point on, you have the ideal opportunity to hire people who are good culture fits. These are people who:
- Will jump into their new jobs with alacrity and eagerly seek out collaborative opportunities
- Become coaching role models
- Have informal and/or formal leadership potential
- Lower the resistance to change that is often part of human nature
- Quickly become internal coaches
- Trigger the creative thinking and innovations so critical to competitive success
ignore culture fit at your company's peril
Many assessments are designed to identify specific skills and capabilities. Culture fit is often ignored. How can you assume a new hire will be successful if all you know is what the person did in the last job, or this is the person's first job, but you do not know whether the person is a culture fit, an important indicator of employee outcomes?
The cost of a poor culture fit is high. The Society for Human Resource Management's research found that it costs between 50-60 percent of a person's salary due to turnover when someone is hired who does not mesh with the organization's culture. Imagine the impact on a coaching culture when a new hire is an ineffective communicator, reacts poorly to feedback and is uncomfortable collaborating? The employee is not only a poor culture fit but is not going to perform well or stay long.
Beyond the skills assessment, the types of traits a new hire assessment can look for include, but are not limited to:
- Non-judgmental attitude
- Ability to ask empowering questions
- Empathetic listening skills
- What the person values in work
- Interest in teamwork
- Ability to successfully interact with diverse people
- Ability to problem solve, including collaboratively
painting a holistic picture of the new hire
There are various types of assessments that can paint a holistic picture of a potential new hire. Too many companies hire based solely on past performance, but what if the person worked for a company that impeded professional development or never gave the person opportunities to collaborate or join project teams? It is one reason companies are using pre-employment assessments with simulations that allow a job candidate to demonstrate the ability to problem solve and multi-task, assessments that measure culture alignment and personality assessments that assess characteristics concerning factors like motivational fit and social interaction.