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Importance of Knowing the Strengths & Weaknesses of Employees

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

While you navigate your career, you might take on roles that include running a department, helping hire new staff, creating project teams or owning your own business. Your company’s budget might not allow you to hire all of the people necessary to staff the business at maximal levels, so you’ll need to be creative in your workforce planning. Knowing your employees' strengths and weaknesses will help you distribute assignments or provide staff training so you can create the most productive teams with the resources you have.

Improves Strategic Planning

Knowing the capabilities of its staff allows a business to set realistic long-term goals. For example, if a business is considering adding online sales to its distribution network, it must know whether its information technology people can build a storefront, integrate and manage a shopping cart and credit card processing software, and keep the website functioning smoothly. If not, the company can either hire a skilled IT worker to fill the gap, outsource the work to an IT services firm or delay the project until it has the staff and resources to launch an e-commerce unit.

Helps You Budget

If you know the strengths and weaknesses of employees -- including extra skills staff members might have outside of their core jobs -- you can determine which tasks and projects you need to outsource and which ones you can handle in house. For example, if one of your accounting team members also has some computer programming experience, you might be able to pull her off her accounting work for a short period while she works on an IT department project. If your marketing staff has little design experience, you will have to budget money for website and print materials design work.

Guides Your Training

Knowing where you have skills deficiencies in your organization helps you determine how training can help eliminate these gaps and which employees are the best candidates to invest in. You might have your bookkeeper take advanced accounting or finance classes at a local college. You can upgrade a graphic designer’s skills by sending him to a workshop covering a specific software program. In instances where you have several or more employees with the same need for skill building, you can create in-house training programs. Include succession planning in your workforce development by training employees for management roles. Send future leaders to personal and professional seminars and workshops to improve their management skills.

Improves Project Management

Successful projects often require a team effort in which team members bring different skills to the project. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your employees will help you create more efficient teams by putting workers with complementary skills together to cover all of your project needs. In addition to technical skills, inventory your staff using criteria such as leadership, effective communications and time-management skills.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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