One simple management method can help increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention: coaching.
As a manager, you give employees the direction and instruction they need to do their jobs. But as a coach, you have the opportunity to support and motivate employees to keep them engaged and excited about their work.
Workplace coaching is a philosophy that emphasizes frequent, two-way communication between managers and employees. Coaching ensures that employees don’t just know the mechanics of their job, but they also feel confident and knowledgeable in their position.
Benefits of Coaching
Here are all the ways coaching can help your employees and your business.
A Gallup report found that 68 percent of employees are either not engaged at their jobs or actively disengaged. The main reason that employees leave their companies is that they don’t have a good relationship with their manager.
Because replacing an employee can be costly, coaching your employees is an important way to keep them engaged with their work and develop a good rapport with them as a manager.
According to Training Magazine, when you coach employees, you build trust and help them invest their time and talents in their work. With frequent one-on-one sessions, you’ll be able to spot which employees are less invested in their work and can set goals that make them more excited for their job.
A study took a group of workers and put them through the same training program. One group was sent on their merry way after the training was over, and the other group received regular coaching afterward.
The results found employees in the group that received coaching were more likely to be able to identify issues and come up with solutions than the group that didn’t receive coaching. They were cooler under pressure and were better at coming up with new ideas.
In a stressful environment like a pharmacy, the ability to stay cool during busy times is invaluable, and coaching can give your employees the confidence to take control of their responsibilities.
Research from the City and Guilds Group in the UK found that coaching was one of the best ways to boost employee productivity.
The group asked employees about their experiences in the workplace, and 84 percent said they thought businesses should offer coaching to their employees. Coaching is especially critical during periods of change (like a new job) and people who didn’t receive coaching during a change were less confident in their work.
That means that when employees don’t receive coaching, they aren’t set up to perform to the best of their abilities and productivity suffers.
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How to Coach Successfully
As a coach, you will work together with employees to empower them in their job and set them up for success in the pharmacy. Apply these principles to become a reliable workplace coach.
Don’t mistake coaching for training
Before you start coaching in the pharmacy, one thing that is important to understand is that it’s different from training.
Training is what you do when you are introducing employees to new processes and ideas. You train a new employee during onboarding or you train current employees to keep them up to date on things like inspection procedures.
Coaching, on the other hand, is ongoing. It’s something that you should be doing throughout an employee’s tenure at your pharmacy. Unlike training, it doesn’t have to be formal or structured. Instead, you should be consistently checking in with employees to help them develop their skills or improve their performance in the workplace.
Create a feedback culture
The most crucial part of coaching is always providing feedback.
Feedback can be awkward, but it’s something your employees want. They want to know if they are on the right track and what they can do to get on the right track if they aren’t.
The more you provide feedback, the less awkward it becomes. Give feedback on a scheduled basis, like in one-on-one meetings with your staff members, but also give it during the course of the day whenever the need arises.
Remember, this applies to both positive and negative feedback. If you’re only providing negative feedback, employees can get discouraged, so be sure to point out when employees are doing something well in addition to pointing out things that could be improved.
When employees are regularly hearing what they are doing right and what they need to fix, they are able to push themselves to perform at the top of their game.
Listen to employees
If you’re giving directives but not having much conversation, you won’t be a very successful coach. At its best, coaching is a collaboration.
When you give feedback, treat it like a conversation rather than a mandate. Your employee may have a better solution in mind or ideas for how to improve pharmacy workflow in a way that benefits everyone.
If an employee isn’t volunteering ideas, ask for their opinion. By asking for feedback, you can create an open dialogue and make your staff members feel like they have a voice in the workplace.
Encourage trial and error
When you see an employee struggling with a task, it might be tempting to take the reins from them and get it done yourself. But if you have a coaching mindset, that kind of behavior is a big “no.”
Instead, if you see an employee having trouble, go help them. Talk them through the process, but let them be in control. Use leading questions to help them navigate the process on their own. While taking over and doing a task yourself may be faster in the short-term, in the long-term, coaching employees through a process will ensure they actually learn.
For some pharmacy tasks, you can’t risk patient safety and privacy. For other tasks, it’s okay to let staff members experiment until they get something right. They may even discover a more efficient process when they are using trial and error.
Work with your employees to set appropriate goals. Staff members should have goals that are individual to them, but as a manager, you can also make sure all employees are generally working in the same direction. If your goal as a business is to improve patient retention, you can set goals for employees that align with this mission.
These goals may involve pushing your employees out of their comfort zone. The goals you set shouldn’t be gimmes — they should challenge employees to put in their best efforts. If you make it too easy, employees won’t grow and they could become disengaged.
Once the goals are set, don’t just expect employees to achieve them. Be an active coach throughout, helping them find solutions and encouraging them to succeed.
An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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