Talent Management

6 ways to unleash the potential of seasoned employees.

how to unleash the potential of seasoned employees

Some time after hiring an amazing team, managers may notice that employees with longer tenure aren’t living up to their full potential.

The article is written by Nick Rubright

It’s definitely not uncommon. According to the famous 2020 Gallup report, 51% of employees report feeling disengaged in the workplace, while 13% report feeling actively disengaged. This can add up to $550 billion in losses for U.S. businesses annually.

More seasoned employees bring valuable experience and perspective to any team, and it’s especially important to be mindful of their engagement levels. 

Changing technology and styles of work, as well as loss of interest due to lack of challenge or investment from employers, can cause employees who have been on the team the longest to fall behind.

However, there are many unique ways for managers to unleash seasoned employees’ full potential and build a thriving workplace where everyone contributes.

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1. Become a better leader

To help managers unleash the full potential of their more seasoned employees, remember that their leadership techniques are a significant factor. After all, their team comes to them for guidance and support.

If their leadership style involves micromanaging, demanding tasks, and not listening to their team, how can they expect their team to perform well? No one likes a leader who micromanages.

Leadership skills are important both when building a company and nurturing a team. A report by Gallup shows that these factors are key for leaders:

  • Transparency.
  • Open trust and communication.
  • Compelling mission and vision.
  • Culture of accountability.

So as a leader, where does one start? Soft skills and emotional intelligence are key. With soft skills, they can better communicate with their workforce and understand their struggles and successes.

These skills will also help them pick up on subtle nonverbal cues and signs. When people feel as if they can trust their manager, and that they have their back, employees can truly flourish.

Managers should avoid these leadership pitfalls:

  • Publicly singling anyone out.
  • Micromanaging.
  • Not providing feedback.
  • Discouraging innovation.
  • Not addressing pressing issues.
  • Failing to set goals.

2. Understand what motivates your team

Not every employee will be motivated the same way, but recognition is key to employee satisfaction. In fact, a recent study found that employee recognition is the most important factor for 37% of workers.

Employee recognition can play a major role in workforce productivity. When employees feel recognized and valued, they will be more productive and more motivated.

Employee recognition is more than big, expensive gifts or company-wide events. There are many simple ways to recognize your employees. Praise can come from both managers and colleagues alike.

Consider an email template for managers to show their gratitude or allow employees to thank their peers, or even an incentives program. This can encourage employees to maximize their sales skills, productivity, and innovation.

When managers find a method that works for their company, they should build a system and process into their company workflow. Proper, consistent employee recognition can be an important factor in making employees feel valued, seen, and heard within the organization.

This not only discourages employee turnover, but also sets them on the path to unleashing their success, creativity, and overall innovation. 

3. Improve time management

No one likes a micromanager. But at the end of the day, time management can have a huge impact on employee productivity. But how does time management help employees unleash their full potential?

The reality is that time management skills differ from employee to employee and manager to employee. A manager may excel in time management while their employees may not possess the same skills.

If a team is struggling with organizational skills, perhaps it’s best to work on time management skills through coaching.

It’s the leader’s responsibility to guide their team through better time management techniques and get to the bottom of any issues.

Research shows, for example, a strong link between time management and sleep. If team members are working too hard and missing out on sleep, it may be affecting the way they manage their time.

It may also help to find out when a team is most productive and why, so they can schedule their most important tasks or meetings during that time.

However, before loading a team with more work, consider asking about their capacity. In addition, it isn’t a good practice to interrupt a team when they are in the middle of a task — or off the clock.

4. Build a supportive work environment

Some employees may be demotivated to put in their best effort when they know they won’t receive positive feedback or praise. Building a positive and uplifting work environment can be key to unlocking employees’ potential. Leaders should aim to build a workplace where flexibility, innovation, and positive feedback can thrive.

They can do this by giving employees the chance to show them what they can do. After all, they’re the experts in their own field of work, and they’ve been hired for their ideas and thoughts.

Workers should have opportunities to show off their unique talents or to gain new skills through training programs. Workers need a space to turn their ideas into actions. That might mean having one employee take the lead on a project or organize an after-work event for team bonding.

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In the era of social distancing and remote work, a virtual team-building exercise might help employees who work from home part-time or all of the time feel connected to their colleagues. Asking fun team-building questions over a conference call can be a great start.

5. Allow employees to be themselves

When workers have the ability to tap into their strengths and weaknesses, and they have more autonomy to work in whatever way best suits them, they can flourish. Seasoned employees who are encouraged to be themselves will likely be much happier in the long run.

Greater control can have a big impact on employee engagement, too. If workers feel freer to pick their own schedule, they can build a better work-life balance.

With greater employee engagement, employees can feel encouraged to learn in a way that works with their schedules so they can improve their weaknesses and build upon their strengths.

6. Promote the company vision

Employees want to understand the big picture — and how they fit into it. It’s important that they understand how important they are to the company’s vision.

To do this, each employee’s goals and day-to-day tasks should be connected to the bigger company goals. Managers should show their employees exactly how they impact the business. Graphs, analytics, and roundtable discussions can help employees put the puzzle pieces together.

When employees understand their place in the workplace, they will feel more engaged and more motivated to work toward that bigger goal — which, in turn, will boost productivity.

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