How do you nurture your best talent?
A top priority for almost every business will be to retain and develop their best people. As well as the short term benefit of keeping hold of good performers, nurturing your best employees also allows you to shape the future leaders of your business, equipping them with all the necessary skills and experience to step seamlessly into senior roles in the future.
But how should you go about this? What should you prioritise in the development of ‘high potential’ employees? And if you’re a smaller company, how can you compete with the highly developed programmes offered by bigger competitors?
We believe there are three elements to developing your people to be the best they can be:
The first is technical skills - the depth of knowledge that provides the foundation to reaching good, informed decisions and ideas. These skills are industry and role specific - for example, thorough knowledge of family law, shift management, or logistics expertise.
The second is experience. There’s simply no substitute when it comes to building confidence and reinforcing knowledge with real-world scenarios.
The third element is personal skills. The ability to relate to others, inspire, lead, support and get stuff done.
While the first two elements differ by job role, the third is universal. It’s also the most overlooked by many talent development programmes. We tend to assume people will pick up these skills in the course of their careers, but without specific training and development, this is a risky assumption. The result of this thinking can be seen in most businesses, in the shape of experienced and knowledgeable senior staff who have huge blind spots when it comes to leadership, building relationships, prioritising time and delivering on commitments.
This gap is where 4and20million direct our focus. Our 12 month Supercharging Talent programme delivers on the personal growth needed to complement technical skills and experience. These are the areas that we believe are both vital and neglected in the development of great talent:
Self awareness and empathy
Understanding your own character, your strengths and blind spots, and how to better relate to others is a vital step in guiding personal development and building positive relationships with others.
A positive outlook unlocks greater creativity, productivity and purpose. But having a positive outlook is often mistakenly considered to be outside of our control. Developing a positive approach is hugely valuable in overcoming challenges and motivating others.
We’ve written before about the challenges of maintaining focus and productivity in the modern workplace - on average, we’re productive for less than two hours a day. Learning the techniques to be more focused leads to higher quality thinking and greater productivity.
Being more human
Many highly driven and ambitious employees fall into a trap of working ever-longer hours and taking on unsustainable workloads, leading to the current high rates of burnout and stress. Learning how to combine periods of intense focus with the need to recharge and reflect enables employees to become healthier and perform better.
As many people will attest, being super smart and talented at your job does not make someone a great leader. With most senior roles relying on formal or informal leadership, it’s a complex skill that shouldn’t be left to chance.
There is a lot of unmerited characterisation of Millennial and Gen Z ‘snowflakes’ that is unhelpful in characterising younger employees. It’s nevertheless true that resilience is a vital skill that - like those above - is often left to chance when developing the skills needed to navigate challenging situations and inevitable setbacks.
Probably the most familiar and ‘traditional’ skill on this list, presenting remains a core skill to many roles - whether in the form of PowerPoint-style presentations or simply speaking to groups of people with the aim of educating, inspiring, convincing or selling. We’ve all seen enough bad presentations to know this is still an in-demand skill!
Most leaders are comfortable with agreeing objectives and setting tasks. For many companies though, the bigger challenge is in getting stuff done - turning great plans and initiatives into hard results. Developing an action-orientated outlook is the difference between someone who has good ideas and someone who achieves great results.
If you don’t currently provide training and development for your people in these areas, or you’d like to hear how we can help, get in touch! We’d be happy to hear from you.