Staff Asset: Knowing Your Resources

Written by:  Tracy Dunn

Using All of the Pieces

Do you know who is working for you?  Do you know who you have hired? Do you really know what level of skills you have in your repertoire of staff? In this age of doing more with less, an inventory of staff and their skills could be quite helpful. All companies are looking for more resources without additional expenses. Smaller companies are more used to doing more with less and may not have the monetary resources to hire more staff to acquire certain resources or skill sets. Larger companies may also error towards hiring new staff to acquire new skill sets or resources.

Often, I see people in place who are underutilized in their area or others for that matter. By doing inventory on who your people are and what education, background and skill sets they have, it will be much easier to find the right person for the right task. Employers need to reflect more on the resources they currently have or who they may be able to develop for a certain position or task. In so doing, they develop and invest in present employees while saving money hiring and training new employees.

Practical Examples

Example 1:  Certain staff may be uncomfortable with utilizing critical thinking skills maybe because they don’t have to use those skills regularly or they are not empowered to do so. Empowering and encouraging staff to utilize critical thinking skills to make decisions during their work day can only increase skill levels, job satisfaction and professional growth and development.

Example 2:  For the times when you are looking for staff with certain degrees or backgrounds with a specific area of expertise, know that you cannot know these things unless you talk with and listen to your employees. Employers should have in depth conversations with their employees to gain these insights and learn more about their resources.

Personal Experience

Often times I hear management discuss what is needed and how to get something implemented. Often, these talks happen without any consideration of who is in the room and the talents they already possess but are not utilized. Understandably, this can cause confusion and misunderstanding among employees. They may wonder if their employer even knows who they are, what they currently do or what they could do in the future.

I remember a time when my manager was looking at a copy of my degree and commented that I attended the same college as two other staff members. What surprised me is that she knew where the other two employees had graduated from. This was amazing as it gave the three of us another common bond.

Simple Steps & Significant Rewards

Learn who is working for you. What education or background do your employees have? What are their interests? Wouldn’t it be nice when you have a specific need to fill to be able to turn to your existing pool of people and promote or develop a skill they already possess?

The reward is twofold. First, is to develop existing employees and show current staff that you are invested in their professional growth. Secondly, when you utilize an existing employee to fill a need, you don’t have to start from scratch. They already know the mission and values of the company. Developing current employees allows employers to get to the current problem or project at hand more expeditiously.

Tracy Dunn is a Project Facilitator for Snow Consulting and has extensive experience working in the medical community with a special focus on sleep medicine, respiratory care, service coordination and compliance.  Ms. Dunn has experience in hospital clinical, off sight and in home care management and is known for her industry and product knowledge, business development and tenacity in providing outstanding service for the patients directly or indirectly under her care and supervision.  Ms. Dunn also works in the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, NE.




Business Development: Getting The Most Mileage out of your Time and Dollars

Written by:  Brian R. Johnson

Professionals in the role of Business Development (BD) that are also juggling a family, a hobby (or two), upkeep on a house, etc. are forced to approach BD differently than they may have in their 20’s. If we truly want to, we can do a lunch, evening event, golf outing every day of the week. Not only can this be detrimental to a person’s health, it will also take its toll on the family life.   That said, these events are required in the job that we do and if balanced accordingly can be extremely fun and valuable.

It’s unlikely that we need another lunch date or another drinking buddy, if this is the case, you might do some self-reflection and you may fall in the category of “professional lunch-er” or “professional happy hour-er”.   We all know that person that is at every single event, and yet we have no idea what their business does or when we may need their services.

Here are some events that work for me to get the most mileage out of my time and dollars. With any of these events, you should have some goals and specific targets, and self-evaluate your performance at the end.

Conferences/Large Networking Events – These are great events to get a number of touchpoint’s in a couple of hours, but first you have to go out of your way to talk to the right people, they might also need to be reminded that they talk to you (the follow-up).

Initial conversation – There is going to be mainly small talk, a little bit about their business and what they do for the business. Within this conversation, it is almost guaranteed that there will be some negativity towards something (how busy they are, the crazy people they work with, etc) this needs to be picked up on and used in your follow up.   It can be difficult to dive into the details of what you do, but you should be able to slip in a 20 second overview. Keep the conversation positive on your end.

The follow up – Perhaps it is later in the evening or the following morning, a follow up must happen.   I have found that asking if you can get together at a later date to discuss business is usually best, assuming they say yes, this puts some accountability on them to reply to your later email with proposed dates.

The Lunch Appointment – So often times it can feel awkward to talk business or feel too much like a car salesman. However, if a client accepted your lunch request, they expect to talk some business and are likely interested in what your business can provide. It is a failed effort if your lunch date walks away from the meeting without a clear understanding of what you do, how you can help them, or who they can introduce you too (you are now a professional lunch-er). Listen to their needs and tee yourself up with appropriate questions, you don’t want to waste time offering a list of services that are of no value to your guest

Golf Outings/Banquets/Dinner Events/Hobby’s – Here is a great opportunity to reach out to a number of clients to invite them to your event. Think about events that directly relate to that client, either personally or professionally. This should be done over the phone. People are generally appreciative that you thought of them, so don’t feel bad if they decline. If they do decline, you can now discuss what else is going on with their business or ask if they are able to get together for a different event.   Consider this a touch-point. The downfall to these events is they can be very long (6 plus hours for golf outings) consider this when making your invites.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or let your prospective client know about your business goals. Naturally people want to help others and that person will feel empowered if they can facilitate an introduction, give you intel, or best of all hire your firm.

Brian R. Johnson has extensive experience working in business development and has done so for many years.  Brian works at Farris Engineering in Omaha, Nebraska.