Developing a coaching culture to manage expectations and improve employee retention

Our client is a multinational petrochemicals corporation with European Business Centres. Based in Texas, they are one of the largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies, and use technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. They are one of the world’s largest integrated refiners, marketers of petroleum products and chemical manufacturers. Primeast ran a 2 year programme that managed employee expectations and improved employee retention, with the result that employee attrition dropped by more than 10%.

The Brief

The client moved from a regional back office system to create 11 centres of expertise around the world, one of which was located in the Czech Republic. This particular Support Centre had a global remit for many of its functions, and as such new recruits were multi-lingual graduates with high expectations. The client is process oriented and has many controls to ensure that processes work effectively. As a result, even though promotion opportunities did exist there had been a high rate of attrition as a result of perceived expectations not being met. The challenge was to create a more open, inclusive and encouraging culture as a means of managing expectations and improving employee retention. Primeast were asked to help managers and supervisors develop coaching skills as a means of encouraging dialogue as an alternative to a “command and control” style.

Our Solution

Primeast developed and rolled out a mixture of coaching skills workshops and 1:1 coaching experiences over a period of two years. Initially, the senior manager was coached to kick-off the programme, whilst also receiving more individual coaching themselves, before subsequently getting involved in coaching others. A two day coaching skills workshop was also run for them and their immediate team, with the management team receiving a 1:1 coaching session before coaching anyone else, a pattern that was also repeated for the next management tier of supervisors.

On a quarterly basis from then on, two day interventions were run to support the coaching approach via 1:1 coaching for all managers or supervisors, and observation and feedback for managers or supervisors actively involved in coaching someone else. The feedback method involved both the coach and their coachee, enabling both parties to learn from the experience.

The Results

At the Support Centre in the Czech Republic, employee attrition has dropped by more than 10%, and continued to fall past the 2 year period of the intervention. Employee satisfaction ratings and morale in the Centre were also both much improved. The visible success of making coaching part of the way of managing for most managers and supervisors is such that the client rolled out similar programmes globally in several of the centres of expertise. Holding a Global Enabling Agreement as a preferred partner, Primeast continues to work with this client around the world.

Follow this link for a video in which retired Primeast Chairman John Campbell discusses introducing a coaching culture, and some of the benefits this could have for your organisation.