How to Reveal the Potential of Your Invisible Employees

June 17, 2016

In Management & Organizational Performance

invisible employees and how to lift their potential

When was the last time you recognized the work of your accountant, sound technician, or researcher? Some employees, by the nature of their job description, work mostly behind the scenes. Since these invisible employees ensure the smooth running of your organization’s activities, their work is too often overlooked… Except when they make a mistake!

It can be difficult as a manager to provide the feedback these employees deserve. If their accomplishments are difficult to notice, their mistakes can have real consequences on the rest of the business. Think of a small calculation error in your tax return or a date error in an important printed document.

To make it even more difficult, these employees are usually not fundamentally motivated by recognition and most of them do not want to be the center of attention. But do not be fooled. If you ignore them except to criticize them, if you take them for granted, or if you do not understand what really motivates them, you still risk losing them. Here are some tips to reveal the potential of your “invisible” employees!

Bet on intrinsic motivation

Invisible employees are not driven by reputation, but by excellence. In short, intrinsic motivation means that these employees are driven by internal rewards. So, think about making the work more rewarding from an intrinsic point of view. Invisible employees care about the quality of their work, so it is important to offer them a stimulating environment conducive to productivity. For example, allow them to work with high-performance software and with trusted suppliers.

Trust them

The person at the forefront of an organization is not always the one with the most weight. Power and visibility are not always linked. Invisible employees often make the biggest decisions or ensure a consistent flow of activities. Motivate your invisible employees by showing them that you trust them. Give them more responsibilities and more freedom in their daily tasks.

Focus on their strengths

Employees drawn to behind-the-scenes functions are more often than not endowed with an introverted temperament. These employees are comfortable when they go unnoticed and naturally anxious when they are the center of attention. Avoid emphasizing their introversion if you do not want to make their anxiety worse. It would be completely counterproductive! Instead, focus on their strengths and offer them the support they need to go above and beyond in the best possible conditions. To offer recognition, consider a written message to tell them how much you appreciate what they did.

Brainstorm with them

Consider including your more discreet employees’ ideas in your decision-making. Ask for their feedback so they feel truly involved and heard. What is most important is to have true two-way communication, to get to know them better and then be able to offer them what they really want. Remember to highlight their accomplishments in small groups, by email or through a recognition platform.

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