Uncovering Your Team’s Hidden Talents

kraigrodenbeck Kraig Rodenbeck November 15, 2021

We are all (painfully) aware of the difficulties of trying to attract and retain top talent these days. Signing bonuses, unlimited PTO, and flexible schedules are different ways employers are wooing talent to come aboard. But have you considered tapping into unutilized job skills of your existing employees?

Great results can be realized when employees have opportunities to work on new assignments they enjoy, even if they are not a part of their job descriptions. People often feel greater job satisfaction by growing and contributing in different ways, leading to more engagement and less turnover.

So, how do you go about discovering those hidden gems within your current workforce? Here are a few tips of the trade for you to try.

  • Do not go to your go-to person. The next time you need volunteers for a task, ask someone new. Even though you already know Diedre is good at that job, ask someone else to try. If no one steps up, as hard as it may be, still do not ask Deidre. It is time that Jim was “voluntold.” You may be pleasantly surprised to see what Jim can do.
  • Let’s go high potentials! Brian is a real go-getter, and you think he is ready to take the next step. Now is the time to have him lead a visible project. How does he function in the spotlight? If he does a bang-up job, maybe there is a promotion in his near future. Not so much? That’s okay - time to sign Brian up for some coaching.
  • Compliment first, interview second. When someone crushes it on a project, say so! And then ask questions. How did you go about doing that? What was your plan of attack? Figuring out the thought process might make that person a good fit for different projects or possibly a teacher for others to learn how to get that task done.
  • Diversity is key. When people with different backgrounds, ages, and cultures collaborate, new thoughts, ideas, and outcomes may emerge. A range of perspectives can generate a plethora of success, and you will get to see new working relationships develop.
  • Do not assume.

You think you may know your employees’ skillsets based on working together, but do you? Managers should make an effort to get to know their team professionally and personally. When you connect deeper with your employees, you will learn what they enjoy and what they are good at, which can apply to different roles and responsibilities on the job. And you will be seen as a manager who cares about people, building on your organization’s community and culture.

The rules continue to change regarding the best way to grow your company and keep talented employees. Consider looking to your existing people and all they have to offer. You may be surprised at the talent you uncover.

Find more ways to uncover your untapped talent:

About the Author

Kraig Rodenbeck has been an Executive Agenda Group Chair since 2016 and serves three EA groups (EA 2, EA 8 and EA 27). A certified management consultant, he spent nearly 40 years in management consulting and professional services solution delivery in the areas of employee mobility management and human services. His experience includes working with corporations and government agencies to improve performance, save costs and increase employee satisfaction. He was a member of EA 11 for 9 years prior to assuming his first group leader role. Kraig earned his Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


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