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Careers Unbound: Career Coaching in Today's World

Cornerstone Editors

Following a traditional career path is no longer a road to success. The reality is that navigating today’s ever-changing work landscape requires a far more proactive, choose-your-own-adventure approach. But companies can—and should—do far more to help provide guidance and opportunities to employees who are figuring out their professional lives.

While it was once relatively common for an employee to work at a single organization for 40 years, rising slowly up the corporate ladder, it’s now rare for workers to spend their entire professional lives at one company. In fact, according to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, employees hold an average of 12 jobs in their lifetimes. And this trend will only continue. "Estimates today are that a young person could have 16-17 different jobs across five different industries," says author and future of work strategist Heather McGowan.

Then there are the ripple effects of COVID-19 to consider. Thirty percent of college grads are now rethinking their industry of choice, including moving away from NGOs and fields like hospitality and tourism, according to a recent study. Meanwhile, another 30% are considering taking a gap year. And anecdotal evidence suggests that a number of current employees are switching gears to tackle entirely new roles and responsibilities as company needs and goals have suddenly shifted as a result of the pandemic.

One thing’s for sure: Resumes are going to look a whole lot different moving forward, with skips and hops becoming even more commonplace and widely accepted. Given our volatile working world (further fueled by advances in technology and automation), how can companies help employees create a personalized vision and direction for their future that’s not necessarily tied to a traditional upward trajectory?

Transforming Managers Into Coaches

While frequent job jumping is becoming more of the norm, it’s not only the result of outside forces. Unfortunately, many individuals simply feel disconnected from their work, with 51% actively looking for a new job or watching job openings, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report. Managers have the power to change this; after all, they account for a whopping 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. But moving the needle will require them to take time to focus on the unique strengths and interests of their reports.

As opposed to micromanaging tasks or dwelling on ways to fix individual shortcomings (so that everyone on the team checks the same success boxes), managers should have more regular, in-depth check-ins with employees to discuss their professional goals and challenges as well as projects and positions that might interest them. And instead of formally evaluating, managers must build trust by acting more like coaches: asking open-ended questions, actively listening and guiding individuals toward solutions that play to their strengths. In this way, they’ll encourage individuals to take a more active role in their own development journey while simultaneously honing those workers’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The result? Happier, more engaged employees and greater internal mobility.

And it’s not just the employees who benefit from this adjusted approach. Research shows that organizations whose leaders successfully empower others through coaching are nearly four times more likely to make fast, good decisions and outperform their industry peers. But it will take more than just desire and a serious time investment to make these meaningful conversations and professional relationships possible—and effective.

AI-Powered Digital Coaching Tools

To identify an employee’s various capabilities and provide them with the right development opportunities, companies will greatly benefit from the use of AI-powered digital coaching tools. This smart technology can make recommendations for growth (like relevant training sessions, projects or open roles) based on skills courses that an employee has completed or shown interest in. As a result, that individual may stumble across a position or department they had never considered before but would be a great fit for their talents, keeping them engaged and invested in the company.

This nonlinear path may seem unusual, but today’s workers are motivated by professional growth opportunities and not necessarily a promotion or a bigger paycheck. According to research from Cornerstone, 89% of workers across generations said they would consider making a lateral career move with no financial incentive. Meanwhile, analyst Josh Bersin found that companies who effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders over an extended period of time.

By constantly evaluating the skill sets of employees and providing them with continuous opportunities to learn (an approach known as new skilling), companies can not only develop industry-leading talent but also an exceptionally adaptable workforce. But it’s just as important for employees to hone their soft skills as critical as their technical skills. Luckily, XR specialists like Talespin are building immersive learning programs that coach users how to effectively respond in professional scenarios that require empathy, problem-solving and purposeful inquiry, among other leadership skills.

"We're seeing retention of core concepts go up by over 200%, and they typically stick for two to three times as long," says Talespin CEO Kyle Jackson. "People start making different connections than they would have if they had been in e-learning or video- or classroom-based learning."

Paired with more constructive, open-ended conversations with managers, these trail-blazing, AI-driven technologies will help to upskill employees and propel them into challenging, satisfying careers. No roads required.

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4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy

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4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy

Social media is ubiquitous, and companies are using it in many different and innovative ways for enhancing their sales, marketing and customer services. So why is it then that many HR departments still fail to see social media as more than a job board? Outside of the office, the same HR people happily engage with friends on Facebook, share news and ideas on Twitter, look at pictures on Instagram and send snaps on Snapchat. But when they put their work hat on they seemingly forget why they use social in the way they (and hundreds of millions of other users) do every day, and resort back to just posting jobs (in a boring way) on social media! Of course there is nothing wrong with job posting, and it's often an effective approach to reaching an audience, but not all of the time. According to LinkedIn, only 12 percent of the working population are actively seeking new employment. So, if all you do is post jobs on your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, you are consciously ignoring the other 88 percent of the working population who might be interested in hearing more about your company in general. Creating and sharing interesting content about your company such as employee stories or volunteer days help bring your employer brand to life. It might even trigger people to reach out to you and find out more about your job opportunities. In truth, mixing up your social media feeds with a variety of content will provide more depth and candidate engagement. Here are four ways to expand your social media strategy and engage with new potential candidates. 1) Candidate Sourcing With people using an average of more than five social networks, sourcing talent via social media makes absolute sense. Branch out from just using LinkedIn and look to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to search for and engage with prospective talent. Try search tools like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords and job titles, a clever Chrome browser extension called Intelligence Search that easily searches Facebook and using the search bar at the top of Google+. They will help you identify new talent. If you are looking to build social media pipelines then try Hello Talent. It is a great free tool that allows you to build talent pipelines from many different social networks by using a browser extension. 2) Competitor Monitoring Social media is a fantastic source of information and data. By using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, you can monitor the social media activity of your competitors. Both of these tools allow you to set up search columns, where you can enter things like keywords, hashtags, Twitter names and track when any of these are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. You can use the interact or use the insights accordingly. 3) Resources for Candidates Consider your Facebook page (or Twitter channel) as a real-time customer services channel for you to engage and communicate with both new and existing candidates in the recruitment process. Provide links to your social media pages to candidates at all stages in the process and encourage them to visit the pages and ask questions about any part of the process. You can also share useful information about working for the company, including locations, employees and other relevant news. 4) Live Recruitment Events Not everyone can attend the many recruitment events happening every month. But by using social media like Twitter, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, you can easily provide live commentary for these events you attend or host. Real-time video via Facebook Live and interaction via Twitter chats are superb examples of ways to regularly engage with a live audience of potential candidates. With social media firmly established in our working lives, I question how much more evidence HR departments will need to fully embrace this "new" form of candidate engagement. Photo: Twenty20

Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting

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Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting

Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Missed the Recruiting Trends conference? From the state of recruiting automation adoption, to the role that the human element still plays in recruiting, our recap covers everything you need to know. Header photo: Creative Commons

The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt

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The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt

Modern companies are more than just employers — increasingly, they are also gyms, cafeterias and even laundromats. As perks like yoga class, free lunch and complimentary dry cleaning become the norm, companies continue to push the boundaries on ways to attract and retain top talent by providing much more than a paycheck to employees. The latest in the slew of new workplace benefits? Student loan assistance. In April, Chegg partnered with to give full-time employees extra cash for student loan reduction. Then in September, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced it would provide up to $1,200 to help employees pay off loans annually. As a benefit, student loan assistance programs are certainly still in their infancy— one survey found that only 3 percent of companies offer such a benefit. But experts say that may soon change as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a competitive hiring environment. "We think student loan benefits are poised to be the next big benefit; similar to what 401(k) matching was when it was first introduced," says Dana Rosenberg, who leads employer and affinity group partnerships at Earnest, a lender that offers student loan refinancing and works with companies to create loan pay-down programs. The Burden of Student Debt Such programs could be extremely attractive to debt-laden Millennials. Around 40 million Americans collectively carry $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, and the graduating class of 2015 was the most indebted class in history with an average debt of $35,000 (a superlative they won't hold for long come May 2016.) For employers looking to adjust benefits to correspond to the changing demographics of their employee base, student loan programs hit the mark. "In 2016, our employees will be 80 percent millennials, and we also hire close to 11,000 employees directly out of school each year," says Terri McClements, Washington Metro managing partner of PwC. With student debt often preventing young people from participating in 401(k) plans and reaching traditional life milestones, the benefit could potentially make a large impact on employees' financial and personal well-being. A study from the American Student Association found that 73 percent of people with student loans reported putting off saving for retirement or other investments due to their debt, 75 percent reported delaying a home purchase and 27 percent reported it was difficult to buy daily necessities. "Student loans can be a very stressful thing to deal with, so if we can give our employees peace of mind, that's great," says Caroline Gennaro, corporate communications manager at Chegg. The Allure for Employers Student debt assistance programs aren't just attractive to employees, either. Rosenberg says there are significant benefits for the organizations that offer them as well. "Employers that offer programs to help their employees get out from under their debt load are seeing big benefits: increased retention, more competitive recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, happier employees who have additional cash flow to put towards their life goals," Rosenberg explains. Rosenberg says happier employees are more engaged employees, who tend to be more productive. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement experience lower turnover and have double the rate of organizational success than their less-engaged counterparts. Student loan benefit programs may also lead to a more diverse workforce, attracting employees whose financial backgrounds meant they had to take on more debt for their education. "Diversity and inclusion are also very important to us, so the ability to offer this benefit can help minorities who come out of school with a higher debt burden," says McClements. A Promising Response Companies say the response to their student loan assistance programs have been overwhelmingly positive. Chegg has had more than 80 people sign up since they started their program this summer, and they've already eliminated roughly 86 years of collective loan repayments for their employees. Companies are also finding these programs are a way to differentiate themselves from organizations that may offer more generic benefits. "As a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest in the industry, and this benefit is a big draw," says Gennaro. Photo: Shutterstock

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