A Solution

A major problem plaguing many small and middle market companies is hiring exceptional talent to fuel growth and constructively break barriers preventing business improvement.

The unemployment rate is at 3.6%, the lowest level in over 50 years!  The pressure being felt by employers to find great team members is very real.

How can business owners, CEOs and executives maximize the talent currently on the team vs. finding new “unicorn” employees?   Here are a few simple suggestions.

Appreciate and Praise – show public appreciation to those doing a great job.  People want to be recognized and appreciated.  With a simply “thank you,” or calling out a specific individual or team accomplishment during a staff meeting, impromptu gathering or company town hall, the individual(s) can be genuinely appreciated for their extraordinary efforts.

This public praise sends a clear message executives care, are observing others efforts and are willing to demonstrate gratitude for those willing to go above and beyond.

Ask – Sit down and chat it up with middle managers or individual contributors on how they would prefer to be rewarded for doing exemplary work.  Note, it is best to preface the conversation with some context.  No, the company will not be paying off any mortgages or funding cruises around the world.  However, a gift card to a favorite restaurant, an unexpected Friday off that does not count towards vacation pay or taking the employee to lunch can go a long way. 

Reverse Mentoring – Find talented members in the company that possesses a unique skill you would like to improve.  It could be technology related, project management abilities, analytics or strong communication skills.  Recognize the employee’s talent, ask if they would be open to helping you improve this unique skill they possess and offer to share your experience, insights, or skills the employee might benefit from.  By offering a reverse mentoring role, both parties can learn from each other while building a stronger professional bond.

Training – If there are clearly under developed skills in the organization, investing time and money training team members is a great way to build the competence and confidence of existing staff.  The sessions can be provided by internal experts or outside providers.  Regardless, by investing in the existing team, engagement, loyalty and hopefully, productivity will increase.  Training need not take days or weeks.  A “quick” lunch and learn can be a great way to teach critical skills the organization requires. 

Experience and repetition are the mother of all skill building.  Once training is completed, practical application of the “new” skill must be immediately implemented.  By linking the learning with real-life business challenges, the trainee will accelerate learning while contribute to bettering the business. 

cost to recruit, compensate and onboard new talent is extremely expensive.  The return on investment of appreciation, recognition, reverse mentoring and training can be exponential.

Get creative.  Have fun.  Empower others.  Enhance engagement and build the employees you have the privilege to lead.