Career Coaching Helps Both You and Your Employees
Career coaching is an important tool that can help you obtain the best performance from your employees while also meeting your lab's goals. As your own experience highlights the benefits to learn and excel, taking on more responsibility is a critical motivator for employees. So, the more you are able to assist the development of their career aspirations, the more you will both benefit.
Their Career—Your Lab's Goals
To help your employees develop and work to realize a specific career path, take a personal interest in their goals and help them identify the steps toward achievable milestones. Clear and regular communication will help your employees advance.
Train to the Top
Regular training programs enable empoloyees to burnish the skills they have and add new skills and knowledge. And the good news is you already have a regimen of regular training that you can institute as an integral part of your lab's strategic plan.
Your lab's plan develops a workplace culture that highlights the importance of continuous learning through eLearning, designated study times, in-person and online training options, and opportunities to attend conferences. These regular occasions for both individual study and more formal online or in-person training accentuate your commitment to bettering your employees' skills and interests.
In addition, these opportunities can be incorporated into your lab's work process and schedule to support your staff's continued growth and success.
Make it Real with Mentoring
When it comes to career coaching, you don't need to do it all by yourself. You've got a staff with varying levels of experience, so you can call on more experienced employees who can act as mentors, allowing less-experienced colleagues to job shadow.
Senior staff members are an excellent resource as they can provide insights derived from real-world experience, taking the abstract details and showing others how to apply technology to complex problems.
A related tactic can be to periodically rotate your employees' roles. This can help staffers practice new skills and gain a deeper, more practical understanding of the various aspects of your lab's operation. At the same time, your lab will likely benefit from having a more comprehensively-trained workforce.
Communicate a Career Growth Pathway
Articulating your career development philosophy is an important part of career coaching, and that means starting when employees are newly hired and continuing throughout the duration of their employment at your lab. To that end, you should have a document for all employee files that provides an overview of your lab's career coaching opportunities and includes an outline of the training opportunities and accompanying levels of achievement that are available. As the employee progresses, their file should also include a record of the trainings completed and levels achieved as well as a clear articulation of how those achievements relate to potential promotions in your lab or to the employee's broader career aspirations.
Performance reviews are yet another aspect of your lab's regular operation that dovetails nicely with your career coaching responsibilities. They provide opportunities to discuss your employees' progress, both as it relates to how they are meeting their responsibilities to your lab and how they are progressing toward their overall career goals.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Career coaching is an exercise in helping your employees steadily add new skills and experience while also helping them look ahead to survey their opportunities for new career challenges and opportunities. At the same time, you want them to maintain their focus on their immediate responsibilities.
To maintain both the long and short views, make sure to highlight regularly how your employees' performance is critical to your lab's continued success. Point to the lab's progress toward specific objectives and how their individual efforts are helping to move the business forward. Nothing breeds motivation like success.
Finally, as with any of your lab's programs, be sure to track your success as a career coach. In addition to relying on consistent communication with individual employees, you can conduct periodic, lab-wide surveys to gauge your employees' satisfaction with both their progress and your efforts to help them.