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How Huawei reduced team attrition by training line managers

‘Sai has been associated with us as a long-term Company Counsellor and Coach and has a great understanding about individual managers’ strengths and gaps in people management areas. She is also well-versed with our company culture and was able to coach all layers of leadership and management effectively with specifics.’

Pratima Gupta,
AVP- HR, Head Talent Management,

The Challenge

To reduce attrition rates of new hires or newly-transferred members of the team by building effective communication  and influence skills in the managers.

The Goals

For managers to be able to motivate the team, and communicate effectively about performance and career growth. They also needed to be coached on their skills in having tough conversations with team members.

The Solutions Offered

Sai designed a series of workshops to offer the necessary training and coaching first to leaders  and then to line managers. In these workshops, the participants:

  • Explored real-world situations and discussed how to handle them.
  • Played out certain scenarios through role play activities
  • Received on-the-spot feedback about their responses
  • Received individual feedback after the workshops

    The Process Applied

    During the sessions, Sai enabled the line managers to conduct self-reflection and achieve awareness about their own strengths and weaknesses. The managers learnt how these factors inform the way they handle situations. Having these insights showed them how they could better connect with their team members, establish trust and build better relationships.

    The Outcome

    The line managers went back with tangible tips and practices to better handle the challenges that come with managing people and teams. They are  now able to:

    • Actively listen and interpret conversations
    • Conduct key conversations with ease
    • Appreciate their team members and give positive strokes more proactively
    • Offer constructive feedback and ensure timeliness
    • Coach their teams using the GROW model
    • Share and motivate using long-term vision

      Roadblocks observed and addressed

      • Judgemental language and attitude of leaders. Sai encouraged leaders to take a step back to notice what happens to the team’s mindset when they hear judging language. She offered productive but positive and growth-oriented language to use and plenty of role plays with real conversations to help them practice.

      • No specificity in feedback meetings. The managers gave vague feedback with no pointers for what a team member can do differently. This does not help change behaviours. Sai built rigour to ensure specifics are offered in the conversation. She modeled what it means to behaviorally anchor feedback and the leaders could learn by watching live demonstrations.

      • Giving instructions vs Coaching style conversations.Sai coached them to see why being in instruction mode all the time is dysfunctional. No one grows by having others think for them. Instead, she introduced them to a coaching style of leadership with collaborative conversations, goal setting and monitoring, using a coaching model actively, building skills in effective questions.

      • Leading a young ambitious team. Lateral hires into the ambitious performance culture of Huawei needed hand-holding. Leaders needed to learn how to engage such hires, influence such teams and lead keeping individual and team motivation at the centre. Leaders learnt to inspire followership through support and nurturing instead of fear-based leadership practices.

      • Scarcity of meaningful connection and recognition in teams. Leaders needed input to offer positive strokes and motivate teams and individuals through recognition. Sai helped build this skill through plays and recognition circles.

      • Handling tough conversations.The cohort learnt the value of not shrinking from tough conversations and instead, showing up as authentic leaders with peers, bosses and clients. They learnt how to build connections and trust and how it pays back later even though trust-building is always a slow process.

        The Final Outcome

        • Every year, direct reportees give feedback in a performance survey. 70% managers got a higher score than they had in 2019.  Much of this is attributed to the coaching management workshops by Sai.

        • Over 90% of the workshop participants indicated that they consciously apply the key practices taught and are able to do it over the long term too.

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