Would You Rather Be Managed or “Coached”?

By: James Flippin · June 09, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Game-Time Decision

In 2021, employee engagement across numerous industries took a hit, coinciding with the so-called Great Resignation. During that period, virtual assistant platform Time etc took an unconventional route to address the challenge of keeping employees engaged.

In a move to invigorate their workforce and promote a culture of productivity and collaboration, Time etc swapped out traditional managerial roles for “coaches.” The company maintained a ratio of one coach to six employees.

According to Time etc, employee performance on key goals spiked 20% following the shift. But the change went beyond increasing productivity and engagement.

Empowerment Over Enforcement

The role of a coach is similar to a manager in that it provides a go-to source of assistance for employees when problems surface. But, in other ways, it deviates significantly from traditional management styles.

Coaches don’t hand down solutions or direct employees so much as they empower them to navigate challenges themselves. At Time etc, a culture of self-improvement isn’t just encouraged — it’s integral to their operational philosophy.

The transformation goes beyond job titles. Time etc imagines a far less hierarchical work environment which promotes more autonomy, skill development, and personal growth. The company’s support for continued learning also manifests itself through resources like monthly allowances for Udemy (UDMY) courses and books, as well as workshops.

Managers vs. Coaches

The move to replace managers with coaches has significantly impacted Time etc’s workforce.
In terms of employee engagement, the company now ranks in the top 1% of teams worldwide, according to Gallup’s Q12 Survey.

These days, worker flexibility is increasing due to the rise of remote work. But, at the same time, many companies are responding by tightening scrutiny on employees, sometimes going as far as to install surveillance software on remote workers’ devices, a practice almost 60% of workers say causes anxiety and stress.

Time etc’s approach creates a stark contrast to that. And, as the employment landscape evolves and the cost of keeping talent comes at a premium, it raises a crucial question to other companies: would your workers rather be managed or coached?

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