7 Tips to Build Your Bench Strength and Improve Employee Engagement

Follow in the Footsteps of Our Favorite World Cup Coaches

Pékerman, Guardiola, and Mourinho are just three of the world’s top soccer (football) coaches. They are loved by their teams. They are loved by the fans. They are demanding and charismatic. They are technical wizards. They are studious and dedicated. They get results.

We’re on the cusp of the World Cup, the single most important sporting event in the world, and millions of spectators around the world will be waiting to see how our favorite teams perform. There are some teams, though, that are awe-worthy amazing. Their bench players would be starters in almost any other nation – Brazil and Germany in particular. Bench strength in sports refers to building a team with players that are virtually interchangeable with starters. If Neymar gets hurt, Brazil still needs to play … and win.

How does that translate to the corporate world? Building bench strength in an organization and developing employees are key components to increasing employee engagement. So, to celebrate The World Cup, we invite you to think like some of the greatest coaches and develop your teams. Here are 7 tips to improve bench strength and boost employee engagement.

1. All teams must have a culture of continuous education – to build talent and skills. The systematic development staff comes not only from workshops and extra classes, but also the day-in-day-out of the job, integrating development into each team member's work.

2. Assign challenging tasks to team members, pairing them with someone who is an expert and can provide guidance; assign high-impact tasks; create action-learning assignments that have real-world relevance to the team and organization.

3. Feedback, critical and consistent, is key to team growth. Create a constant flow of communication with team members, both giving and receiving feedback. Teach the team about giving good feedback: be timely, sensitive, balanced and specific.

4. Be transparent. Teams are built on trust. When team members feel like someone has a hidden agenda, this can quickly turn negative. Creating a solid communication plan that provides the necessary information to the team in a timely matter will lead to transparency.

5. Adaptability comes with risk. Failures and setbacks happen. Creating an adaptable culture is critical to having bench depth. Team members can step up and focus on solutions, not past failures.

6. Create individual development plans with each team member. They should know where they are and where they’re going, acquiring important skillsets to improve and move toward the future.

7. Communicate! It’s unlikely any player in the games is unclear as to what is expected of him during every second of each game. There is communication between players, between players and the coach, between the coach and the players … everybody is sharing the same vision and knows exactly his purpose. There are no gray areas here.

The world of business is volatile, and sometimes, out-of-the-blue, critical employees choose to leave an organization. As a manager, are you developing a team to respond to these changes and adapt, so you can stay in the game? By developing your employees, you are creating an agile organization to respond to unexpected situations all the while improving employee engagement. Enjoy the games!

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