According to research from Gallup, 79% of global employees aren’t engaged at work. 

This represents a crippling amount of wasted talent and potential. 

Talent is undeniably the most valuable resource an organisation can have. Companies are their people, and if a company’s people aren’t performing to their fullest, the company can’t reach its true potential. 

Are your employees living for the weekend, watching the clock, or just working for their paycheck? All of these are critical warning signs that engagement is low. 

Fortunately, there are many ways you can create an engaged workforce. 

If you can tap into wasted potential and maximise employee talent, this can give your organisation a huge competitive edge. 

Continue reading to find out some of the key strategies for preventing workplace talent wastage.  

Invest in Your Onboarding Process

Maximising employee talent starts in the onboarding process. If new hires don’t integrate, this can result in chronic wasted potential. It can erode your company culture and increase employee turnover. 

One of the biggest mistakes companies make around onboarding is the duration. A short orientation process is not enough to fully integrate an employee. 

It can take multiple months or even years for a new hire to truly become part of the fabric of your organisation. During this time, you need to take steps to ensure hires are engaged and heading in the right direction within your company. 

This is not the time to “set and forget” an employee. Instead, it’s the time to uncover and nurture their potential and give them the tools, roadmaps, responsibilities, and support they need to take off in their role. 

Creating a comprehensive onboarding process is a complex undertaking. Especially if you have employees all over the globe. If you’re hiring from multiple regions, you might want to partner with an EOR like Bradford Jacobs that can administer the onboarding process and make sure you’re 100% compliant with local laws. 

Create Advancement Roadmaps

For an employee to be motivated to stay, they need to know what advancement/growth opportunities there are for them. And to be engaged with their work, they need to feel like what they’re doing is contributing to their future. 

Work out a roadmap with each employee during the onboarding and integration phases.

Besides working on clear roadmaps, you should also implement development opportunities to support them. 

Development opportunities don’t need to consist of lengthy seminars or courses. If you want to maximise engagement and employee time, look into things like:

  • Microlearning models
  • Video training software
  • Learning management systems

Create a Culture of Real-Time Feedback

Open communication and feedback is another critical ingredient of an engaged workforce. 

By the time biannual reviews roll around, it’s often too late to give specific feedback on work done months ago. 

Instead, aim to provide real-time feedback on an ongoing basis. This help managers work more effectively with their teams, and gives employees the feedback they need, as they need it. 

Instead of waiting months, they can implement the feedback right away and accelerate their performance. 

Besides being frequent, feedback should also be:

  • Meaningful
  • Specific
  • Candid
  • Constructive
  • Supportive

Feedback should also go both ways. Receiving feedback from employees is critical. 

Make sure employees have avenues to submit real-time feedback. Maintain an open-door policy, and encourage employees to come forward with their opinions and observations. 

Focus on the Right Incentives

Production-based bonuses and generous overtime are great for showing employees that you appreciate the extra hours put in. It can also be a good short-term motivation, giving employees the fuel they need to push through a period of intense pressure. 

But carrot and stick incentives aren’t that effective for long-term engagement. If you use monetary gain as the only incentive, you’re back to the “work is just a paycheck” model.

And for a lot of people, compensation isn’t everything. 

Employees aren’t just motivated by what they can get out. They’re also motivated by what they can contribute.

To feel valuable, team members need to see how their efforts are directly contributing to the success of the organisation. If there is no transparency into this, their work can feel meaningless and unseen. 

Give Recognition

Recognition is another critical component of employee engagement. If your employees aren’t being recognised for their contributions, you’re leaving their talents unnoticed.

You’re also giving them a reason to quit. Almost half of Americans leave their jobs because they feel unappreciated. 

There are many ways you can give tangible recognition, from bonuses to prizes or promotions. But don’t forget, recognition-related rewards don’t have to be big-ticket items to have an impact. If your budget is small, focus on things like coffee vouchers and discount coupons. 

Recognition also doesn’t always have to come with a reward. Often, the simple act of acknowledging someone’s efforts is enough. 

Most of the time, managers will give recognition for performance. But don’t forget to recognise things that go beyond pure productivity and performance.

For instance, if an employee personally embodies the spirit and purposes of your organisation—you should definitely shine a spotlight on this. 

Create a Culture of Solidarity and Community

A weak company culture is often the root cause of wasted talent.

Negative culture dynamics can erode loyalty, and make employees feel underappreciated and undervalued. 

Creating a culture of solidarity and community is a surefire way to tap into non-utilised talent and strengthen your company as a whole. 

Healthy, positive company cultures are founded on three main principles. Communication, connection, and caring. 

Set up communication protocols and equip teams with the right tools. Encourage interpersonal connection through team building and make room for water-cooler-style interactions to happen. 

Foster an environment of support by giving managers the go-ahead to extend gestures of kindness when the need arises. For instance, if an employee’s recently been ill, given birth, or been injured, something like a food delivery app gift card could be the perfect way to extend care and support. 

Let Employees Do What They’re Good At

Non-utilised talent is defined as:

  • Employees whose skills and talents aren’t being leveraged to their full capability
  • Employees whose time is taken up by tasks that could be done more efficiently by someone else

This sounds simple enough, but here’s the kicker. Making sure employee talent isn’t being wasted is something that has to happen on the ground.

Managers need to connect with team members on a personal level. Otherwise, they won’t know what hidden, transferrable talents are going to waste. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t one set formula, business strategy, or tool that’s going to achieve this connection. Understanding your employees isn’t something you can buy. Instead, it’s a human-to-human understanding that requires one-on-one interaction. 

To facilitate this, encourage managers to connect with employees beyond their roles. This could look like asking questions about personal projects and hobbies. 

You can also look into giving employees a forum where they can showcase their skills.

Is Wasted Talent Impacting Your Organisation?

Is your organisation struggling with wasted talent? Wasted potential could be sapping the lifeblood of your business, and eroding employee engagement. 

But, it also presents a golden opportunity. If you can tap non-utilised talent within your organisation, this can reinvigorate everything from your company culture to your bottom line. 

Not sure where to begin? Bradford Jacobs can help. As an Employer of Record, we work with businesses to attract, engage, onboard, and induct top talent. 

Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organisation with its talent management.