By: Otto Berkes, HireRoad CEO
Our company has challenges. So does yours — as does every other organization. Employees are acutely aware of this, and the fact that challenges exist is not what drives them to seek other professional opportunities.
People want to work for companies that value their contributions, including the chance to help address current challenges. By tapping the human potential within your organization as you work to solve problems, you demonstrate that you are focused on outcomes delivered by individuals rather than hours clocked by nameless, faceless “human capital.”
Here are four approaches to help realize your human potential in solving your organization’s most pressing challenges.
Step 1: Identify the right problems
Not all problems can be addressed right now, and not all problems are equally important. Your employees’ insights can be invaluable in figuring out what to prioritize. Gather information from them to identify which problems will lead to the biggest improvements in efficiency, client experience and employee experience.
Avoid the pitfall of exploring potential solutions before identifying the root causes of these problems. Reserve time in the problem-solving process to observe and gather data at all levels of your organization so the full scope of the situation is clear.
Buy-in from leadership during this information-gathering stage is crucial. Not only do open communication and transparency help in identifying the right problem, but they also instill a sense of trust and empower employees, both of which are crucial in building a high-performance culture.
Step 2: Identify and empower the problem solvers.
Let the expertise of individuals within your organization guide the creation of the team that’s tasked with finding solutions to a specific problem. Invite a variety of employees with different roles, perspectives and backgrounds.
Once the solution group is in place, remind them that each individual’s actions contribute directly to the entire team’s success. Create a framework to foster true collaboration — including creative thinking, sharing different perspectives and fully utilizing each person’s unique strengths.
Finally, encourage fearlessness in suggesting solutions. Although the team is prioritizing the “right” problem, at this ideation stage, there are no “right” answers. Emphasize that solution groups are a safe place for sharing all ideas. You want the broadest funnel possible because a good idea can come from anyone, anywhere.
Step 3: Test and validate solutions.
Testing ideas can be a very rewarding part of the process — even though it’s a foregone conclusion that many (if not most) prototypes won’t work. As a 30-year veteran of the technology field, I’ve led the development of many cutting-edge ideas. I’m also a co-inventor on a host of patents. And I know from personal experience just how many times promising solutions fall short once they hit the testing stage.
As the CEO at HireRoad, I’m responsible for creating an environment where there aren’t repercussions for testing potential solutions that ultimately don’t work. Given my background, I wholeheartedly endorse giving solutions groups plenty of room to learn from this process. The end product will be much stronger as a result. Learning what doesn’t work is just as important as learning what does.
Step 4: Implement and celebrate.
By the final step in the problem-solving process, each specific team will have effective collaboration down to a science. But the successful rollout of the solution requires a wider set of partners, some of whom will have different perspectives and may need to put aside old ways of doing things. Their contributions have value as well, and getting them on board with the solution is crucial for effective implementation. As a bonus, this inclusion will increase the overall strength of your work environment.
Finally, take the time to celebrate the beneficial outcomes as a group. Harnessing the full human potential of a problem-solving team is not always easy. Sharing the success within your organization will build momentum toward tackling the next problem on the priority list.
This article originally appeard in Forbes where Berkes is a contributor.