Every corporate learner holds undeveloped skills and hidden talents that are just waiting to be unlocked. In this article, I'll share 6 tips to help you tap into these valuable resources, so that every employee can contribute to your organization's success.
How To Discover Your Corporate Learners' Hidden Skills
The saying goes that weaknesses are just strengths that we haven't discovered yet. The truth is that most of us have hidden skills that have the power to improve our productivity, work performance, and other aspects of our personal or professional lives. To access them, however, involves a fair amount of self-reflection and hard work. As eLearning professionals, we have the opportunity to motivate employees realize their undiscovered skills, which allows them to achieve their goals and become integral members of the team.
- Use feedback tools to get their honest insights.
One of the most direct ways to discover the hidden skills of your employees is to simply ask them. They may already know where their talents lie but are hesitant to share them with the organization, for one reason or another. This is why establishing a feedback system is important. Create surveys, questionnaires, and interview questions that focus on the existing skill sets of your corporate learners. Ask them about their strengths, their past job experiences, and tasks they’ve already mastered. This will give you a good indication of what skills they have developed. It may also reveal skills they didn’t even know they had. For example, they may have not listed "negotiation skills" on their resume, but their sales experience has equipped them with those specific skills.
- Encourage them to go outside their comfort zone.
Going outside your comfort zone and trying something new may be unnerving at first. However, it gives you the chance to test your mettle and discover new skills that you hadn’t even considered. This is why it’s essential to encourage your employees to go beyond their comfort zone by participating in branching scenarios, simulations, and group projects that involve different skill sets. There is also no real-world risk involved, which allows them to explore their potential without having to worry about consequences. Make certain that the skills you test are related to their current job position, rather than generic skills that are used across the board.
- Assess a broad range of skills to pinpoint strengths.
The key to tapping into your corporate learners' hidden skills is to test a wide range of them. Don’t just focus on one group of skills. Instead, create online assessments that cover the full spectrum of necessary skill sets. Chances are, your corporate learners will discover that they have strengths they didn’t even know about, primarily because they hadn’t performed tasks that involved those strengths as of yet. Put them in different situations that test their knowledge and identify performance gaps by conducting a successful task analysis. Make sure that each task centers on a particular skill group, so that you can test each ability individually. Also, try to conduct a variety of different types of assessments to appeal to a wide range of learning needs and preferences. For example, someone who cannot deal with pressure may struggle with an online scenario. In this instance, a text-based exam may yield more accurate results.
- Conduct focus groups to get peer feedback.
Just as employee feedback is important, so is peer-based feedback.Focus groups give your employees the ability to learn about talents and skills that their colleagues have noticed. For example, an individual may not even know that they are adept at customer service, but their colleagues have been there to witness it firsthand. The truth is that sometimes other people can point out our strengths better than we can, because they are able to see things from fresh perspective. So, conduct eLearning focus groups and ask each member to mention a skill or talent that one of their co-workers possesses. Encourage them to cite specific examples that support their assertion.
- Evaluate their on-the-job performance.
Observing employees while they are at work is one of the most effective ways to identify undiscovered skills. It also allows you to pinpoint performance gaps and evaluate how well they carry out their regular job duties. In addition to conducting effective scenario-based online training and simulation-based assessments, you should conduct on-the-job evaluations to better understand how your employees overcome everyday challenges. When they are under stress their true talents may come to the forefront, or you may find that they don’t work well under pressure and need to develop their coping and problem-solving skills.
- Develop collaborative eLearning activities that bring out their hidden talents.
In some cases, your corporate learners may only reveal their hidden talents in a collaborative learning environment. This is particularly true for those who are natural leaders or team players. For example, an individual who excels at management and communication skills will truly shine in group settings. The same rule applies to employees who are great at bringing out the best in others or offering support to those who may be struggling. Ask them to complete group online presentations, role plays, or other interactive online activities that require them to work with others to reach a common goal. Pay special attention to the process, itself, as you will discover which roles each member of the group chooses to play. For instance, one employee might automatically become the leader, while another assigns themselves as the mediator who resolve conflicts.
These tips can give you the power to tap into your corporate learners' hidden skills. Bear in mind that no successful online training strategy is complete without thorough audience research and performance analysis. This process may require a significant amount of time and resources, but it allows you to pinpoint specific needs and backgrounds of your employees.
Now that you've discovered your corporate learners' hidden skills, you might also be interested in checking whether your employees are ready for online training. Read the article 6 Tell-Tale Signs That Your Employees Are Ready For Online Training to discover the top signs to look for that indicate your corporate audience are eager and excited for an online training program.