Are your workers underutilised? How to tap into their potential

A vast majority of employees’ skills are not being fully utilised to meet organisational goals. Here’s how to unleash their potential.

85% of workers feel they could be more efficient at work, but because of skill underutilisation, do not live up to their full potential.  This equates to about $23,600 in lost productivity per employee, which costs organisations hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
 
One of the reasons for this untapped potential lies in a lack of awareness about employee competence.
 
During the recession, a stagnated job market made applicants wary of promoting their qualifications due to fear of seeming overqualified.  As a result, many companies do not utilise their workers’ talents fully, simply because they don’t know those skills exist.
 
Six steps to overcome this talent gap, as recommended by HR specialists Chandler Macleod, include:
 
  • Considering whether a full-time employee is necessary, as a contract worker may be able to fill niche roles more effectively
  • Using data and HRIS to engage in time recording and skill audits, then applying those analytics to place employees in positions that align with their talents
  • Creating a culture of flexibility and support that allows employees to vocalise ideas and showcase their qualifications
  • Providing financial incentives for productivity and performance
  • Investing in training for independent contract workers and casual employees, whose skill development should also be a priority for organisations
  • Always looking forward to what skills will be needed in the future, and preparing the workforce accordingly
 
At a very minimum, employers should create a dialogue with workers to gain an understanding of what they are able to contribute to the organisation.   
 
“It’s about being brave enough to ask about their skills,” said Cameron Judson, CEO of Chandler Macleod.  “It can be done informally one-on-one between manager and employee, or it can be done more formally at organisational level to facilitate aggregation of data.”

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