Why Are Companies Afraid Of Career Coaching?

I recently saw Zappos offers employees $1,000 to leave. The idea is employees will quit if they are unhappy and use the money to go start their job search. I think this is brilliant. No disengaged workers on performance plan that drags out the termination process and drags down the employees around them. And yet, Zappos is the exception, not the norm. “We don’t want to risk them leaving.” Too late! A study came out recently that says 84% of workers plan to look for a new job in 2011. Another study came out that says job satisfaction is at a 23-year all-time low. And yet, I’ve talked to several HR executives recently who said they were reluctant to give their employees access to confidential career coaching. Their reason? They’ll be coached to leave us. Wow. So, you know they want to leave, studies show they want to leave, but instead of giving them resources that could potentially help them work through their frustrations and re-engage on the job, and you want to make sure they stay unhappy? Why are companies afraid of career coaching? Fact: Employees rarely share their frustrations with management or HR because they don’t want to risk getting in trouble or lowering their reputation. Instead, they vent to co-workers, family and friends. More importantly, they often take the misguided advice of these unqualified individuals and end up making the situation worse. Career coaching isn’t just about helping someone find a new job – we help people find love for their current job too! Executives are surprised to hear my first focus with an unhappy employee is to see what we can do to salvage the situation. Why? The employee has invested time and energy into building credibility in that company. Why waste valuable resources, relationships and experience? Starting over is a lot of work. I’d rather help the individual course-correct within their company. Now, if there is absolutely no way they can stay there, then yes, I will discuss how to find a new job, but I’ll also coach them on how to exit gracefully so they can keep the door open in the event they want to return some day. The fact is EVERY job is temporary. You just never know which employer may be worth going back to. Companies can’t guarantee jobs anymore. Why not give employees access to a resource that can prepare them should an unexpected lay-off or restructuring occur? Having worked with 100s of laid-off workers in the last few years, many complained of getting no outplacement services. The ones who did get them said they were outdated and ‘too little, too late.’ The results were some angry ex-employees who have made sure people know that their former employer treated them poorly. Companies have to recognize there are things they can do to help employees feel in control of their careers so that if their job ends, they can move on without blaming the company. Future Trend: Career HMO access at smart, talent-focused organizations will make recruiting easier. I believe companies as progressive as Zappos will adopt benefits that will help their employees see they are businesses-of-one who are responsible for their own career development. Accountability is an employee’s responsibility. That’s why organizations who offer services (i.e. a Career HMO) to help their employees develop their careers on their own terms will see great results. Think about it: Would you want to work for a company that is so confident in its corporate culture and treatment of staff it encourages them to work with professionals to get the guidance they need to stay happy and engaged? Hmmm. Sounds like a great place to work to me. So, what do you think? Would you want to work for a company that offered FREE access to career coaches via a Career HMO? What do you think will need to happen for companies to finally see the value of offering this as a benefit to current (and former) employees? I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts below. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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