Looking for an employee who is friendly, dependable, has good customer service and would be grateful for a chance to expand her skills, and accept more responsibility? There are people with Hidden Talents right in front of your eyes!
When the economy went bust in 2008, people who formerly had “successful” careers began to find themselves unemployed or underemployed. These hard workers still had their hard-won skills sets and unique genius.
Some of these people have retired. Some are waiting to be recognized for the human resource assets they are. To many in the business world, these people are invisible. I’m here to tell you these dedicated, loyal workers are the ones checking you out at the chain stores, the convenience marts, and supermarkets. They want to increase their income, gain more experience, and work for a supportive company with compassion.
Now, imagine you’re a small business owner in a geographic area with limited human resources. There are a couple of big local employers who can afford to give their employees great benefits. These employers naturally are the employer of choice for most of the experienced talent pool. What’s a small business owner to do?
First, I suggest that you change the way you’re thinking about what defines “talent”. Instead of looking for staff trained for office work, with higher expectations around income and benefits, look for the kinds of skills that is transferable, the ones that make a good employee. You want someone with a good attitude, primarily. She also needs to be dependable and honest, with the best interests of the company at heart. You want someone who is going to be accountable, and loyal, because turnover is expensive.
People with these skills are working in “blue collar” jobs throughout your community, and many would love the chance to try something new.
The next time you’re shopping at the pet store, in a box store, or eating out, pay attention to the person behind the counter. Are they courteous, helpful? Are they accountable when they make an error, or if something is mis-priced? Are they aware of what is going on around them, do they create relationships? Pay attention to the way they speak to customers on the phone. Then imagine them working in your office.
When you meet a service person with hidden talents, give her one of your business cards. Let her know you’ve noticed what a great job she’s doing, that you’re looking for someone with her skills for your business. Just this moment of appreciation will improve her day, to be sure! She might even give you a call, or send you her resume. And you’ll both win!
It may take some time until her hidden talents will be fully aligned with that of your business. If you handle this relationship with compassion, understanding, and clear communication of expectations, I believe you will both have engaging and successful careers ahead of you.