Make the most of your employees’ strengths

While your organization chart may be fairly shallow, there are still ways to reward outstanding employees.

While your organization chart may be shallow, there are still ways to help outstanding employees grow their careers.

By Ian Pearson

While there are always those who lament over the things they don’t have, wise small business owners spend little energy on these hypothetical situations. Sure, your IT guys may not be as good as those working for Google or Microsoft, but each of them has strengths and skills that can be used to move your business forward. Keep in mind that the same rules apply to any company, regardless if it is an IT conglomerate or a cleaning business. Here are few tips and tricks that will help you take the greatest advantage of the strengths of your employees.

Avoid duplication

When you ask a business owner how they imagine a perfect team, the first thing that is likely to come to mind is their star employee times four. Unfortunately, in practice this wouldn’t be as efficient as it may seem in theory. People who have the same strengths usually share similar shortcomings as well. Because of this, the key to team success lies in diversity. Staff members who come from different backgrounds usually have a completely different perspective on the matter at hands, which brings some of the most interesting ideas and results.

How to assign tasks

To always assign the best person for the task, you need to know the individual strengths of your staff member. You can, of course, learn much of this through observation, but to truly determine the strengths of your employees in an objective, unbiased and professional manner, you will need strong HR tools. This means hiring people with years of experience in this field and equipping them with the latest HR software. In this manner, the testing will be completely objective, seeing how it goes through the third party software. With such a system, you will finally know which one of your employees would be best suited for which task.

Vertical advancement

The most ambitious in your team won’t be there for the money, but for the chance to self-improve and learn the business from the inside. Unfortunately, in small companies there is not much room for them to advance. Vertical movement upwards is restricted by relatively small list of your staff members, while lateral movement doesn’t get you anywhere. If anything, it is quite counter-productive.

You see, to reward a person for an outstanding performance, you move them to a completely different position and try to present this as an ‘advancement’. However, all you have done is taken a person from a position they were great at (so great that they earned a promotion) and moved them to a completely unrelated task. This is why, lateral movement should never be used as a reward (unless requested) and if there is no other choice, you should think about offering other incentives to your most valuable staff members.

Even if there is no position to which to further advance, you can always make one and in this way open career opportunities that will encourage your team to further hone their strengths.

Provide a clean workspace

For your employees to truly excel at what they can do, you need to provide them a workspace that truly feels like a second home to them. Retail cleaning experts from Sydney underline how much productivity is improved by an organized and clean office environment that has as few distractions as possible. A messy workplace is bound to make the job harder to do. Your workspace plays an essential role in the whole job experience, and is the vital spot for your employees to show their strengths. If you provide them with a clean office, you’re giving them a space where they can be in their own zone and focus on what is essential to your business.

Cross training

Finally, even though everyone may have that one thing they are particularly good at, there are not many positions where you need a one-trick pony. In cases where you decide to take a bit more holistic approach to training your employees, you can always ask one of your employees to assume the role of a tutor. The downside of this is a fact that by doing so, you are distracting people from their regular duties. On the plus side, you are opening a possibility that a new talent gets discovered within your ranks.


In the end, it all comes down to the individual effort. Talent means nothing if people in your employment feel no need to give their best or to work harder on perfecting their skills. As a leader, this is one of the first things you need to recognize. To awaken this hidden potential, you can try with incentives, premiums and even one-on-one encouragement. Still, first you need to know every single one of your employees as well as their strengths and weaknesses. As Albert Einstein once said: Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


About the author: Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting, Ian Pearson could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

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