Employee TalentBusiness leaders know one of the key factors to the continued success of their organization rests with employee talent.

When limited resources prevent additional hires, how can businesses unlock the potential of their existing workforce?

In an Entrepreneur.com post, contributors Don Maruska and Jay Berry provide three key strategies business owners can use to tap into unused employee talent in their own organizations.

Power Up Your Employee Talent Story

Talent is not simply your strengths or your skill set. It is your self-expression.

Maruska and Berry encourage business leaders to help their employees become the “heroes of their own talent stories” by encouraging them to explore areas that interest them, and also might make professional development opportunities readily available.

Organizations that encourage employees to engage their passions and move beyond their job descriptions will often benefit from a reenergized and engaged workforce.

Accelerate through Obstacles

When working to unlock unused or unrecognized employee talent in the organization, Maruska and Berry argue that business leaders need to recognize obstacles. Things such as lack of time and reduced resources can keep even the most passionate and enthusiastic employees from exploring new opportunities.

They tell the story of a manager of a tech company whose request for a few hours per week to explore some innovative ideas was rejected by her boss. Rather than abandon the idea completely, she designed a schedule to execute on her ideas in just 15 minutes per day.

For business leaders, the lesson is obstacles can also present opportunities for forward-thinking, innovation-minded employees.

Multiply the Payoffs for Yourself and Others

While this mindset encourages employees to experiment and pursue passion projects, it is important for leaders and employees to use these newly found skills towards creating a better business and organization.

Maruska and Kelly note that while entrepreneurs are used to this kind of big picture thinking, not all employees know how to bridge the gap between their passions, and the business goals of the organization.

Strategic problem-solving at the employee level can often have meaningful impact on how the business is run, but only when leaders engage an employee’s self-motivation. Innovation doesn’t often come from the top.

Leaders who value the insights and perspectives of their staff are creating a culture of creative exploration, and that’s beneficial to the entire organization.

For example, customer service personnel and other frontline staff often see process inefficiencies, and service issues, at a more granular level than senior level executives.

Tapping into those staff to improve quality of service and increase efficiency can be extremely effective for organizations of all sizes.