Why coaching your staff is key to success 

Former LegoVice President Andrew Bollington once said that lifelong learning had shifted from being something which was optional to becoming essential for success in the workplace and he questioned why given our access to knowledge there continued to be skills gaps in the workplace. 

It’s a fair question. We do have access to knowledge at the click of a button these days as the internet allows most of us living on the planet to type questions into Google on any subject and quickly be offered a list of answers.

Despite this, not all employers appreciate the value of continuing to educate and upskill their workforce.

“Being educated is no longer about how much you know, but about having the skills and motivation for lifelong learning so that you can learn new knowledge whenever you need to,” Bollington wrote. 

Applying this logic, it makes sense to invest in your staff so they have the knowledge and skills to help drive your business forward as technology, thinking and work practices shift.

When I accepted the role of General Manager, Projects & Operations with Davidson, I revisited many of the recruitment foundations with the team through a training program, leaving no gaps in what they knew and what I thought they knew.  

I understood and appreciated the depth and breadth of experience we already had and wanted to make sure we were tapping into that collectively by building on it. I find group training sessions encourage sharing, allowing us all the benefit of learning from each other’s experience. 

The training I held with the team was equivalent to a high-level, fast-track graduate program to ensure all my consultants have had access to all the basic training which is paramount to success in our industry. A lot of the graduates in our industry start when they're in their early 20s and I’m not convinced they retain everything they have learned at university; that’s a feat beyond most of us.

Our training looked at everything from candidate and client control, to how to close a client, the power of relationships and other basic recruitment foundations. We did this with team members of all experience levels, where each person was coached according to the skill and knowledge they possessed. 

For some team members, it was a journey to shift their understanding from thinking recruitment is just people and policies, to the understanding that there is a strong sales element to what we do. For others it was helping them refine techniques such as their personal brand and communication skills. 

I had a recent training session with graduates where we went through the process of what to do when a candidate tells you they are looking for A, B, C and D and once they are put forward for just such a role, they get cold feet. We talked about selling their story back to them, reminding them what they wanted in the first place.

When we foster an environment where we encourage our team members to enjoy a journey of life-long discovery and learning, we give them the confidence to take clients on the same journey encouraging them to try new ways of working.

Our construction and property clients are moving towards working on a retained basis with us. If I had been told three years ago that would be happening, I hand on heart wouldn’t have believed it but know it’s the result of our vision and strong client relationships, allowing us to navigate new terrain successfully together. 

By taking in some of the accumulated knowledge we had, notably in the Executive and Boards space where the retained model is often favoured, we were able to successfully deliver a similar retained model for clients in the construction and property market.

By keeping ourselves open to lifelong learning it helps us as consultants to grow within our roles, be more nimble when responding to changes and have the confidence ourselves to be the business coach our clients often need us to be.

By Kylie Ringelstein 
General Manager, Projects & Operations (Queensland) at Davidson