Harnessing the hidden potential of your existing workforce is a great way to drive business outcomes without changing personnel. Whether it's offering high-potential employees training to develop critical leadership skills or helping less engaged employees find their focus again, it's always quicker and less expensive to focus on the talent that you have than to acquire new talent.
Our own Nina Mehta-Vania, a UK-based talent management consultant, and Tim Pointer, founder of Starboard Thinking, will be discussing this very topic in an upcoming free webinar, so we caught up with Nina to ask her some questions about unlocking employee potential.
What initially sparked your interest in this topic?
Human Resources is actually my second career, and I was driven to it from a place of passion. When I think about "making the best of your workforce", I think about all the human potential that is simply not being used in every organisation. There are pockets of innovation, energy, and leadership in every organisation that are not seeing the light of day. It's critical to find these, not just for the company's sake, but for those individuals who are stagnating but want an opportunity to perform at a higher level.
What are a couple of key behaviours you see in organisations making the best of their workforce?
One of the most positive behaviours that I see from organisations that make the best of their workforce is investing time to get to know their employees' strengths and weaknesses. If you don't know what you've got, you can't make the best of it. When everyone in the company has visibility into the experience and expertise of their colleagues, then they know who to reach out to for mentoring, advice, or even just a few tips. High performing organisations will also undertake talent assessments, create talent pools, build learning paths, and establish succession plans. Not every company can do it all, but these are all excellent techniques that can be used to really get to know your talent.
If a company could only do one thing differently to make the best of their workforce, what one thing would you recommend?
If I could recommend one thing, I'd have to say increasing communications between managers and employees. Anecdotally, we've always known that managers play a crucial role in an employee experience, but the research keeps piling up to support this. Some of the most extensive and convincing of this research is from Gallup, who found that engagement is highest among employees who have some form of daily communication with their managers. This communications doesn't even need to be face-to-face; it can be a mix of face-to-face, phone, or digital.
But don't just tell your managers to communicate more - show them how! Provide them with training. You can't assume that this is intuitive to everyone. Yet, it is so critical to employee engagement, and ultimately, a company's overall success.
What challenges do you see as particularly common in this era for organisations?
I see a lot of organisations struggling with how to best meet the needs of all of the different generations they have employed. There's a lot of buzz around how to keep and engage millennial workers, but it's rare that a company doesn't also have boomers and other generations to keep engaged as well. Sometimes this means that one group gets left out, other times, it means that an HR team is pulled very thin. There's no easy cookie-cutter answer that will work for every company, but a thoughtful talent management strategy can go a long way.
Register for the webinar
Date and time:
8 September 2016