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Why It’s Worth Discovering the Hidden Talents of Your Employees

Today’s business leaders have recognized the importance of developing top talent. Often, however, it is assumed that “bringing in talent” means hiring new employees.
While it may seem obvious, talent is not a specific person. Talent is defined as “a special aptitude”. The key to becoming a successful business leader is to identify the talents that you will need, and then find the employees who will meet your needs.
Sometimes, that requires hiring new people. The addition of “fresh blood” to an organization can often be beneficial to rejuvenate the workforce. But when hiring from outside is always the solution, it can cause another set of problems.
Research indicates that it is more cost-effective to use the talent already in place than to hire, train and develop a new employee. Why aren’t more businesses taking advantage of this built-in talent pool?
Many managers express uncertainty about how to begin looking for talent and are overwhelmed with the idea of implementing a search within the workforce. What can you do to grow talent within your company?
Maximize In-House Training
Developing the talent of your employees can be one of the most effective means of employee retention. This can be implemented through in-house training programs that will help you identify, select and train specific high-potential individuals.
But training programs can work for all and don’t always have to have the goal of finding your next rising stars. They can include topics such as goal-setting, getting your mindset right, developing a successful work/life integration which will allow all your employees to be present and give their best to your company.
Cultivate Mentorship Opportunities
Over 70% of Fortune 500 companies have an established mentoring program. In addition, over 75% of executives list their mentors as one of the reasons they are successful. When done correctly, mentorship can be powerful.
Will your company pair new employees with a seasoned employee? Do you want to mentor highly qualified individuals who may be on a leadership track within your company? With a customized program, you can narrow down your mentorship to cultivate exactly the specific skills your company needs.
Create a Development Program
Establish an individual development program for each employee. What skills do they currently possess? What skills would they like to obtain? What are their future plans? By helping each employee develop a training plan, you can ensure that they are receiving the training they need to accomplish their goals, and they will be more equipped to perform their job.
Encourage Employees to Develop New Skills
Offer new training programs that can help the employees learn new aspects of the job, problem-solving strategies or use new technologies. Encourage your employees to take continuing education courses, attend workshops and other training events as part of their jobs. Bring training programs to your workplace as part of lunch and learns, afternoon seminars and more. Offer courses that may not seem directly related to their jobs but will help them become better employees and ready for the future which keeps changing at a rapid pace.
Provide Opportunities for Advancement
Inform employees of openings in the company. Provide a path to advancement, so the employees know what skills and requirements they must meet to be eligible for promotion. Provide constructive feedback on their achievements and celebrate their successes. When possible and when it makes sense, consider hiring from within the ranks of your current employees.
Consider Promoting Before You Hire New
Sometimes, it is necessary to hire an outside individual. Rather than make that the go-to solution, however, when possible find ways to promote from within. Encourage employees to apply for positions within the company, even if it is in a different department. Nordstrom did this at their highest level, switching their president to head up their bricks and mortar division and vice versa. Cross training can bring a new set of eyes to a department and prevent the silos that tend to develop in larger companies.
Your workforce is full of talented individuals. Allowing your employees to use their talents will not only benefit your company, it will help them become more engaged in their work. Go looking for the hidden talent in your company – you may be surprised at what you discover!
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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