Untapped employee talents are buried business treasures.

When you hire an employee, you focus on the skills which are necessary for that particular job.  But that employee may have hidden talents which could help you take your business to the next level.  As a small business owner it is important to discover those hidden treasures, but you are going to have to do a little digging.  Once uncovered however, if you can match those special skills with the right position, you’ll have a match made in heaven.  Your company will benefit and the employee will excel.

“Employees who identify their talents and passions and apply those toward driving business usually do much better,” says Dan Coughlin a training consultant who works with companies to get the best performance from workers.  “Employers can create a very motivating workplace by asking staff about their strengths and passions,” Coughlin explains.

Coughlin a former athletic coach, borrows a few techniques from the playing field
in his approach to business coaching.  He suggests huddling with staffers;  “Small meetings can give small business owners valuable information about what drives their employees and how those talents can be used to grow the company,” Coughlin explains.
Employee outings can also reveal some unique characteristics.  Create an environment allowing individuals to showcase their unique abilities.  Coughlin assists his clients in designing activities that will create an ongoing dialogue about each individual’s unique perspectives.

If your company’s budget won’t allow you to bring in a coach to help employees unearth their gifts and apply them to your firm’s day-to-day operation; here are some steps you can take.

Make the Connection
Don’t assume employees understand your firm’s priorities or what you expect from them.  You need to help your staff connect to why their job matters.  Then, give them the freedom to utilize their talents in creative ways.  In other words, give them opportunities to show their stuff.

Check In Regularly
Create an ongoing dialogue to gain information which can reinforce trust and commitment.  It is easy for well-intentioned staffers to get off track if they don’t feel as though they are part of the bigger picture.  Regular meetings will help you steer them back on course.

Have Some Fun
Play time is often the best time to discover an employee’s hidden talent.  Schedule a company softball game and picnic or consider planning a company talent show.  Informal, fun environments provide a safe way for employees to showcase their talents and they can also enhance employee morale.

Develop A Game Plan
Once you have identified an employee’s talent and passion develop a plan to incorporate it into their job responsibilities.  If this means additional training or experience for the employee, it’s an excellent investment.

“I have always had a philosophy of allowing employees to take classes in anything they want to learn, given budget constraints and time with the company, etc.  Most people, especially star performers will pay back in performance any money that is ever invested in them.  I let them pick any classes – art and music, included.  Goals and dream development are a constant process,” says Trish Adams, president/founder, Education Resources/StarShine Academy.

Small businesses need to utilize every resource to the fullest.  Discovering hidden employee talents can be a big boost to your bottom line.