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Encouraging talented employees to take on responsibility


When a new member of your team has had a few weeks to settle in to your company, is working well with colleagues and turning out impressive results more often than not, it is time to consider how to utilise their talents to their full potential. Not only will this mean getting more for your money, it will also show the employee that you are willing to trust them with more important tasks, making them feel valued and appreciated in their job role.

Follow this advice for maximising the potential of your workers, and you will significantly improve your chances of getting the most from employees while maintaining high levels of engagement and job satisfaction.

Ease them in

Building up an individual’s responsibility should be done gradually and carefully – offer too little and you may inadvertently encourage time-wasting activity during office hours, but burden them with too much and you may see consequences such as lower work quality, disengaged office behaviour and, in some cases, even the termination of their agreement to work for you.

Conduct a one-to-one meeting

It sounds obvious, but you should not be tempted by the apparent convenience of massively upping your employee’s workload without having a close discussion with them about it first. If you are thinking about taking steps to give a particular member of your team more responsibility, plan a meeting with them face to face.

Make sure you give them the chance to express how they feel about their current workload, and aim to objectively understand whether giving them more to do on top of their current responsibilities would be possible and advantageous. Ensure that they know you are impressed with the work they are doing, pointing out key areas where you think they have been doing exceptional work and offering similar work.

Strive for compromise

The ideal situation for you is a situation where the employee is eager to take on a new set of responsibilities that they are excited to do well in, while you gain great results from an existing worker without having to pay for an extra pair of hands. Unfortunately, this golden mean will not always be the situation you are in, even with the best of talents.

If you want an employee to take on work that they are not too keen on you adding to their to-do list, incentivise their enthusiasm by finding out projects that they do enjoy, the kind that first attracted them to the company. These are also likely to be the kinds of jobs that they excel in. Strike a deal where the employee can take responsibility for this kind of work as well as the other, not so attractive kind.

Try to shift the focus from any aspects of the job that the employee does not enjoy, and find new ways for them to apply their best skills to projects. A relationship where both you and your employee are willing to make compromises for the sake of great work is incredibly valuable, but don’t put them off by asking for too much too soon.

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