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Why coaching should be your new retention strategy

Apr 24, 2023

The labor market continues to be one of the greatest challenges construction firms are facing.

Employee expectations for flexible, hybrid work are driving more workers toward fast-growing industries such as healthcare. And as the baby boomer generation retires, competition for effective leadership and positions throughout your organization will center on a shrinking labor pool.

In these times, creating a working environment that will help you keep your employees engaged is crucial. Your people need to feel valued, with clear paths for growth and development within your firm.

For construction firms, coaching for leadership can be a powerful way to increase engagement and productivity at all levels of your organization.

How coaching benefits leadership

At the upper levels of your firm, executive coaching helps you identify effective leaders and develop the skills they need to be successful.

Leadership transitions often involve high-paying positions, so any mistakes in hiring can be expensive. Executive coaching can help your organization identify when someone isn’t suited for leadership. And it can help new leaders develop the skills they need to grow successfully into their roles.

It’s not uncommon for leadership in construction to be more technical oriented than people oriented. Those technical skills are necessary; however, getting the project completed on time and under budget is all about setting clear goals, leading people and getting them to work together.

Executive coaching helps you build more well-rounded leaders by developing their emotional intelligence. Coaching asks them to consider not only what they are working on personally but also how that work impacts all the people who count on them.

How coaching helps you retain talent

The tone of your leadership determines retention at the other levels of your firm. People stay in an organization because they feel like the leadership cares about them and works to create paths for them to grow and develop.

If your leaders aren’t creating that type of positive workplace culture, here are three ways coaching can help:

1. Support development

One effective strategy for increasing employee retention is offering better, more visible career development. When employees feel like they have an opportunity to develop and grow with your organization, they’re more likely to remain engaged.

Coaching helps leaders look at how to create a culture that values talent development, encouraging people to continue to learn and grow. It also helps them understand how to have those initial conversations with their direct reports about future goals and career paths.

2. Encourage empathy

Empathy helps keep your people engaged by making them feel understood. When people feel like a leader recognizes where they are, they’re going to be more willing to work for that individual.

However, empathy shouldn’t be limited to simply understanding other people’s feelings and perspectives — it’s an active process. Leaders need to listen to and ask questions about what their people are feeling. They also need to be able to express their real, authentic selves in sharing their own feelings.

Coaching helps leaders develop those skills. Qualities such as empathy and self-awareness can both be practiced, creating leaders who are willing to be vulnerable and have more authentic discussions with their direct reports.

3. Increase diversity

Attracting and retaining a more diverse roster of talent is another way firms can address the labor shortage.

For the first time, women are more likely to graduate college than men. Since they make up half of the workforce, they represent a large potential talent pool, especially in trades, where women still only represent 3.9% of workers.

But if your leadership can’t demonstrate a diverse mindset, women and people of color won’t feel they have a place in your firm. Coaching can help ensure that as you diversify your talent, you’re creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels accepted.

How Wipfli can help

If your firm wants to retain talent, let Wipfli offer support. Our executive coaching services can guide the development of your high-performing talent and help your current leaders reach their full potential. With our strategies, you can create a workplace culture with higher engagement and lower turnover.

Contact us today for more on how we can help your firm create a strong leadership team.

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Tom Cox
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Tony Smith, CPC, PI, EQ-I
Senior Manager, Organizational Performance
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