May 22, 2019 | 01:57 PM


27.11.2013How Not To Waste Corporate Talent

Are you burdening talented employees with trivial activities?

Panos Mourdoukoutas, Forbes.com

Are you burdening talented employees with trivial activities?

The iPhone 5S Review: Probably The Best All-Round Smartphone To Date
What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain
The 20 People Skills You Need To Succeed At Work

You may be, and not even know it.

Talented employees end up spending 41% of their time on discretionary activities (desk-based and “managing across”), according to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review. Most notably, discretionary activities take two-thirds of knowledge workers’ time.

There are three reasons why burdening talented employees with trivial activities may not be good for your organization. First is a traditional argument that comes from human resource experts —  trivial tasks offer very little professional satisfaction — and talent may jump ship as soon as the opportunity arises.

Second, talented employees have a high opportunity cost. Their skills produce the highest value when they are used in highly specialized tasks: tasks that cannot be performed by others. That’s also an old argument from conventional economics.

Third, having talented employees perform too many things at the same time undermines their ingenuity and creativity, as it crowds their mental capacity or bandwidth. That’s a new argument which comes from the psychology of scarcity, as discussed in the recently published Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.

“Because we are preoccupied with scarcity, because our minds constantly returns to it, we have less mind to give the rest of life,” write the authors. “This is more than a metaphor. We can directly measure mental capacity or, as we call it, bandwidth. We can measure fluid intelligence, a key resource that affects how impulsively we behave. And we find that scarcity reduces all these components of bandwidth—it makes us less insightful, less forward thinking, less controlled.”

The bottom line: Burdening your talented employees with trivial tasks may be far more costly than you think. When it comes to these employees, you should outsource trivial tasks.


Top Stories on FatCat.com.au

Measuring the return of an investment property Renting out an investment property for $700 a week doesn't mean a thing, unless you understand how to calculate your...

News from TheBull.com.au

© Copyright 2019, FatCat.com.au. All right reserved.