How to Make the Most of the Talent on Your Team
Personalities that get along and complement each other create a more productive and healthier work environment.
9 min read
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If you’re a business owner looking to hire more talent, you have two options. The first is to hire the best candidates available in the talent pool. The other is to take those diamonds in the rough who are already in your organization and make them shine.
Personally, I’m a fan of the second option. That’s because you may already have skilled workers in your pipeline, which means you don’t have to compete with other organizations. Additionally, tenure is an appreciating asset, and the cost of turnover is two times an existing employee’s salary.
But how can you encourage more internal hires and promotions? Use these 12 tips to make the most of your existing talent.
Hire top talent from the get-go.
Before you’re able to make the most of your talent, you first need to make sure you’re hiring top talent. This involves more than hiring candidates based on their resumes alone; you also want to hire people who are a good fit for your organization.
In other words, there needs to be a human element to your hiring process. That may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite easy if you use the following tips.
Go with your gut. If a candidate gives you a bad vibe or raises any red flags during the interview, move on to another candidate.
Don’t rely only on experience. As Barbara Corcoran has said, “Make sure you pick good people to do business with, as they’ll determine 80 percent of your success. The best people have lots of enthusiasm. Don’t worry too much about their level of experience when you’re interviewing, as the right attitude always delivers much more than just experience.”
Hire people who will fit into your company’s culture. You want personalities that get along and complement each other for a more productive and healthier work environment.
Contact references. Make it a point to call an applicant’s references. They’ll provide truthful information about the applicant. Even if the candidate appears to be a skilled and excellent employee, talking to references can help you determine whether the applicant would be a good fit.
Get your team involved. The hiring process doesn’t have to be a solo project. Seek out referrals from your team. Because they know the culture, they may be able to spot potential employees.
Related: How to Avoid Hiring a Psychopath
Keep employee profiles.
After you’ve hired the right people, you want to make sure they’re assigned to the right positions — you wouldn’t hire a social media manager to be your bookkeeper. At the same time, encourage your team members to develop their skill sets and preferences.
However, keeping tabs on all the completed training courses and professional certifications of your team is no easy task. That’s why you need to keep employee profiles. Have a system in place you can easily update when a team member has gained a new skill or experience.
Additionally, employee profiles allow you to quickly glance over the skills currently within your organization. If a team member leaves, you may already have an employee with the skills to replace the vacancy left. This means you don’t have to go through the hiring process again.
Create an inviting company culture.
Company culture is basically the personality of your business, and it plays a crucial role when hiring talent. It’s also a major reason why employees are willing to stay with your company.
To create a company culture people would love to join, make sure four elements are present. First, ensure you’ve hired the right people. If you’re still stuck on this, think about the people you’d want representing your brand. Once you have the right employees in place, make sure they know your values and mission. Think of Zappos: The company’s core values are known for guiding how employees work, as well as enjoy their personal lives.
Let your team have a voice. Ideas are everywhere. Allow your teammates to share their opinions and make suggestions on how to improve your business. Finally, remember that your team consists of individuals. Encourage each team member to use her specific strengths when working toward a common goal.
Believe in them.
You may not realize it, but your team members can easily tell whether you believe in them. They can tell by your body language, eye contact, speech and decisions.
When you believe in your team members, you’ll demonstrate how much you appreciate and value them. This could include anything from a handwritten thank-you note to awarding an employee more autonomy. Most importantly, it’s how you interact with them every day that relays confidence and interest — simply taking the time to get to know them means a lot.
Understand their individual goals.
Speaking of getting to know your team, take the time to understand each person’s performance, as well as her long-term goals. This will guide you in determining how to reward and motivate each employee.
For example, you may have one team member who would prefer educational opportunities to paid vacation because that factors into his long-term goals.
I can’t stress this enough: Your organization consists of individuals. At my company, I have a team of individuals working remotely from all over the world. Each team member is unique and brings something different to the table. At the same time, we’re all working toward a common goal.
The only way we can achieve this is through my ability to understand what’s going on internally and externally with my teammates. For example, if one team member is going through some personal problems, it’s understandable if he’s not able to focus on his work as clearly. He may need some emotional support or simply a couple days off to get back on track.
Make it a point to stay connected with your team. Just spending a couple of minutes with teammates can help you understand what they need to succeed.
Encourage opportunities for growth.
Besides offering your team members the chance to strengthen or develop new skills, you can also give them a chance to grow through stretch goals. This could be as simple as them taking on new responsibilities like scheduling and hosting the next team meeting.
Be inspiring, not intimidating.
There’s a difference between being transparent and intimidating your team. For example, providing constructive and honest feedback on how someone can improve is beneficial. But being verbally abusive, like making personal criticisms, is definitely bullying.
Instead of taking the intimidating “do it or else” approach, inspire your team by being supportive and a positive role model. Roll up your sleeves and work side by side with them; show them they’re appreciated, and give them opportunities to shine.
Related: 9 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others
Foster a growth mindset.
Do yourself a favor, and read Carol Dweck’s revolutionary book “Mindset.” It will change your outlook not just on the workplace, but also on your life.
Fostering a growth mindset in your team members simply means you praise their efforts instead of their abilities. This will help them realize that, with effort, they’ll be able to accomplish almost anything.
Get them involved.
If you really want to see how amazing your team is, take the time to ask for suggestions on how to improve your processes, what new services to offer and how they can solve problems within your company. It not only makes them feel valued, but it also shows what your team is really made of and how it can fit into your long-term plan.
Create a culture of success.
One of the most effective ways you’ll encourage your team members to strive for greatness is by creating a culture where mediocracy is never accepted.
This can only be achieved by giving your team the tools, resources and freedom to not only do their jobs, but to also push their limits. Challenge them to think outside the box, provide opportunities for them to grow and assign them new responsibilities.
Don’t hold them too tightly.
I know you don’t want to see your most talented team members leave your company, but you can’t hold onto them too tightly. They need opportunities to learn, grow and spread their wings. In other words, you want to set it up where your team members will be successful if they ever left your organization.
Bringing in new talent is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. It pays to first determine whether you have the tools and talent you need inside your own four walls. Promoting an employee who’s talented and loyal — or moving her into a new role that’s a perfect fit for her skills and your needs — can be exactly the right move for your company and your teammate. Do a little internal scouting, and you may find solutions to your most taxing problems.