Turn your people’s potential into performance

As a leader focused on improving the performance of your employees, teams, and managers, you’re looking for better ways to not just manage your talent, but activate it.

As ADP defines it, talent activation is more than just organizing and managing people — it’s “turning your people’s natural talent into extraordinary performance.”

There’s an ocean of techniques and solutions out there claiming to provide the secret formula for optimizing productivity and performance. But the reality is that businesses can have all the programs, KPIs, and incentives in the world, but if they aren’t starting with the individual — equipping them with internal skills to adapt and grow — they’re missing the first, and most critical, step. To change performance, you have to change your perspective. Whether you need to help employees upskill during role transitions or overcome the stress of mergers and acquisitions, unlocking potential starts by focusing on the individual.

Change and Chaos: The New Normal

One of the most obvious examples of this problem is when a star employee gets the opportunity to take on new responsibilities as a leader. Whether through a traditional promotion or a more informal leadership opportunity for an ad hoc project, this transition is often regarded as the natural “next step” for a talented performer. But we all know how rocky this transition can actually be.

Let’s say Carl has just been promoted to manager after five years of top performance as a software developer. He can write in all kinds of languages, manage his time well, and deliver new products that appeal to customers.

Just a few weeks into his new role as manager, however, Carl feels overwhelmed by his responsibilities. Despite studiously going through his company’s team leadership training course, everything seems new and uncertain, and he feels uncomfortable knowing that his team might fail. He finds himself micro-managing and struggling to communicate his ideas effectively to team members.

team collaborating

Another similar case can be found in the delicate situation of a company acquisition. Julia, a top sales lead at the acquired company, finds herself in a completely new environment with a new boss, new team dynamics, new sales goals, new technology systems, and new benefits and insurance policies.

Needless to say, this whole transition is adding a huge burden to Julia’s workload during one of the busiest quarters of the year. Despite her reputation for leadership, culture-building, and impressive sales accomplishments, Julia’s numbers begin to slip. She lacks motivation, feels out of place among her team, and begins to punch the clock.

What happened? Carl and Julia never felt this way before. They felt confident, engaged, and loved taking on new challenges. But these abrupt changes were just too much — frustrated, stressed, and teetering on the brink of burnout, Carl and Julia both wonder whether they have it in them to succeed in these new situations.

Unleashing Performance From Within

Do these experiences sound familiar? This kind of change doesn’t just happen when people get promoted or companies get acquired, but when strategy shifts, departments get reorganized, and new teams form to tackle specific business problems. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, the rate of change in modern businesses is alarming: Companies now experience 20 to 25 enterprise-wide change initiatives a year. Thirty years ago, that number was two at the most.

Chaos is the new normal, and it’s taking a toll on your people.

Because of this, we need a new perspective on performance. As Josh Bersin says, “Many of the HR practices that organizations have developed over the last 15 years simply don’t apply in this new environment.”

Every employee has the potential to grow and transform their skills, but change is hard. People don’t just need training courses on leadership, better goal-setting, and more compelling incentives to perform. They need the ability to be resilient, to be able to adapt to new situations and overcome challenges with confidence. Employees need to be prepared with these skills so they don’t fail — or worse, burn out — in moments of transformation. This is key to true talent activation.

new perspective

Activating Talent with Resilience

We believe the critical success factor to talent activation is resilience — by empowering employees to build resilience skills, HR leaders can unleash a new level of performance.

Our research shows that improving resilience helps employees:

  • Remain focused and present — while working toward long-term sustainable goals
  • Solve problems with emotional intelligence — reframing issues to help others on the team remain calm and focused
  • Exhibit empathy and emotion control — reading social cues and managing emotional reactions to boost culture and morale
  • Build trust and integrity — fostering a belief in fairness and a sense of empowerment that strengthens the team’s resilience
  • Live the organization’s values in moments of challenge — helping the team choose the right path in the face of difficulty
  • Reinforce the connection to the company’s mission and purpose — promoting optimism and increased motivation and resilience

Can you imagine how Carl’s and Julia’s stories would have been different if they had these resilience skills? Carl would have been able to remain calm, work the problem, connect with his team members, and lead his team with empathy and decisiveness. Julia would have been able to reach out for help with her workload, feel positive toward the new change, and feel confident in her ability to overcome adversity.

Without resilience, your people can’t be activated into the high-performing talent your organization needs. The world of transformation today requires new skills and a new perspective. Harnessing human potential starts with equipping your people to be resilient and agile in the face of change.

To learn more about activating your talent with the power of resilience, check out our most popular e-book, “A New Perspective on Engagement and Performance,” and let us know what you think!