Business Unit Talent is a Productivity Key

Most successful managers have a clear grasp on the need for the most talented people possible. It is an accepted maxim for developing a successful team and reaching high levels of execution excellence.  But..there’s a catch.

Many small and medium size companies can not always afford the top talent. What to do?

Whether it’s your existing staff or new recruits managers need to stop giving lip service and a low priority to training and development.  One of the top ranked employee “needs” is for professional development. Most people want to learn – grow – perform. Most managers are often too busy to create a real and sustained employee development program.

employee development

Keys to Productivity

If you are a large company with a strong HR staff and the budget to compete at the highest level for experience or top flight new employee talent training is still a key but you start way ahead of the curve.

What about the small and medium company talent needs?

Building Expertise One Person & One Skill at a Time

While there are any number of techniques for the smaller firm to develop talented people, here are the top methods:

  • Outline the key skills and experience required for a given job position to meet requirements.
  • Utilize available and affordable Personality and Behavioral Profiles for recruiting.
  • Select experienced employees from your staff or from another department that match the training needs for your positions to be Mentors
  • Look for local sources of free or affordable training and skill building opportunities (e.g. chamber of commerce, local universities, etc.)

For example, here is a website resource for testing for the skills and talents a business may need.

You can even encourage employees to seek viable self-development opportunities. One example might be the recent book on Emotional Intelligence . As an employer, you could consider giving a motivated employee reasonable time off to attend a training program or seminar. Ask them to come back and make a presentation to other employees on the topic.  This is referred to as “Third Party Training” and not only reinforces the presenters training but passes it along to others.

Cross training is another technique that is easy and generally available in most business units or teams.

It is a bit of a take on mentoring but is more specific and short term in nature.  We found a good reference in Forbes on the Cross-training technique.

Cross-Training: Your Best Defense Against Indispensable Employees – Forbes
Forbes Cross-Training: Your Best Defense Against Indispensable Employees Forbes It can also include training for different skill sets in the event that a key employee leaves, or simply as a way to prepare a lower-level employee to move up in the organization. Either way, cross-training can be extremely beneficial to your …

The concept of increasing an employees talent level by developing one new skill at a time certainly lend itself to the cross-training method.  Determine a specific skill that would allow an employee to be more productive, find another person with a high level of said skill and set up cross-training.

It can also include training for different skill sets in the event that a key employee leaves, or simply as a way to prepare a lower-level employee to move up in the organization

We mentioned earlier that employee surveys often list professional development as a high priority.  It is safe to say that underdeveloped staff can turn into disgruntled staff.  This can have a real negative impact on team productivity and carries it’s own cost to the firm.

Even small and medium firms can develop professional training opportunities. It takes a commitment from top management and as drive to make developing staff a part of the companies culture. 

Want to have a substantial increase in productivity and execution? Train your people.

Interested in reducing time to complete tasks and create work product? Train your people.

Would reducing mistakes and down time serve your team’s performance? Train your people.

Could a highly motivated team operating in a high-performance environment create wins? Train your people.

When even a single employee gets better everyone in the business unit gets better. They perform to a higher standard. They get noticed and create a “me too” feeling among the team. People want to get on the growth and development team. Can any manager with a vision for their company or team afford to not prioritize employee development…I think not.



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Michael D. Moore is the publisher of Management By Delegation and is a veteran executive with 40+ years in the Banking and Insurance Industries. A devoted entrepreneur, using his business experience to provide resources for managers and leaders at all levels. For the last 5 years, he has built a growing web presence for helping people with personal and professional development. To learn more about these advanced concepts & join our group Click here 5 Must Have Management Skills

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