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What talent is going untapped in your organisation?


A survey reveals that 60% of employees reckon they have untapped potential their employers should be using.

learndirect Business’ Hidden Skills survey found that 57% of employees engage in an activity outside of work which provides them with a skill or skills that their employer could be benefiting from but isn’t doing so.

Harnessing hidden skills benefits both employers and employees. For instance, if all their untapped skills were used at work, employees said they would feel more motivated (45%); more empowered at work (32%); and would stay at their present company for a longer period of time (26%).

Tapping into hidden skills would also directly impact the business with 45% of employees claiming it would increase efficiency, while over a third (37%) of high level managerial employees believe increased productivity would be the main benefit.

Employees claimed the top five hidden skills gained through activities outside work include:

  • IT skills (36%) – knowing how to create a blog or build a website

  • Writing skills (28%) – good at crosswords or have written letters or articles to the local paper that have been published

  • Numeracy skills (27%) – good at sudoku

  • Creativity skills (26%) – writing poems in their spare time or have an interest in photography

  • Sales and marketing or e-commerce skills (23%) – regularly buying and selling online.

However, it seems the UK’s hidden skills are going to waste as 59% of employers have never even discussed hidden skills with their employees. This figure rises to 67% in large organisations (250+ employees) and 74% among semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers.

To make matters worse, 82% of employees said they don’t choose to hide these skills on purpose - their employers simply don’t ask about relevant skills that could benefit their business.

It appears it’s up to employers to make the first move: when asked who they would turn to if they wanted to discuss their hidden skills 22% said they wouldn’t tell anyone.

Kirstie Donnelly, director of products and marketing, learndirect Business, said: “By harnessing the hidden skills of potential superhero employees, bosses can transform not only their business but also maximise their employees’ full potential.

“Effective training is the key to unlocking hidden skills and ensuring employees meet the day to day business objectives. For example, an employee may run a football team or do voluntary work for a charity. These activities will have given them presentation or organisational skills that can be used to inspire or motivate clients and colleagues. These skills can be refined via a course in presentation, management or leadership skills.

“We're calling on both employers and employees to talk to each other about hidden skills and realise this hidden potential,” adds Kirstie. “Not only does it make good business sense but it also motivates and empowers employees.”

The survey also included a fun question about which superpower they wished they could use at work. Most respondents chose mind reading (42%), with completing tasks in super speed coming second with 20% of the vote. But those in high managerial roles selected invisibility as their second choice of superpower!


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