Discover the Hidden Talents in Your Workforce
Renowned businessman, political figure and philanthropist, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. once said, “I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.”
This quote is a perfect illustration of how important employee development is to organizations’ success. A company may hire the smartest or best-fit employees, but if those employees aren’t developed or given opportunities to grow, the company isn’t reaching maximum success.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr. became president of IBM after his father. Growing up, Tom Jr. wasn’t a great student and his father doubted his ability to, one day take over the company. But during World War II, Tom Jr. flew around the world serving in the Air Force, and his attitude suddenly changed. According to an article from Entrepreneur Magazine, Tom Jr. “displayed raw nerve, visionary foresight and shrewd planning skills; as a result of his experiences, he returned from the war confident.”
Tom Jr. went on to become president of IBM in 1952. He recruited electronic experts and invested billions of dollars to develop new technology and planning. As a result, IBM was one of the most successful, innovative corporations during the up-and-coming computer age.
So what made Tom Watson Jr. so successful? Development! He focused on the development of research, technology and, most importantly, talent.
In light of Tom Watson Jr.’s exceptional focus on development, here are four steps to develop your employees to reach their full potential and succeed.
1. Assess. Before you can effectively develop an employee, first and foremost, you have to understand them! You have to know what areas need development and how they respond to management. Know their strengths, weaknesses, interests and behavioral tendencies. It’s also important to ask employees about their career goals. What do they want to accomplish within the next few years? And how can you help them achieve those goals? This may sound like an overwhelming amount of information, but with the help of assessments, this data is easy to find out and use.
2. Find Gaps. Once you have the information mentioned above, then you can analyze and identify the gaps that the employee needs to fill in order to succeed. For example, a comprehensive employee assessment, like the ProfileXT™, measures thinking and reasoning skills, behavioral traits, occupational interests and performance. Managers can use the assessment results to compare employees with other top-performers or leaders and identify the areas that need development. Let’s say an employee scored high in the area of critical thinking, but had a low score in assertiveness. As a manger, you’ll know the areas to focus on and encourage.
3. Challenge. The key to development is to create a challenging and stimulating environment. Once you know the areas that need development, give the employee a specific project that will require them to step up and think outside the box. Challenging employees is also a great motivator! Make the project seem as if it is a reward for their meaningful contributions and a chance to excel.
4. Mentor. While developing employees, you want to be more than just a manager. You want to be a mentor. Be the person employees can go to for advice and motivation. Sometimes you might need to guide the employee in a step-by-step process, and other times you may just need to give encouragement and praise. Having a mentor-relationship creates an encouraging environment for development. Employees will most likely make mistakes – as a mentor, keep pushing them to learn and try new things. Give them the confidence they need to develop the proper skills and strengths.
Take if from business legend Thomas Watson, Jr., if you bring out the energy, confidence and talent of your people, your organization will be headed toward greatness.
What are some other ways you develop employees?
Source: Profiles International.