5 Ways to Recognise and Optimise Talent within your Team

Every organisational team should consist of diverse skills; that’s what makes a team strong and resilient. Not everyone can be great at all things, and so a variety of skills ensures that where some are weaker, others provide strength. 

Team diversity, however, ceases to work if leaders fail to optimise their team members’ individual potential. That’s one problem. The next problem is that leaders can often overlook or fail to recognise that there are individuals within their teams capable of fulfilling their skills gap, if only they were provided with the necessary training. Instead, these leaders go on to hire more staff when really they could’ve utilised their labour resource more effectively. 

The solution to these ‘problems’, is having leaders recognise and optimise the talent and skill within their teams, but it cannot be done without team collaboration and employee engagement. 

1. Create grounds for open-communication

Yes, basic communication means discussing and sharing thoughts, ideas and opinions, but invaluable, open-communication is really a product of strong employee engagement and team collaboration. Without this, communication is very limited. Therefore, in order to create grounds for open-communication, it’s essential you first work on establishing employee engagement and collaboration. This way, individuals will feel more comfortable approaching management with their suggestions, feedback, solutions etc. Teams and team members are often very well-aware of their capabilities, but management’s decisions often determine the amount of involvement they have in a project, and the freedom they have to execute their skills and abilities. Therefore, when team members share their ideas, management should listen and use the skills they’re eager to exercise.

2. Challenge team members to take on unfamiliar tasks 

Team members can sometimes get too comfortable with the role they play within their teams. They get used to performing the same tasks and exercising the same skills over and over again. But no-one grows in this scenario – not the individual, nor the team, or organisation. In this case, it’s the responsibility of management to challenge skills and capabilities within their teams by delegating unfamiliar tasks to team members, provided they’re confident the individual will be able to perform (given their experience, ability to learn quickly and the support around them etc). Enhanced team performance is a given if management explores and nurtures the hidden skills within their teams.

3. Invest in skills development training 

Investing in skills training is another tried and tested way of nurturing and unlocking the hidden skills within your team. In many organisations, training is often a lesser priority, which is unfortunate, because it positively impacts a whole host of workplace and workforce components. Not only does it improve employee engagement, enhance job satisfaction, motivation and productivity, it saves costs. Using the skills already at your disposal (but have yet to nurture/access), saves you from recruiting individuals with the skills you’re looking for. 

4. Establish team collaboration

Team collaboration is absolutely essential, not only for teamwork but to maximise and optimise the potential of your team members. Team collaboration needs to happen during each phase of a project – from the planning through to execution and review. Team members often learn from each other, and skills are often awakened within individuals after being exposed to scenarios that call for them. Team collaboration creates a platform for individuals to contribute, whether it’s by means of suggestion or execution, and facilitates learning in a way that not even skills training could accomplish. Learning ‘on the spot’ is achieved when team collaboration is entrenched.  

5. Strengthen employee engagement 

Employee engagement lies at the core of the above points. Without solid employee engagement, none of the above can be successfully accomplished. Employee engagement begins with management but is guided by the workforce. It essentially ensures that the organisations two essential ‘parties’ (management and the workforce) are working together to achieve goals and objectives, and that no decision is made without the other. Employee engagement solves the problem of poor workplace culture, poor communication and motivation, high staff turnover, dwindling productivity and much more, which is why organisations are fast deploying strong employment engagement strategies within their workforce.

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