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April 2010

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Welcome to this edition of our regular monthly Business Performance newsletter. Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt completed the merger of their two companies earlier this year. Towers Watson, the new merged entity, continues the tradition of researching the world of work. In this issue, we summarize for you the findings of the Towers Watson 2010 Global Workforce Study. We also present for you two resource articles that can help you implement the advice that emerges from this crucial report.

Industry News in Brief

Between November 2009 and January 2010, Towers Watson surveyed 20,000 full-time employees in 22 markets around the globe. Their report reveals the deep impact of the recent financial storms on the employer-employee relationship. In summary, the findings of their 2010 Global Workforce Study include:

  • worker mobility is at a decade-long low point
  • employees’ strongest desire is for security and stability
  • employees see themselves as being responsible for their long-term financial and physical health and well-being
  • employees see themselves as being chiefly responsible for their careers and performance
  • significant numbers of employees are sacrificing career growth for job security
  • employees want more freedom and flexibility in their work
  • employees’ confidence in leaders and managers is disturbingly low
  • employees see their leaders and managers as poor in interpersonal skills
Read more

What does this say for the way you manage your employees in this post-GFC environment? 2 Way Feedback e-bookDifferentiate yourself as an employer by equipping your managers with the communication and interpersonal skills needed to engage your employees and help them stay committed. Why not make the most of our easy to read e-book, 2 Way Feedback, as a management resource to help your managers start those crucial conversations with employees. Download now!

That employees desire more flexibility in their work is an important conclusion from the Towers Watson study. Our first article this month outlines some of the work/life balance programs that have worked to improve employee morale and productivity. Our second article this month looks at another important outcome of the study. And that is how to help managers tune into the needs of their reports and coach them to success. Enjoy!

Business Performance on TwitterKeep up with the latest industry news by following us on Twitter and becoming a Business Performance fan on Facebook. Business Performance on FacebookAs an added bonus, you'll be getting our daily online management tips.

Work/Life Balance Is Just Good Business!

by Victor Pryles

It would be nice to think that the companies on the leading edge of work/life balance programs are simply being good citizens and doing the right thing! But, the fact is that these programs make good business sense.

In addition to increased productivity and employee satisfaction, companies can retain valuable employees in a competitive environment, and attract new employees with these programs.

Every generation in the workforce today reports that work and life balance is one of the top issues for them and that they want to work in a company that supports their desire to have more balance in their life.

Whatever the reason for the movement, we should be glad it is upon us. Who are the companies with programs, what do the programs look like and what results have they achieved?

You might be surprised to know that these companies cut across all industries in the private and the public sector. Here are some examples of program components:

Click here to read the full article.

Turning Managers into Coaches - A New Trend in Organizations

by David Rock

A global company recently showed me their new performance management system. Every manager now had a detailed set of competencies defining their role, clearly defined goals and performance measures, and a quarterly performance review program. It was all web based, so management in the US could, at the touch of a button or two, find out exactly how badly their people were performing anywhere in the world at any time. At this point the company realized they had gone as far as they could in identifying performance - now they had to do something about it. The logical conclusion they came to was they needed to turn their managers into coaches.

Many organizations and government departments have been having this same realization lately. The interest in coaching as a skill set for managers, as a tool for organizational success, or even as a key part of organizational culture, has been increasing dramatically in the last several years. A survey of 280 leading UK companies found 93% of managers believe that coaching should be available to all employees, regardless of seniority.

One factor in this increased interest is the success of external coaches working at senior levels in organizations. Estimates are that over 4,000 executives and professionals have undergone professional coaching in Australia since it's emergence in the mid 90's. Executives are seeing the benefits of coaching for themselves and saying 'hey, if only all our people were as inspired and focused as I am.' Rather than trying to hire teams of coaches at high hourly rates, they are building internal coaching teams. These teams are surprisingly diverse and often include HR people, but also certain managers and executives with the right competencies.

Another factor in the growth of this field is the general state of management skills in Australia. It is still standard practice for managers to be promoted for their technical skills rather than their ability to lead and inspire their people. In company surveys, workers are consistently complaining about 4 key issues: They don't know what is expected of them, they don't get the quality of feedback they need, they don't feel appreciated, and they're not getting support to develop in their career. These are all key coaching skills, skills that are not generally taught in the business schools.

The other big factor is the nature of work and the work environment. Workplaces are demanding ever higher performance. Companies are hiring bright, motivated and committed people. These people are being paid to think for themselves, to innovate. The challenge is that thinkers need a new type of manager. They need resources not roadblocks, sources of inspiration not sources of frustration. Theodore Zeldin, a leading global philosopher, said recently 'Finding colleagues who, like lovers and friends, are inspiring rather than boring or dominating is increasingly a priority'.

So coaching is certainly gaining momentum in the corporate arena. It's being talked about from the boardroom and HR department to the factory floor. However turning managers into coaches is no easy feat. There can be extensive challenges to deal with. You may be dealing with people who are very comfortable with a directive style, who may see no reason to change. People who have technical brilliance but minimal sensitivity to people issues. People who have long standing habits in how they communicate, delegate, direct and advise. A recent study by the Mount Eliza Institute points to the challenges in this area. They found ‘coaching staff’ in the top 5 challenges for management today.

Click here to read the full article.

Managing Change in the Workplace: A Practical GuideIf you are thinking about implementing a ‘manager as coach’ program in your organization, or any other type of program, avoid the common pitfalls of introducing change. Check out our popular Managing Change in the Workplace. To find out more, visit the Guide’s product page and download today.

Visit our website at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what’s on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.


In This Issue
Industry News in Brief

Work/Life Balance Is Just Good Business!

Turning Managers into Coaches
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