Unleash Employees’ Hidden Talents

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At ACHIEVE and CTRI our interview process for new hires has been refined and crystallized so that we can pinpoint with great accuracy whether someone is a fit for both our culture and the specific tasks we need them to do. When we hire someone, they have demonstrated in their interview that they can fit our culture and have the aptitude for the position.

Even though we have a very effective interview process, what has amazed me over the years is how within several weeks of hiring a new person we begin to see various unique and hidden talents emerge that hadn’t previously shown up on a resumé or during the interview. Still more interesting is that sometimes the employee doesn’t even recognize these hidden yet valuable talents.

As an innovative organization, we never have a shortage of new tasks that arise which require someone to do them. When new projects come up we quickly take stock of which staff could do the new tasks best – not on seniority or position, but on talent. Who on staff is a natural fit for this task?

Through this process we begin to test out employees’ talents in ways they or we did not envision when we hired them. Often over time this changes their role in the organization in a fundamental way. We have countless stories of employees who started working with us in one position and then slowly and sometimes quickly we help foster a talent they have. This often results in a completely different role than the one they started in.

For example, one of our employees started off in client services and slowly began putting her graphic design skills to work on other projects. She then added her love and passion for video to various projects. Over time she was so busy on projects that matched her natural talent and passions that even though she was good at client services, she had no time for that role. She had become too valuable for us elsewhere.

As I’ve highlighted in a previous blog post, I believe strongly that employees who have tasks that they find meaningful and challenging are more likely to be engaged. People want to work on projects that bring them satisfaction and encourage them to develop and grow as a person and an employee. Helping employees find tasks that use their talents best allows this to happen.

As leaders we need to be on the lookout for hidden talents that we already have in our employees but are not using. We need to assess and sometimes even ask our employees directly: What are you good at? What brings you joy and satisfaction? What makes someone happy?

Answers to these questions will give you clues about what talents are waiting to be unleashed.

Randy Grieser, Author & Speaker

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