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Talent Under Wraps


There are hidden talents all around us. This includes our organizations. Team members have skillsets beyond those evident in their current roles. How do we find out what those talents are? How do we make note of them? How do we ensure we give internal folks an opportunity to use those talents instead of looking externally? Those are some of the challenges organizations face when trying to match talents and skills to ever evolving needs.


Recognizing and cataloguing the skills in a workforce can be a daunting task. It reminds me a little of shopping for craft supplies. I like to think I’m a good at securing good deals. From sales to thrifting to repurposing – I fancy myself proficient to exceeds expectations. I have grand ideas for what to work on next and plenty of supplies to make it happen. I then store those supplies away for “when I have time” and quickly forget about most things I bought! By the time I’m ready to work on a project, I have forgotten what supplies I have and instead of looking through my stash, I go out to purchase more!


This happens in our workplace too. During the recruiting and selection process, we (presumably) get to know candidates and delve into their skillsets and talents. While impossible to learn everything during an interview, we strive to learn all we can about the individual, and whether they are a match for our culture. We may even take notes throughout this process. Once onboarding is complete, the conversation is stored away, and many times, never revisited again. When a need comes up, leaders tend to look to external sources first even though “research shows that external hires take longer to adapt to organizational culture and have higher rates of attrition often because they aren’t as tuned in to company norms and culture.”


So how do we improve this? The same way I can improve the use of my stash: pay attention and put items to use. And just like crafting, let the creativity flow beyond the obvious. What I mean is, we can engage team members to use their talents, even if the talents are not specific to their role but would be a benefit to the organization, and enjoyable to the worker.


I absolutely 💗the example from a recent Ask A Manager post where an employee crochets blankets for others to use. “The director had started the whole thing years and years ago when he’d noticed her crocheting, was fascinated, and asked if she’d mind taking on a special project. She said okay, but she wasn’t providing the yarn, he said that’s fine, and had it written into the budget.”


Examples:


Capture skills information by individual – does your payroll or HCM platform have a place to capture skills? If not, can a miscellaneous field be used for this purpose? Even a spreadsheet can be created for this


Party planning – is there someone who likes to take the lead in celebrations on their own? Ask them (with appropriate guidelines and supervision) to lead organizing the holiday party


Milestone/Celebration greeting cards – for the person who enjoys ensuring folks get milestone greeting cards, allow them to create or circulate them


Volunteering – does leadership want more community presence but you do not have the time to develop a program or do research? Partner with someone who already enjoys volunteering or at least, ask for their thoughts

Most of the examples above are not work task related but can make a difference about how someone feels about their workplace.



As for my craft supply stash, I did put it to good use this year. Checkout my ornaments page here. Comment below to be entered to win one!


What are some other ways we can capture and utilize hidden talents at work?



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Kellie Schelhaas
Kellie Schelhaas
Nov 15, 2023

We've been on an uphill climb to fill positions. This is a good reminder that some of the talent we are looking for may already be here. We had a new hire today that is starting on dayshift, but told me that she typically has worked overnights. I'm keeping that info. at the front of my mental file. Will see how training goes, but she could be a good shift lead for nights in the future.

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HRDeptof1
HRDeptof1
Nov 15, 2023
Replying to

That’s valuable information, especially for night shift which can be so difficult to staff.

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Kim Chalmers
Kim Chalmers
Nov 15, 2023

Excellent point about determining what other talents employees have. My daughter is a prime example. She has a degree in environmental science and then went on to get a degree in nuclear medicine. When she graduated the hospitals weren’t hiring nuc med personnel. She applied for a position as an admin with a gas and oil company. She had been my admin in the HR department for me when going to college so had admin experience. When they found that she could help interpret field x-rays of piping, etc. they moved her to admin in engineering and paid for her to go to school in engineering. She now works in completions engineering for a gas and oil company. That first…

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HRDeptof1
HRDeptof1
Nov 15, 2023
Replying to

Kudos to savvy leaders who vigilantly recognize talent!

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Maria Robare
Maria Robare
Nov 15, 2023

I am hoping to implement an individual development plan program in 2024 where employees will complete a profile questionnaire that will include a list of talents that do not need to be related to thir current position.

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HRDeptof1
HRDeptof1
Nov 15, 2023
Replying to

That's an excellent idea!

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Amie Lynn
Amie Lynn
Nov 15, 2023

I once used my sewing kit I kept at my desk to mend the hem of an execs skirt prior to a big meeting!

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HRDeptof1
HRDeptof1
Nov 15, 2023
Replying to

That’s impressive! What a great save.

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