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Organizations must proactively take steps to optimize the skills of their workforce. These seven steps go a long way to unlock employee potential.


High-quality talent is a valuable commodity for any organization. Today, organizations tend to pull out all stops to recruit the best person to do a job. It’s a good bet that the person will succeed, but one could easily be wrong. You may build a great team and still find that it could perform better.

Workforce optimization is crucial to an organization’s success. It’s essential that organizations create an environment that recognizes employee potential, nurtures it and facilitates its realization. We live in times when people find meaning and fulfillment in their lives more from their career than anything else. For them, it’s not just about paying bills anymore. Therefore, organizations must take an active interest in their development. 

Looking to unlock employee potential? These seven steps can go a long way in unlocking the full potential of your workforce:

1. Lead Them Well

It is commonly said that people do not leave organizations, they leave their bosses. For employees, it’s difficult to accept leadership that isn’t invested in their development. It’s also difficult for them to trust leaders that lack in professional, leadership or occupational skills.

To get more out of the people you employ, you can’t demand good performance. Employees have to be able to rely on leaders for guidance and support. Therefore, it’s important for leaders to keep working on their knowledge and skills and not get complacent. They must also work with the employees to help them set and achieve their career development goals.

2. Discover What Motivates Them

Organizations often take for granted their knowledge of what drives their employees and adopt typical approaches. However, different things motivate different people. It’s not enough to just motivate; it’s vital to provide the right kind of motivation.

To some people, money can be a highly motivating factor. You may find people who are happy to reject promotions and work at the same level if they are offered a higher salary. To some people, being recognized for good performance can be more important than the cash prize that comes with it. For some, the sense of accomplishment from a promotion can come more from the job title than the enhanced compensation or recognition that it brings.

3. Provide and Gather Feedback

To improve skills and talent, feedback is critical. However, feedback has to be helpful, constructive and timely. It must be provided in a sensitive manner and with the aim of performance improvement.

Too often, managers make the mistake of using feedback to berate employees, which can demoralize them as opposed to improving their work. It also has to be provided promptly. There is no point of giving feedback if it can’t be used in time. The input that is provided on an ad-hoc basis can also be difficult to note and implement.

4. Reward Top Performers

Using performance management systems, individual and team performance can be monitored, measured, and evaluated. Top performers should be recognized. Consistently good performance must be rewarded to encourage it and boost it further. If no such recognition is provided, employees may feel that they don’t have an incentive to perform better than they can.

Rewarding top performers can also have a contagious effect. It may motivate other teams and individuals to perform better in order to earn that recognition. Satisfying good performance regularly can raise the quality of work throughout the organization. 

5. Provide Training

As Peter Drucker said, “We now accept that learning is a life-long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” For career development and advancement, learning is critical. People prefer to work in organizations that have high learning and development capabilities.

An active learning and development system can help identify and fill skill gaps within the organization. It can help individuals to develop competencies that may improve the quality of their work. It can also prepare them for leadership roles or to take on new responsibilities in the future. Additionally, it can align the career development goals of the employees with the purposes of the business.

6. Encourage Them to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

People usually settle into the mundaneness or their daily tasks and do not tend to explore other things that they might be good at. Sometimes, employees need a nudge to try their hand at a new task or learn something new. They may fail to see what else they could be good at.

Employees must be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone from time to time, to discover any hidden talents or skills that may not have been aware of. It can be an excellent opportunity for organizations to tap into amazing potential.

7. Make Them a Part of the Bigger Picture

Employees often do not realize how they fit into the larger scheme of things and contribute to the business. Making them aware of that can give them a better understanding of the company and its end-product.

The added context of how they contribute to it may improve their performance. It may even serve to instill a sense of pride in them regarding their work and the organization itself and help them realize that they are a part of something bigger than they thought. It may add more meaning to their work.

To succeed in business, it’s not enough to hire the right talent, it’s also essential for organizations to understand what their employees need to replace in their jobs. They shouldn’t only recruit the seemingly right talent and hope for the best. Instead, organizations must proactively take steps to optimize the skills, knowledge, abilities, and the commitment of their workforce to unlock employee potential and even raise it.

If you’re considering taking those next steps to unlock employee potential, get started by downloading our Competency Management Toolkit, or contact us for a free consultation.

Author Bio:

Hitendra Rathore is a Software Analyst at SoftwareSuggest. He has spent the majority of his career in SaaS industry gaining experiences in areas such as ERP Software and Payroll software analysis. Outside of the office Hitendra enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music.