Navigating Employee Skills and Talents

Simply the Best: Navigating Employee Skills and Talents to Create Effective Team Performance


Anyone who’s spent any time in HR knows it’s not always easy to find, let alone retain, the best talent. Often, it’s a matter of compromise, intuition, and, above all, development.

There’s simply no such thing as a perfect candidate, let alone a perfect team. But with time, patience, a little know-how, and a lot of strategy, you can get close. Really close. This article provides the tips and tricks you can start using today to build a better team for all the tomorrows to come!

Figure Out What Your Team Needs

The worst thing a manager can do, perhaps, is failing to figure out what the team, and the company, need. After all, how can you start developing your staff to be effective if you don’t know what skills they’re going to need or even what “effectiveness” is going to look like?

Best of all, once you have a clear set of goals and priorities in place, you’re going to be able to identify skills mismatches more accurately and more quickly.

This will help you figure out where your performance gaps are. You’ll be able to see who is in their proper role, who has the potential to develop in their current role, and who is going to do better and be happier in a different role.

The harmonious environment you create when you match the person to the position is going to pay off not just in the short-term, but also when you start putting your talent development plans into place.

Become a ‘Softy’

Leaders often think of hard skills first when they’re trying to find, or develop, the best talent. But when it comes to bringing out the best in your team, it’s the soft skills that you should be after. Having a clear vision of success doesn’t mean you have to be driven by the metrics. That’s because getting to the endpoint you want isn’t usually about finding people with the hard skills you need.

It’s about finding people with the kinds of soft skills necessary to become what you need. So, focus on people with good communication skills, those who are interpersonally astute, those who are strong critical thinkers and receptive and responsive to critique.

They will be the ones who are most amenable to coaching. They are the ones who will benefit most from development. Plus, developing and promoting talent from within is the perfect way to promote both effectiveness and loyalty among your team members.

Best of all, when you create a career development plan for each employee, you’re all but guaranteed to win their loyalty. You’re demonstrating to them the company’s willingness to invest in them in the long run, and that makes them more likely to return the favor.

It will also incentivize them for continuous improvement. Career development, after all, depends on the on-going acquisition of new skills and the honing of existing ones. That means with each passing year your workforce is going to get better. Plus, it’s exciting and challenging for employees to see how far they can go, to discover exactly what it is they are capable of!

Follow the Leader

A terrific way to cultivate your team’s effectiveness is by letting your talent take the lead sometimes. Focus on delegating responsibilities. Allow your team members to showcase their skills by taking charge of projects or project elements where their unique strengths will be called on. And, as your team members take the helm for their area of responsibility, resist the urge to micromanage. Take a step back and let them figure things out and, in the end, shine.

That’s not only going to demonstrate the value you place on everyone’s contributions, but it will also inspire accountability and promote your team’s intrinsic motivation.

They’ll be better equipped to problem-solve and to communicate. Above all, they will have an even greater investment in the team’s overall success.

And you’ll benefit, too, because you’ll be throwing out the management playbook. Such willingness to change, such openness to new ideas, is precisely what businesses today need to stay agile, adaptable, and respond to an ever-evolving global business climate.

Pay It Forward

Sometimes finding the talent you need means biting the bullet and looking not just outside the company, but outside the community. Scouting colleges and universities, training and licensure programs, and even the talent rosters of your fiercest competitors can help you find the talent you’ve been dreaming of.

But when you do find the ideal candidate, you need to be ready and willing to put your money where your mouth is. Especially if they’re considering relocating to join your team, that means they’re showing a good-faith willingness to take a gamble on your company.

That can be quite a risk, especially if the candidate is leaving their family, or relocating with them. Showing that your company is willing to pony up for the relocation costs might just be the good-faith gesture the candidate needs to make it official.

True, paying for relocation may be a costly proposition, at least in the short-term. In the long run, though, it’s likely an investment that will pay massive dividends.

The Takeaway

Leading an effective team is always a challenge. The greatest challenge, though, is in developing that team to its fullest potential. Bringing out the talents of your staff, as both individuals and as a group, takes both skill and strategy. It requires you, as the manager, to develop a clear sense of what your team, and your company, need. Doing this means understanding, with precise detail, your goals, and priorities. It also means ensuring that your staff is well suited not only to their current roles but also future ones. And that also means creating professional development strategies for each member of your team, allowing you to build loyalty and effectiveness by promoting from within whenever possible.

Finally, building your team’s effectiveness means allowing your team to take the lead sometimes, and even to pay it forward in terms of covering relocation costs when you find the candidate your team has been looking for.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but HR and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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