Recognizing and utilizing the skills, knowledge and talents of your team is essential to the success of a business. People are the most valuable resource your business has, and by not using this resource to the fullest extent, you are wasting opportunities. Some common causes of talent waste are:
- Assigning workers to the wrong tasks
- Requiring wasteful or unneeded administration tasks
- Poor communication
- Lack of solid leadership or good teamwork
- Inadequate training
What Talent Waste Looks Like
Wasted talent can take many forms in your organization. It may be that someone on your team is great at creating systems and solving problems, but they are stuck doing only data entry. It may be that one staff member has a gift for leading people and raising morale, but they are not in a position to use those skills. Here are a few more common examples of underutilized talent:
- Limiting the authority of middle managers by requiring frequent approvals from owners, or upper managers, before projects can continue.
- Having to find one person each time something needs to be signed or checked in.
- Assigning workers to jobs that do not fit their skills and passions.
- Not consulting with the team when creating and reviewing work procedures and workflow systems.
These situations not only limit the growth potential of a business, but they also result in low employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees can be left feeling as if they don’t “matter” to the company, and will likely stop trying to go above and beyond.
The best way to reduce talent waste is to ensure that training is adequate so that employees can be empowered rather than micromanaged. When employees are empowered, many previously unnoticed skills and talents will rise to the surface, which will make it easier to recognize and develop your available talent. The following suggestions can be adjusted to suit any working environment:
- Review and refine training programs.
- Provide checklists that manage workflows without stifling individual methods.
- Create distance-monitoring systems that eliminate the need for micromanaging.
- Hold regular consultation meetings with team members where they are able to voice opinions and ask questions.