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” seems to be demotivated, disengaged, and disinterested?

Based on their CV and the interview process, you’re confident that they have the potential to become a high performer. So, it may simply be that the employee isn’t quite in the right position or hasn’t been given the ideal set of responsibilities to be reaching 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 employee talent.

Begin by understanding employee talent

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

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

Do they shoot for the stars?

In brief, astronauts gravitate towards advancement. They jump at opportunities thrown at them, and want to go above and beyond to grow their skills and contribute to your organization 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 don’t have much interest in expanding their professional responsibilities.

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

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Onboard effectively to nurture employee talent

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 employee talent and equip your employees with the roadmap, responsibilities, tools, and support needed to help them take off or start laying foundations.

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

Plan roadmaps for employee talent 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 help you 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 employee talent growth, like:

  • Are you happy with your current responsibilities?
  • What aspects of the job 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.

Perhaps the greatest way of ensuring that communication is prioritized at your 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 help you manage employee talent 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 grow employee talent 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 talent into practice, to expand their knowledge, and develop new skills through microlearning or internal gig opportunities.

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 growth in an impactful way.

These grounded employees may find mentorships a rewarding way to share their skills and help guide other employees. Alternatively, you could look at other innovative ways to reward and motivate these employees, for example – 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 talent management, and to really show your employees that you value their talent and want to invest in them for the long run!

Let us help you nurture employee talent

vi’s intuitive suite of talent management modules are designed to help you retain your top talent and create a culture of growth, communication, and appreciation; a work environment in which both astronauts and architects can thrive and put their talents to great use.

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