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what’s the ROI of workplace coaching? employees hold the answer.

what’s the ROI of workplace coaching? employees hold the answer

The value of workplace coaching lies in what it can do for employees. Therefore, the investment made by an organization isn’t in the coaching program itself, but rather in the well-being of the employees for whom it’s made available.

In that sense, calculating the “return” on this investment begins with realizing how workplace coaching can positively impact the workforce as a whole, followed by the “trickle down” benefits the organization gains as a result.

in this work climate, can you afford to not invest in coaching?

Workplace coaching has a positive impact on organizations because it has a positive impact on employees. Those who participate in coaching have been known to experience increased engagement at work, a stronger sense of  belonging, and a feeling that the organization supports their career goals. They have also recognized an opportunity for improved internal mobility. 

More than ever, this type of employee happiness and satisfaction can have a significant impact on business success. Organizations can no longer afford to overlook their workforce’s sentiment related to growth and development. And, right now, that sentiment could use a boost. 

Consider this: 66 percent of employees would leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated; 50 percent of workers feel stressed at their jobs on a daily basis; and only three in 10 employees strongly agree that in the last seven days they have received recognition for doing good work. For these reasons, it’s not surprising that workers have been looking for greener pastures or finding ways to put forth less effort, like embracing the “quiet quitting” phenomenon. 

According to a poll by the Society for Human Resource Management, of the HR pros concerned it will negatively impact their organization, 70% believe it will decrease employee productivity and 50% believe it will decrease the quality of employee work products.

And though “quiet quitting” may be a fad term, the idea that employees lose interest and, as a result, put in less effort is not. This happens all the time, and companies with an apathetic workforce ultimately pay a high price. As Gallup points out, disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity—that's equal to 11 percent of global GDP. For U.S. organizations alone, the cost is around $440-550 billion every year. An investment in workplace coaching can help offset the cost, and toll, of employee dissatisfaction. 

workplace coaching ROI: it’s about results, not numbers

Adopting workplace coaching requires an investment and business approval so, naturally, company leaders will want proof of a return on this investment. However, demonstrating that gains have been reaped means thinking outside the percentage-points box.  

It begins with understanding what workforce coaching is meant to accomplish. The biggest takeaway here is that it’s not about changing employee behavior or measuring behavior modifications as a benchmark for success. Employees aren’t something broken that needs to be fixed. Effective workplace coaching programs understand this and are built on the foundation that workers are human beings who may have challenges that hold them back from thriving in their careers. Workplace coaching can help them break through these barriers and demonstrate how they can have a positive impact on situations that may seem outside of their control. Coaching can also provide employees with concrete tactics and coping mechanisms to help address conflicts or change. 

Another key takeaway is that workplace coaching isn’t definitively a measurable magic bullet. And it cannot instantly fix your retention or engagement issues. The cause and effect of a coaching program is more nuanced, as it’s one of the primary tools in your employee development toolbox that can create an overall positive experience for your workforce. Coaching can drive retention, engagement and employee satisfaction, and can work in tandem with other workplace offerings to have a direct impact on employees and an indirect impact on every other facet of the organization. 

your organization is unique. so is your measure of success.

If hard and fast quantitative numbers aren’t the only go-to proof of workplace coaching success, what else is? Qualitative measures are also a telling benchmark. They demonstrate coaching’s impact on employees, especially as it relates to business objectives. 

But before you can determine if you’ve achieved your goals, you must define them. At the onset of your workplace coaching rollout, be sure to establish which qualitative results will define whether your initiative is ultimately deemed a worthwhile endeavor. For instance, some companies are concerned with improving employee mobility, others with DEI, workforce engagement, or leadership development.

Once a coaching program has been in place for a decent period of time—long enough to ensure employees have heard about it and had ample opportunity to participate—solicit sentiment from your workforce as a whole. Ask a handful of questions - for example, in your next pulse survey - and use the responses as benchmarks against the qualitative metrics you hoped to achieve.

For instance, if your qualitative measure is “people are more inclined to stay,” you’ll want to track employee sentiment around feeling supported at work and having an opportunity to grow. Positive feelings around these statements signal the greater likelihood that workers will remain at your company, which ultimately improves retention and reduces replacement costs leading to a better bottom line. 

With this in mind, metrics that signal success could include employees saying they: 

  • Are satisfied with their coaching experience and it gives them a positive impression of their employer
  • Feel more supported in their careers
  • Feel more included in actively achieving the company’s mission
  • Feel a greater chance to grow within the organization
  • Feel they have support that is personalized to their needs and career goals
  • Have a more favorable perception about the company and its culture
  • Are proud to work for the company

In the end, a positive employee reaction to workforce coaching might look different for every company, but the side effects are the same—a happier workforce that, tangentially, impacts productivity, efficiency, and profitability. 

employee satisfaction is your bottom line

70 percent of people who receive coaching benefit from improved work performance, better relationships, and more effective communication skills. By investing in workplace coaching, organizations are laying the groundwork to have a positive, ongoing effect on operations, both now and well into the future.  

  • Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6x more likely to perform to the best of their abilities.
  • The behaviors of highly engaged business units result in a 23 percent difference in profitability.
  • Companies with a highly engaged workforce scored 17 percent higher on productivity.
  • Of companies that have the best corporate cultures, encourage all-around leadership initiatives, and highly appreciate their employees, customers and owners grew 682 percent in revenue.

Improved performance and greater profitability are but a few of the by-default benefits that can occur when workforces are more content. Workplace coaching is one of the tools that can help build a more satisfied workforce. The ROI is there, you just have to know where to look. After all, 86 percent of companies feel they more than recouped their investment in coaching.