In times of economic downfall, companies need to get the most out of their employees in order to maintain market superiority and continued profit. The human resources (HR) department faces many challenges in a workforce’s training and development, from ensuring the stability of the high performing individuals who drive the company to coaxing success from untapped potential employees and underachievers alike.

Developing Employee Potential

Helping existing employees grow in their abilities benefits a company’s ability to perform. Without fostering employee growth, a company can become stagnate and lose the ability to separate itself from competitive companies. Employees will also be unprepared for upward movement in the company, which can lead to failing at promotions or disenfranchisement over the lack of career advancement. HR can encourage growth by pairing employees with a mentor in their target position or moving out of their comfort zone - as their knowledge and experience base grows, the company grows as well.

Managing Performance

Managing the workforce is more than encouraging high performers. The low performing individuals can spread negativity regarding the organization, potentially infecting others and bringing down the potential of an entire office. Without proper performance management, employees may not meet goals in a timely manner and cause office-wide progress to slow, which can lead to higher than necessary terminations and new hire training costs. HR should attempt to build an understanding of the employees, setting clear goals and maintain timely reviews to create clear communication of what is required.

Identifying High Potential

High potential employees are those who demonstrate an ability to contribute at a greater level. Identifying these individuals, especially the high potentials who, for whatever reason, are not high performing employees, is vital to HR’s success in getting the best contributions from the workforce. In a company whose product base involves employee performance, such as sales, allowing high potential employees to perform under their potential constitutes a monetary loss. Managers should use assessment tools including maintaining a high level of competence, consisting tangible results that exceed expectations and ensuring the completion of team goals to identify high potential employees.

Engaging People

Disengaged employees represent a distinct challenge to workforce productivity which can be costly for any company. Keeping employees engaged in their jobs means keeping them comfortable in their positions, respected and engaged in furthering their own personal goals as well as the company’s goals. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to have a personal stake in the company’s progress, which, in turn, can lead to higher production, sales, or a better bottom line.