22. December 2020 Blog

All you need to know about developing support talent

Developing talent in your team is not a piece of cake. But when you find it, you will definitely admit that it was worth the hard work. If you want to learn how to find such talent, here you can find some clues.

You probably often wonder how to recognise real talent. There are ways to do it in both private and professional life, so we will suggest how to find those real shining stars and help them spread their wings. 

Finding talent is not easy. If you want to be sure that a particular person has it, you first need to recognise their potential. Of course, you will need time to get the best results. After all, nothing can be expected instantly regardless of the industry. It’s best if you are patient as well as determined. Unfortunately, not every employee of yours will be a hidden talent, especially when it comes to support staff.

In PwC's Annual Global CEO Survey, 93% of CEOs admitted that there is a big need to change their talent scouting practices. Why? Because at that time, current methods weren't working any more.

Ask questions and evaluate

Being nice never hurt anybody, so you should get to know your employees and find out what their needs are. This is a very similar process to market research. After all, employees are the first customers of your company. You don’t provide them with final products, but with comfort at work and remuneration instead. 

The best way to get to know your employees is by asking questions. By doing so, you can identify their potential too. An excellent way to obtain feedback and get to know the people you work with is to organise monthly individual meetings with each team member, for example. If you are alone with an employee then the conversation will undoubtedly be more open and honest than it would during a group meeting. 

Ask about their willingness to personally develop and in which direction they want their career to go. You can also touch on their interests or hobbies. Perhaps skills or knowledge related to them could be helpful in some future projects for the support team.

Also talk about any difficulties and the areas of their work that cause them the most problems. After this kind of meeting:

  • you will have an overall picture of each employee
  • you will know which projects should work best for each employee
  • you may have even discovered some hidden talents

There is no point in wasting potential on unsuitable tasks. The more an employee is motivated to perform their job and sees it as an opportunity, the better their work will be. And the greater the chances are of finding some diamonds in your team. 

Provide opportunities to learn

Organise training and help with self-development

Now that you have found out in which ways your employees want to develop, it’s time to use this knowledge. Start by organising training, but not just any. Listen to the needs of your team.

Did you know that as many as 74% of employees feel that they do not fulfill their potential because of a lack of development opportunities? Make sure that your employees are part of the remaining 26%.

Once you provide people with an opportunity to develop, the chances of discovering talent increases. Indeed, some of your employees might not even know that they have great talent themselves, so help them discover it! 

A perfect option to expose talent related to soft skills is to let your employees take the initiative. For example, when something doesn't go according to plan, allow a certain employee to take care of it on their own (whilst offering your support, of course). Perhaps this is how you will discover an excellent candidate for the support team manager role?

Turn disadvantages into advantages 

If an employee reports a problem in a specific situation, you have two options:

  • to ensure that all team members  will be able to solve a similar problem in the future
  • help them learn how to deal with such circumstances independently.

Seeing a challenge as an opportunity for development can be the perfect chance to discover someone's hidden talent. 

Sometimes it is enough to give someone a little helping hand, and it will turn out that the initial difficulty can turn into a new personal asset. You can provide such a person with additional training or just offer your help and support. It is possible that one of your employees has the appropriate competences in a specific field and will be able to help, especially when it comes to technical skills. Think about it: if both you and your employee are willing to take such action, there is nothing that can stop you.

Appreciate progress 

Make them feel noticed

If your employees have made progress, let them know. This will only encourage them to keep developing further. As many as 40% of American employees admit that they would put more effort into their work if they were appreciated more often. These are the basics of motivation. Don't forget that an employee's primary responsibility is not to participate in training and use the knowledge gained from it, but they do see because they see the potential in it.

On the other hand, it should be your responsibility to praise and appreciate the willingness of your staff to expand their horizons, and to reward them when they use new skills at work. If employees see that you understand their development, they will be even more willing to keep improving. The more significant the progress, the greater the chances of finding and refining the talent in your team.

Offer adequate rewards 

Did you know that rewarding everyone in the same way can actually be counterproductive? Let us explain why. Imagine that you have two employees in your company; one with ten years of experience with two years in your company, while the other has been working with you for half a year after freshly graduating from college. You send both of them to the same  training courses, and then afterwards give them the same raises. Unfortunately, the senior employee may feel slightly disheartened by being treated in the same way as the junior.

Remember that the right dose of motivation needs to be tailored.

Let's assume that during the training, the aforementioned senior employee discovers a hidden talent and feels the vibe while working in one field. And at the same time, they see that their talent is not being supported any more than the skills of staff who have not shown potential in a given area. This would make your senior employee feel demotivated for sure. As a consequence, you will then lose the potential and strength that this employee could bring to the company, when your goal was the opposite. 

If a particular team member is gifted in one particular area, show them that you can see this talent. Offer individual training or a larger fund for self-development. An employee must feel appreciated in this way to spread their wings fully.

Remember about feedback

If you find talented employees in your team, let them know that you are aware of how valuable they are for your company. Of course, actions are of great importance, but sometimes just a friendly word or a simple "thank you" from a supervisor can motivate an employee even more. Feedback is important for both sides. Talk to your talented employees, ask how they see their career and if they have any expectations of you as a supervisor, e.g. regarding their positions or salaries. Honest conversations are one of the most important ways to keep your talented stars happy and feeling appreciated. 

Don't go too big

Once you have found your star, you should treat them like one. BUT don't overdo it. This treatment cannot be at the expense of other employees. After all, you should care about continually discovering other talents, not just cultivating only one. Remember that enough is enough. If you overdo the praise for an employee they may rest on their laurels, and the rest of the staff may rebel. All of your employees matter, not just one individual - your company works as a team, not as a talented star and "the rest of staff". This kind of behaviour is not fair to anyone. 

Did you find some talented employees?

If you have already found some employees who are talented in the support field then lucky you. We hope that, thanks to our short guide, you will find more of them still. Keep them motivated, feeling appreciated, and most importantly keep talking with them.

To keep an eye on your support stars, you can implement the call centre software CloudTalk. With this tool, you can easily monitor your agents’ performance thanks to Call monitoring and Agent reporting. What is also a big pro about such software is that it helps your agents to gather all information in one place. It can easily integrate with your CRM,  so it seems like a very helpful option.