How to Stop Wasting Employee Talent

employee talent

Attracting the right talent is a major focal point among organizations. They want promising individuals on their team – and they want them to become (and remain) a part of their organization’s fiber.

But what happens when this doesn’t happen; when the candidate you were sure was the “perfect match” for your business seems to be demotivated, disengaged, and disinterested?

Based on their CV and the interview process, you’re confident that they have what it takes to become a high performer. So, it may simply be that they aren’t in exactly the right role or they haven’t been given the ideal set of responsibilities to reach their full potential.

What’s the solution? It all begins with an honest assessment of the situation, followed by a clear-cut action plan to stop wasting your people’s potential.

Begin by understanding how talent works

In a quirky but clever analogy detailed in an Entrepreneur article, workplace EQ executive Caroline Stokes explains that great workers can essentially be divided into two groups – and you need to understand which one your new hires (and all your employees) fall into in order to ensure that you maximize their potential.

These groups are the “astronauts” and the “architects.” Let’s unpack the analogy – starting with astronauts.

Do they shoot for the stars?

In brief, astronauts gravitate towards advancement. They jump when work opportunities are thrown at them, and want to go above and beyond to grow their skills and contribute to organizations in innovative and inspiring ways.

They want to be “all in” from the outset, and if they aren’t given the appropriate opportunities to grow quickly, they’re quite likely to become restless.

Architects, as we’ll see next, are more comfortable contributing in other ways.

Are they more comfortable establishing solid foundations?

This type of individual is more at home when they’re able to dedicate their focus to their current role. They are far more concerned with mastering their skills; they strive to be an expert in their domain.

As Stokes explains, it may be that they have a lot on their plates in their personal lives or that they’re focused on external activities (like charity commitments or training for a marathon, for example), and so they don’t have much interest in expanding their professional responsibilities.

Ultimately, they set the work standard for everyone else; you can’t build organizations without them as they establish the foundation of your business.

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Onboard effectively to nurture new hire potential

Perhaps one of greatest mistakes that some organizations make is only carrying out a brief orientation process, rather than ensuring an effective integration plan is followed.

It can take six months to two years for a new hire to effectively become part of your organization’s DNA, so it’s imperative that you ensure that these employees are fully engaged and heading in the right direction during this period.

This is the time in which to nurture worker potential and equip your employees with the roadmap, responsibilities, work experience, tools, and support needed to help them take off in their role or start laying foundations.

LEARN MORE: Why you probably need to revamp your onboarding process – and how to do it

Plan roadmaps for advancement and growth

Whether employees want to advance or put down roots, they’ll want to know how they fit into the bigger picture at your organization and what the pathway ahead looks like.

One of the best ways to do this (and to plan effective retention strategies with personalized focus) is by helping employees draw up career maps early on in the integration phase.

This process allows you to ask important questions that will support career development, such as:

  • Are you happy with your current role and responsibilities?
  • What aspects of the job and business do you love the most and least?
  • Are you excited about your career path here?

LEARN MORE: How to create a career plan for your employees

Engage in real-time feedback from the outset

Building on the previous point, it’s important to keep the channels of communication open from the outset. This will allow you to quickly establish what is working well for new employees, where there might be areas that need refining, and how to move forward accordingly. By listening to your team, you’ll develop ideas on how to improve everyone’s experience working for your business.

Perhaps the greatest way of ensuring that communication is prioritized at your business or organization is by establishing a culture of real-time feedback. Rather than relying on a bi-annual or annual review, real-time feedback provides you with a platform to give and receive feedback on an ongoing basis, as things happen – and can contribute to managing employee potential effectively.

LEARN MORE: What is real-time feedback?

Identify investment opportunities for your astronauts and architects

Once you have a good idea of what “type of employee” your new hires are, you’ll be able to put together an informed strategy to develop and retain your top performers.

For astronauts who want to shoot for the moon, you may want to offer them the platform to put their skills into practice, to expand their knowledge, and develop new skills through microlearning or internal gigs.

On the other hand, for architects, you might want to consider other avenues that give them a sense of purpose and confidence that they are contributing to your organization’s business growth in an impactful way.

These grounded employees may find mentorships a rewarding way to share their skills and help guide other employees on the team. Alternatively, you could look at other innovative ways to reward and motivate these employees, such as allowing flextime or remote work.

There’s no exact formula. But understanding that different employees will be driven by different factors is the perfect place to start. From there, it’s important to remain in open discussion with employees, to maintain an agile approach to managing your talent, and to really show your employees that you value their abilities and want to invest in them for the long run.

Let us help you nurture potential throughout your organization

vi’s intuitive suite of software modules are in the business of retaining your top talent and creating a culture of development, communication, and appreciation; a work environment in which both astronauts and architects can thrive and put their skills to great use.

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