Coaches at work: We like to work in this company
When the managing director of a facility management company visited a psychological consultant at the Mind Institute for coaching, his company’s sick leave had risen to over 15%. The statistics of the company health insurance fund also provided evidence that mental illnesses in particular had increased by 25% in one year alone and were now a major cause of absence from work. What happened? A few years ago, the company had separated from a large group with a strong brand by outsourcing to a subsidiary. In coaching it became clear that the employees were suffering from a loss of identity since then, not belonging to the big brand anymore. In addition, the intensification of performance and increasing competitive pressure caused problems for everyone. By methods of the personnel management co-workers were evaluated, classified and assigned according to their personality and their abilities certain tasks. These tasks became more and more specialized. They complained of an increasing monotony in the tasks. The tone became harder. In some cases, personal attacks were lamented. Many employees went beyond their limits for fear of losing their jobs.
The psychological consultants first suggested in a management coaching that the identity of the new company profile should be sharpened and communicated more clearly. At the same time, the training of internal mentors was intended to raise awareness of mental illnesses and trigger a positive impact.
On the basis of experience, it was recommended that 3% of the workforce of 2,000 employees, i.e. 60 project members, be involved in individual coaching. Top managers were particularly involved. In addition, they were trained in which objectives and which leadership behaviour increases psychological pressure or leads to motivation. In coaching, the participants learned to perceive themselves more, in particular to feel their own limits, to perceive feelings in themselves and in colleagues and to communicate about feelings.
In order to avoid the dispersion in factual discussions, a corresponding being was developed with the help of daydream technique in groups on topics such as power, performance, leadership, quality, etc. E.g. “If power in our company were an animal or a fairy tale being, what would it be? What does it look like? Where is it located? What does it want? What does it need? The pictures were then painted in the group. Positive pictures served as a strengthening image and became part of the communication about the new corporate culture. They were hung up at the workplace to stimulate discussion with passing colleagues.
The subconscious continued to work and many employees came up with unconventional and very pragmatic solutions. At the same time, the management created a clear message by exemplifying the newly learned behaviours that the new spirit in the company was really wanted from above.
The coaching of the project members lasted a total of 10 months at a high intensity of one meeting per week. The implementation phase was accompanied for even longer periods by less frequent meetings in order to reduce the emerging uncertainties and resistance to change.
The sickness rate could be reduced from over 15% to 12% by 15 months after the start of the project. In the course of the next few years, the sickness rate was below 10%. The company was able to save many times the project costs simply by avoiding absenteeism.
Note: To protect the privacy of our clients, the above case study was slightly changed. The task and the methods used have not been changed..