Organizations spend enormous amounts of resources to identify and hire the right people.  Employees are brought in with high expectations because of their existing skills to add value and further the organization goals.  Then, with good intention, often those attributes are overshadowed to focus on areas of growth and development.  This is meant to be good to the employee, after all the research tells us in the new millennia continuous learning is the key to happy and engaged employees.  However, counter to this we often see disillusioned and disengaged employees working so hard at the skills they lack, that the very talents they were hired for are forgotten.  How can we do this better for the benefit of both the employee and the organization?

The best organizations find ways to utilize the existing skills of an employee to further organizational performance today, and also capitalize on the interests and passions for continued individual learning and growth going forward.  Balancing this utilization of skills, while promoting continuous development, provides several benefits.  It provides a sense to the employee the organization understood and realized how to utilize their existing skills to contribute to the overall organization direction and goals.  It also sends the signal the organization has a solid understanding of its direction.  Most importantly, linking demonstrated skills to the success of the organization builds positive employee sentiment of their added value.

Leveraging this synergy of individual skills to organizational performance, managers can chart a plan for growth of the organization linked to the continuous learning and development of employees.  This should not, and cannot, be done alone but rather in concert with the skilled employees you hire.  Consistently employees point to managers that are inclusive and transparent as the most effective and inspiring.  Coaching tops the list to help with career development, which partners goal setting and creating outcomes with personal growth and change.  This inclusiveness leads to better commitment through the value added of current skills and dedication to future growth and development.

Skillful inclusive managers can avoid costly attrition and lack of employee contribution creating missed opportunities.  To have engaged employees there must be continuous conversations about their current contributions, refining of their future goals and how they relate to the future organizational direction.  Involve employees in planning of the organization and their own future.  Share detailed information of the direction and challenges being faced.  Elicit their input to overcome and provide insight where they believe they can contribute positively.

Employees who understand how they contribute to success today with their skills, and understand the future vision and how they fit into that picture are the creation of an engaged and committed workforce.

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