The Power of Facilitation Skills

Trying to retain staff? Having problems with your employee suggestion scheme? The words are “engagement through facilitation”

In his book “The 7 Reasons Why People Leave” (published by Leigh Branham), one of the reasons is too little coaching and feedback. He commented that performance coaching and feedback is essential for employees because it helps them answer 4 questions:

  • Where are we going as a company?
  • How are we getting there?
  • How do you expect me to contribute?
  • How am I doing?

Forbes in their January 2012 article “Why Your Employees Are Leaving” mentioned that “Managers who don’t create the right opportunities for their employees, don’t communicate with them, and don’t appreciate them often find themselves dealing with a high turnover rate”.

According to the Gallup Organization, one of the top three reasons that employees leave their jobs was the lack of management support for such areas such as performance reviews and employee development.

Out of Gallup’s 12Q, close to half of the questions focus on the area of providing management support:

  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work seem to care about you?
  • At work, do your opinions seem to count?
  • In the last 6 months at work has someone talk to you about your progress?
  • In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

Coaching is done on a 1-to-1 basis while facilitation is done on a 1-to-many basis.

Facilitators harness productivity of groups by enabling work groups to work together effectively. Authors Richard G Weaver and John D.Farrell wrote “Leaders are concerned with doing the right thing, managers are concerned with doing things right, and facilitators are concerned with helping people do things.” You may say that facilitation is non-directive leadership. The role is one of assistance and guidance, and not control.

Roffery Park, a management consulting company, describes the role of the facilitator this way: “Effective groups drive change. Group working is an essential part of modern organizational life, and a group’s effectiveness is often greatly influenced by the ability of the facilitator working with them. The facilitator acts as an enabler, allowing the group to share their knowledge, explore issues, generate ideas, solve problems and resolve conflicts. They bring different people together to produce results greater than those that could be achieved individually.”

Good facilitation is hard work and it is difficult. Why pay a premium for people who order other people around? Most of the time it turns out to be all talk. Would not it be wiser to use that premium and pay for facilitators?

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