A fast-food manager once wrote every job in the store on a blackboard and left a space next to it. She then asked employees to put their names by the jobs they preferred to do.

The result? Every job had at least one person’s name beside it, usually more than one to cover different shifts. She handed out jobs according to the blackboard results and watched turnover at her store fall to nothing in an industry notorious for a constantly revolving employment door.

This example offers a lesson in employee engagement. Give employees the option to try new positions that allow them to exercise their aptitudes and follow careers that are based on actual talents, not what others say is the best choice. You can do this through enterprise career management solutions.

The opinions of others can reveal your talent

Many people have no idea about their true talents and aptitudes. If they are clueless, so are their employers. Businesses devote a great deal of time and money on staff assessments in an attempt to uncover employees’ strengths and talents, but do not always obtain the results they want based on the information they gather.

Probably one of the simplest and most effective ways to uncover your talents is to ask those who know you best. In the workplace, that means querying your colleagues and supervisors. You should include your mentor, if you have one. These people are aware of your talents and strengths because they observed you working on a daily basis.

Once you have identified those you want to ask, compile an email list. Email gives people the chance to think about their answer before they reply. Email is less invasive and may elicit more thoughtful and detailed responses.

Everyone is busy, so go for your top strength. Send only one question and be sure to explain why you are seeking their help:

I want to learn something important about myself. Your perspective is valuable to me. What do you regard as my most outstanding talent/aptitude?

Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your insights with me.

Knowing your talent enables success

Study the responses. Put all of them into one document to make it easy to review. Look for a common thread or an underlying theme. Maybe you take for granted aspects about yourself that others consider your top strength.

In addition, you may want to think about your answers to these two questions:

  • What comes easily to you?
  • What do you most enjoy?

Are there things you find really obvious, while others muddle their way through? Don’t assume that what is super easy for you is the same for others or that it should be. If others struggle at something you breeze through, that may be one of your talents.

Your talent may demonstrate itself in other ways as well. Are there topics that fascinate you? Are there shows you love? What do you love to do most with your free time? If you are drawn to it, riveted by it and feel great when involved in it, it might be a talent.

You need to know your talents so you can focus your time and energy on developing these assets to advance your career. Businesses need to know each job candidate’s aptitudes to hire the right people and current employees’ talents to position them to the company’s best advantage.

10 December 2013

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