From taking a fresh look at eNPS scores to being an exemplary model for team building, here are the seven answers to the questions:
- As an HR leader, what was your most coachable moment in 2022?
- What did you do in response?
- What will you do differently in 2023 as a result?
Take action around lower sentiment scores
In 2022, I had a period of time where the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) for my team was lower than normal. Though not disastrous, I wanted to make sure my team was happy and engaged.
As part of a 1:1 with my CEO, I shared the sentiment score and asked for his guidance. His coaching was literally, “Have you been coaching your team members proactively?”
Though I had been engaged, I wasn’t helping them progress as a coach would. It was a great reminder, helped me change my approach and the eNPS quickly rebounded after I increased how I was mentoring.
Be open-minded and willing to learn
One of my most valuable and rewarding coaching moments is when I learned to always question my assumptions and take nothing for granted. This lesson was especially important to me as I fulfilled an executive role in a leading tech company.
When you have extensive experience in the industry, it can be tempting to rely too heavily on one’s experience and expertise, and easily assume that you know everything there is to know about the industry.
This mindset can be a dangerous trap for anyone in leadership, but it’s especially harmful when you are trying to take your company to new heights. With an open mind and a willingness to learn, I’ve been able to take my company—and myself—to new heights.
I have made it a priority to constantly ask myself questions about our business model, sales strategies, and customer base. This allows me to identify opportunities for growth that might slip through the cracks if I were too focused on what I “know” to be true.
Don’t let headlines about layoffs deter you from hiring
Around April 2022, there was a spike in news headlines about layoffs. They sold our recruiting business out, but the negative headlines made me cautious about internal hiring.
I looked into the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which showed that 1% of the labor force was impacted by layoffs and discharges. This is a historically low number.
To put this in context, BLS does not have a single month on record prior to 2021, where layoffs have been that low. But some argued that there is a lag in the BLS data and that the next monthly report would show an increase.
So I held off on less urgent hiring decisions to see if aggregate layoffs would increase. We are now at the end of the year, the aggregate layoffs are still around the same low levels and our business is still sold out.
I’ve learned my lesson. We just made a few offers and in 2023 I will pay more attention to internal leading and lagging indicators when planning our hiring needs.
This year has presented me with coachable moments and opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Thus far, I’d say that my most coachable moment has been receiving constructive criticism from a leader that I respect highly and deciding how I’d respond to it.
The feedback was a serious blow to my confidence, and I experienced a full range of emotions, from embarrassment, anger, and denial to hopefulness, appreciation, and desire to change. After committing a few days to self-evaluation, I reached out to my mentors and solicited their advice as well.
What pushed me forward was an attitude of gratitude. I realized this leader cared enough about my journey to provide guidance on my development. By framing the feedback positively, it felt natural and exciting to adopt the desired behavior.
In 2023, I will continue to incorporate this feedback into my work style and focus on gratitude when receiving feedback. Growth is a lifelong journey and being humble will take you far.
Don’t let wants overshadow needs
I am an HR technology nerd. I live for process improvement, reduced overhead costs, and improved ROI. And my recommendations normally fit the bill for what companies are looking for.
Unfortunately, I recently let my enthusiasm for what I felt was the best HR system based on a company’s needs overshadow their wants. In HR, even if you know what a company needs to better engage their workforce, work more efficiently, etc., leadership has its own ideas of what they are looking for based on their exposure or lack of exposure to some vendors.
When the executive team expresses an objection, and you’ve already made your case, it’s best to move on and pivot to something else, even if it’s not what you would select for them. That is what I ended up doing, and in 2023, I will uncover any existing objections early on and be ready with viable alternatives.
Pay attention to your virtual one-on-ones
In 2022, I started a new position as the People and Culture leader at Teambuilding.com. One of my biggest learning moments in the role was fully understanding the systems already in place.
I assumed that my conversations with fellow leaders briefed me on the full extent of company culture initiatives. However, as I began having one-on-one chats with team members and pitching employee engagement ideas to them, I soon learned that previous versions of several of my “new ideas” had already been tried, and similar resources already existed.
Rather than forcing my visions, I was happy to relaunch and improve current cultural activities. However, I could have saved myself a few hours of work by running initial ideas by multiple team members before starting development. The experience taught me that in remote companies, one-on-one meetings are not exhaustive sources of information, and it helps to verify via multiple meetings or pitching to a committee vs individual coworkers.
Model the importance of team bonding
Our CEO signed up our startup team to partake in a Spartan-style five-mile obstacle race. It turned out to be quite a challenge to get team members to agree to go. This turned into a coachable moment where I stressed the importance of team bonding, and how people can bond over successes AND failures.
I reminded them of what a positive and supportive team they already were and how that would be sure to translate into the obstacle course. In the end, six team members attended, virtually none of us near fit enough to actually race, and you know what? We had an absolute blast and are closer than ever before.
In 2023, I now plan to arrange multiple team bonding opportunities across different categories, such as mindfulness, sport, and escape rooms to further build upon and ingrain the idea of team bonding at Ling.
Coachability is one of the qualities that CEOs and business leaders look for most in people leaders on their team. Even Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player ever, said that his best skill was that he was coachable.
The key is having a mindset that allows a person to be coached. With that said, what was your most coachable moment in 2022? What did you do in response? And, what will you do differently in 2023 as a result?
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