Sunday, June 26, 2011

Uncovering Talent

"A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said, "I love your pictures -- they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera." He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: "That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove." --- Sam Haskins

As the economy continues to heal from its scratches and bruises, we've seen business leaders getting creative in discovering the strengths and skills of their employees and the impact that has on the bottom line. We see the smart players rewarding those employees wearing different hats and saving the business leader from having to hire a new employee. But, we've also seen some leaders let the good ones get away.

It is estimated that a employee departure can cost an organization between 30% to 150% of their salary. That will put quite a dent into the balance sheet, but even more so when you consider the unnoticed and untapped talent that is also walking out the door.

Today we'll address five best practices for recognizing talent, getting them on board, and keeping them:

1.) Recruiting -- A new hire should be someone that has invested in themselves, made good career decisions, understands why they want to be a part of your organization, is an excellent communicator and a team player. Don’t hire quickly based on gut feel, but rather take time in the interviewing process to let the candidate get a feel for your culture and your company. Don't oversell the company and be sure to disclose all the problems and weaknesses of the organization so that the new hire can make a good, sound decision.

2.) Training -- I cannot stress this practice enough: You must conduct ongoing training in order to keep your team seeking the same objectives and working toward the same goals. In order to create a homogeneous culture and to have a continuity of messaging everyone, regardless of experience, needs to go through the same training process. Training and continuing education programs need to be available to encourage and stimulate professional growth. Training programs is one area where you begin to uncover hidden talents.

3.) Leadership -- Leaders can and should serve as mentors. Mentoring can include coaching, troubleshooting, inspiring, motivating and leading an employee to achieve success. Often, poor performance is indicative of poor leadership and can stifle true talents. Good leaders uncover and assist in developing real talent.

4.) Support -- Retaining talented employees is largely an issue of building a platform and culture that positions your employees for success. If your employees are not given the administrative, marketing and leadership support necessary to successfully thrive in their role, then you have set them up to fail. Talented employees, the ones that you want on your team, will not stay with you very long if there is not information sharing as well as the freedom to use their talents in a way that best serves your business.

5.) Recognition -- Recognition includes everything from compensation, working environment, advancement/promotion, ownership, participation, and internal and external awards. If your culture doesn’t reward your employees for their contributions they will close up their talents like a clam and not share their efforts toward your goals. Take time to offer a handshake (sometimes with a $20 or $50 in it!), a genuine "Thank You," a dinner for two, or anything creative that shows how much it means to you that they used their talents for the good of the company. You might be surprised how many other uncovered talents show themselves in the future.

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