In our last blog we made the case that star employees can be developed within the organization. Hi-po employees can save companies money, increase employee retention, and boost employee engagement. But it’s about more than just money—you need to tap into what drives these employees. There’s considerable evidence that the brain and the way people act is key in training and developing high potential employees.
Here are some tips for developing employees with different thinking and behavioral preferences to help create an all-star team:
- For those with a Conceptual preference, long-term, big-picture ideas matter; so give them an understanding of the ultimate goals and values of the organization. Allow them to brainstorm new ideas and take those ideas seriously. Give them feedback on ways to develop their ideas to the next level, in a way that complements the direction of the organization.
- Give Analytically minded individuals the opportunity to research and collect data for their projects. Allow them a channel to communicate their findings and do not be afraid of the data they bring. Data provides these stars ways to improve the way your company works while sharpening their research and presentation skills. Also, by showing that you, too, value facts and data, you will help them engage with organizational leadership and feel that their long hours of fact-checking means something to the organization.
- For the Structurally preferenced individuals in the organization, give space to plan and create processes for how things in their part of the organization are done. Even while these employees are still developing, give them a voice in the processes that they engage in daily. Most of all, build engagement with them by following the plan, respecting the timelines, and valuing procedure.
Behavioral tendencies matter as well—the ways employees express themselves, highlight ideas, and create workflow can mean big things for development and engagement.
- For those on the talkative end of the Expressiveness spectrum, the ability to converse with employees at all levels of the organization is critical. These individuals think best through verbal interaction, so have them hone their skills in brainstorming sessions or in meetings. Engage them in conversation and make them feel their perspective is valued.
- Allow those on the quieter end of Expressiveness the ability to communicate their ideas in ways in which they feel comfortable. Recognize that less verbal engagement does not mean less mental engagement, and give them the tools they need to make their voices heard. Provide opportunities for written or prepared feedback or ideas.
- For those on the driving end of the Assertiveness spectrum, debate is the means toward enlightenment—so allow them room to argue and push ideas. Conflict can lead to innovation, so let these individuals flesh out the details of ideas by picking them apart. Also, empower them to drive meetings and initiatives forward past obstacles.
- For those on the peacekeeping end of the Assertiveness spectrum, the role of the voice of reason is welcome and can lead to greater collaboration. Train them on how to enter debates and create the compromise necessary to move the goals of the team and the organization forward.
- For those on the spontaneous end of the Flexibility spectrum, providing leeway to come up with new ideas to improve projects or processes even late in the game is a productivity booster. Additionally, they welcome change, so give them constructive criticism to help sharpen their last-minute planning. They’ll naturally take things to the next level when projects are down to the wire.
- At the same time, the focused end of the Flexibility scale is characterized by employees who want assurance that when ideas are developed, they’ll be put in place and implemented. They don’t necessarily push for change and should have input into decisions so that they can understand where changes are coming from and why they’re being made. They should also be given the ability to push back on how changes should be implemented—your change process will be all the better for it.
It is a full behavioral and thinking mix that yields real results—it is a wealth of factors, but focusing on the nature and nurture of how employees best work can be a boon to developing those employees from simply high potential to true stars who actually achieve that potential.