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Unlocking Potential with Internships & Coaching

Unlocking Potential with Internships & Coaching

Learning to think from inside and outside the organization

This is Blog Post #6 in my Cohesion CultureTalent Retention Model newsletter series. If you haven't already done so, click to read thefirst,second,thirdfourth, and fifthin the series.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Talent Retention Model Series. This comprehensive framework is designed to help organizations cultivate a cohesive culture that attracts, retains, and develops top talent. The model is built on the premise that a strong, unified organizational culture is key to employee satisfaction and long-term success.

The Talent Retention Model is designed to create a work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and committed to the organization's mission. By focusing on relating, learning, and leading, the model ensures that employees are not only retained but are also motivated to contribute their best to theirs and the organization’s success.

Talent Retention Model

As mentioned in the previous blog post, you learned that the three primary components of the relating prong are mentoring, organizational leadership, and leadership coaching.

Today, we finish the series by sharing more about the final two components: Organizational Internship and Leadership Coaching.

Component #2: Organizational Internship

The second aspect of the relating prong deals with organizational internship. Not to be confused with the traditional type of internship that provides learning opportunities for external candidates, this program is internal. As the organization builds momentum with forming a cohesion-infused culture, an organizational internship program provides an opportunity for individuals to put their knowledge to use.

Organizational internships work in tandem with mentoring. A well known best practice is for interns to take what they have learned from the acquisition or transfer of knowledge activities and meld it with their mentoring experience through a hands on activity. Mentoring provides the opportunity to discuss and examine what is being learned, while an organizational internship provides the opportunity to put what is learned into action.

Career services counseling is one specific HR practice necessary to support an organizational internship initiative. The career coach meets with individuals throughout the organization and helps them define how they can best be used in a meaningful role. As we’ve discussed, people want to have purpose and do work that is meaningful and purpose-driven. This purpose or drive helps them navigate their specific development plan. The career coach has a macro view of the organization and, in cohesive leadership form, works for the success of both the individual and the company. These career coaches are like the yentas of corporate matchmaking, except there is no dating, just a marriage between employee and organization. Through a career services approach that balances past, present, and future, the intended outcome is to provide an independent look at the potential for a career track for employees who want to advance within the organization. Again, the model supports the aspect of commitment within the Cohesion Culture™. It is transformative as well. The development plan first focuses on others, then the organization. When this alignment occurs, employees see how they are considered to be a piece of the parts with the intent to belong, have meaningful work, and commit to mutual outcomes of success for all.

Organizations are likely to implement one or more different types of organizational internship to support a culture of cohesion: 1) traditional cross training from one department to another, and 2) role reversal within the same department. These examples are just two ways an organization can innovate and save their talent from exiting the back door as quickly as they entered the front.

In the traditional cross training program, individuals may work in other departments to see if they have greater value there. Of greatest importance for employees is that should a future need arise, they can respond to the internal posting and leverage the documented organizational internship program. This is a tremendous benefit to the individual and the organization. Internal talent is retained and better aligned to its purpose. The cost savings to the organization averages more than 50 percent of a person’s salary according to the most recent SHRM data. An employee making $60,000 who leaves costs the organization $30,000 in lost productivity and with the investment made to train a new recruit . This does not include the monies spent on acquisition, nor does it account for the opportunity cost associated with the organizational intelligence taken with the exiting staff.

Through the role reversal option, an individual serving as the department supervisor assumes a temporary junior role. De facto, the supervisor relinquishes appropriate authority to a department intern who will perform as supervisor throughout the internship period, albeit under the care of the aforementioned supervisor. This gives a junior associate an opportunity to test drive a managerial role—just like test driving a car before buying it. And the added benefit is the supervisor now has an idea how that employee drives. Internships are just another way for leaders to exercise learning through experimentation that is safe and at a minimal cost.

Organizational internships are both practical and necessary. If organizations do not provide for them, they risk losing the talent to another organization that offers that same type of job or allows that employee the opportunity to fulfill their purpose or meaning. It is less costly for the organization to retain employees and move them to other departments and roles within an organization than to leave them where they are until they became so unproductive and disconnected that they choose to leave. Both mentorship and organizational internships create greater opportunity of development for individuals still finding their way to the top.

Component #3: Leadership Coaching

The third element of the talent retention model’s relating prong is leadership coaching, which appeals to individuals at a senior level either by defined positions or by tenure. It is an opportunity for people to move to a higher realm of self-actualization and in turn self-management. Leadership coaching is closely tied to succession development in organizations. Succession development, as the name implies, is geared toward employees identified as candidates who could possibly move into higher levels of supervision and management when an opening occurs.

This level of coaching deals intimately with curating the strengths that are needed for someone to accomplish a “next level” job, or to be more proficient in their existing upper management or senior role. Leadership coaching must inspire an aspirational mindset directing employees to think more about the career they want than the job they have. When leadership coaching is properly planned and initiated, individuals are better prepared to practice Enterprise-wide Thinking in place of Silo Thinking.

These opportunities for development are not intended to fix something or to be overly complex in its intended outcome. In organizations that do not have a cohesion-infused culture mindset, executive coaching can be seen as a last ditch effort to save executives. In subsequent discussions I have learned that a participant’s mind and actions were on the surface agreeable. But on the inside the thoughts were focused on “What’s wrong with me,” or the “Someday I will be good enough” syndrome.

However, in organizations that drive to create a culture of cohesion, this same program is positively viewed as a win-win. It’s a combination of mentoring and internship focused on the continued development of individuals with senior level authority and widespread corporate responsibility. If organizations view leadership coaching as corrective, then they should consider investing their resources elsewhere.

Looking tactically at mentorship, organizational internship, and leadership coaching, an organization can appeal to the learning and development needs for all levels of employees within their culture. Employees deserve to have in place specific tactics that allow and provide for their development. It sends a clear signal that all employees matter; they are not just another resource, like raw materials, to produce an outcome. Instead, they are contributing forces in the success of the organization because they are providing meaningful and purposeful work, accomplishing tasks, and acting to achieve mutually desired outcomes. When leaders engage the talent retention model on an individual and collective level, they acknowledge the importance of people within the company. These activities within the model support cohesion by engendering a sense of belonging, establishing value, and gaining commitment. Having a talent retention model in place provides greater opportunities for individuals to be retained because they have a path towards development.

As we conclude this series on the Cohesion Culture™ Talent Retention Model, I hope you’ve found valuable insights and practical strategies to enhance your organizational culture. By focusing on organizational internships and leadership coaching, we can create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and committed to the organization's mission.

Implementing these components not only retains talent but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and development. Remember, a cohesive culture is the foundation for long-term success and employee satisfaction.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Stay tuned for more insights and strategies to build a thriving, cohesive culture in your organization. If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please feel free to reach out.

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