4 Steps for Developing Employee Potential

Author: Joseph "Bud" Haney | Source: HCI | Published: March 21, 2013

Imagine the future of your organization. Your company is brimming with the potential found within each of your employees. Developing this potential is a way to strengthen your employees and your company in the same move. After all, it is people that make up a company and can drive it toward success.  
After spending money and time finding a job candidate, it is in developing employee potential that you can begin to reap the benefits of your hard work, but it’s important to use a specific, targeted approach. Follow these four steps to help with developing employee potential:
1. Get to know your employees.
Understanding the individual personalities of your employees can help you better understand how to coach them and develop their skills. Assessing specific strengths and weaknesses will help you know what areas can be improved, and may also help identify potential problems from the start. Getting to know your employees will also help you discover the specific learning style that is best for them. Some employees might need feedback at every turn, while others can carve out their own route in reaching their potential.
2. Set specific achievement goals.
Once you know your employees, you can more effectively design a coaching plan with specific and measurable goals. Goals will keep you and your employee on the same page and ensure that clear expectations are set up at the onset of a development program. Be specific about what you want them to achieve. This information can also help pair new employees with mentors and other more informal development methods.
3. Boost employee engagement.
Targeted employee development will be difficult to achieve unless employees have a clear understanding about how their development is related to the growth of the company. It’s important that employees are committed to their company so that they will want to work on behalf of the organization’s goals. This is not as simple as satisfaction or happiness. Employee engagement is a deeper commitment that can be fostered with frequent, positive feedback and constructive criticism.
4. Reinforce skill development.
Continue to coach your employees even after they reach specific individual goals. Continue the learning and development process by evaluating and addressing new problems as they arise. Many companies spend a disproportionate amount of time training employees at the start of their job and then let individual development wane. Make training an ongoing effort.
How do you develop potential within your organization?
Joseph “Bud” Haney is cofounder of Profiles International, and serves as its president and Chief Executive Officer. After his baseball career, he worked for an international human resources development company in several executive roles before becoming its president. In addition, he is a coauthor of the best-selling business guide 40 Strategies for Winning in Business and the book,Leadership Charisma, written to help people harness their personal and professional charisma to improve their business and careers.