Speak to any entrepreneur and they will explain how finding the right talent is one of the biggest challenges they face today. From big corporations to small companies, all complain of a dearth of talent. Even though there is an increasing number of graduates, companies still find it difficult to fill gaps with someone who fills perfectly.

While there are many reasons why such a thing occurs, many experts believe that a lack of on-job training is one of the main reasons why employees end up being a misfit. Hence, they say it is wiser to cultivate talent in the office. This way employers can mould employees according to their needs.

So what should businesses do to prepare their own talent? Here are four tips that work:

1. Encourage innovation and creativity

It is very important to let people put their best foot forward. While some jobs may be monotonous and require no creativity, most office based jobs allow employees to innovate and come up with better solutions. Unfortunately, many managers prevent employees from doing so, resulting in low morale and poor performance. This combined with other issues results in high turnover, which is a bad thing for any business.

The solution is to listen to your employees, and pay heed to their ideas. Even though not all of their inputs may be worth it, you need to make sure that you don’t curb their creativity. Also, to ensure that employees continue to work hard, reward them for their performance. A reward can be in the form of an appreciation letter (costs nothing!), or a small bonus.

2. Have a strong learning culture

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker.

The culture in your organization gets to define a lot. It’s something that comes into being on its own, but you can mould the culture as per your needs. You need to push the culture of learning in your organization. All employees should know that learning is a constant process that never steps.

One major step is to correct employees when they make a mistake. For example, if an accountant does something wrong, point out the mistake to him and also the right way of doing so. This way the chances of him making the same mistake again would be little to none. Once your employees notice this behaviour, it will become a habit and part of your organizational culture. As a result, all employees will help each other and work towards higher standards.

3. Respect seniors and hire more juniors

A business needs a mix of experienced and fresh employees who can work together. It doesn’t matter how much we hate it, employees have to move on and you will need someone to take their place when that happens. This is why it is important to continue to hire and have a list of potential candidates to fill a vacancy when it comes up.

Some great ideas include to have a team of two or more people. This would allow everyone involved to socialize with each other and bring their best game to the table. People working together would result in more solutions and better inputs. In addition to this, juniors will learn the art from seniors and be able to replace then when the time comes. However, working in team has certain disadvantages as well. So make sure to make teams intelligently so that you do not have to deal with the drawbacks of working in a team.

4. Train employees more and more

The best way to cultivate talent is by training employees. Businesses can do this in a number of ways, some of which may be very costly but can be beneficial in the long-run. Based on the nature of job, employees can be trained with the help of manuals, online courses and training sessions/seminars.

Graeme Donnelly, the founder of 1st Formations, company formation agents in the UK says, “Training is important, but unfortunately a number of employees may be apprehensive of being a part of training sessions. It requires effort on the part of business to motivate them into taking part in such activities.” He further explains ways to curb this, “Employees can be made to be a part of such events by highlighting the benefits of training and more education. You need to push your employees into doing better by highlighting what they’ll get out of it. Promotions, higher salary are some of the benefits that can be highlighted.”

You can also offer internship opportunities to hunt for new talent. Interns are generally cheap and offer several other benefits. If someone looks good, you can offer a permanent position once they’re ready to enter the workforce.

When it comes to cultivating talent, a number of things come into play. It’s a constant effort and you need to continue to remind yourself and your employees that you both need each other. With a little hard work and dedication, you will achieve your dream team.

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