Employee Engagement and Hidden Talents


Employee engagement has become more critical in today’s competitive business environment. It’s no longer enough to have employees show up and complete their tasks. Organizations need their workforce to be fully invested in the company’s mission and success.

As an employer, you might think you know your employees’ talents. But what if hidden skills are waiting to be discovered? Tapping into these hidden talents can increase productivity and foster a greater sense of belonging and satisfaction amongst your team.

Group Wearing Black t-shirts
T-Shirts build employee camaraderie.

Let’s face it – we’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting or brainstorming session when someone unexpectedly chimes in with an idea or solution that impresses everyone. This is often because the individual who has talent management hasn’t been utilized or recognized.

By encouraging employees to share their hidden talents and providing growth opportunities, companies can boost morale. Improve engagement levels, and ultimately enjoy a more dynamic workplace where innovation thrives.

Employee Training Workshop

An employee engagement training workshop is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement.

This workshop focuses on employee experience training and incorporates empowerment training, ensuring employees feel valued and supported in their roles.

Continuous employee training is essential for maintaining a solid workforce and adapting to new challenges that may arise within the company.

Positive employee relations training fosters a sense of camaraderie among team members. Which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Investing in such workshops can impact your business’s success. As engaged employees tend to be more loyal and contribute positively to the overall work environment.

Equipping your staff with the necessary tools and knowledge will pave the way for a happier, more productive workforce.

Print Pro Workshop

Northwest Custom Apparels Print Pro Workshop has the staff members training each other.

Learn And Perform New Skills

Having explored the benefits of employee training workshops. It’s crucial to consider how these sessions can help unveil hidden talents within your workforce. These workshops can serve as a platform for employees to showcase their abilities and interests outside their typical job roles.

One way to achieve this is through incorporating ‘how-to’ video employee training into your organization’s learning culture. The integration of how-to video employee training allows employees to learn and perform new skills at their own pace. It also encourages individuals to share their unique knowledge and talents with the rest of the team.

Employees inspire one another by fostering a collaborative environment, leading to increased engagement and motivation. A key takeaway from this approach is that offering multiple learning avenues will cater to different preferences and strengths among your employees.

How-to video employee training provides an opportunity for personal development and helps uncover untapped potential within your team. Overall, encouraging employees to learn and perform new skills contributes significantly towards creating a highly engaged and talented workforce. The production staff with Northwest Custom Apparel are making serious training videos where the embroidery operators star in the videos. We cross-train an embroidery machine operator to run a heat press or a DTG printer.

Employee Cross-training at Northwest Custom Apparel

Ruthie, the production manager of NW Custom Apparel, has created an engaging culture where staff members are excited to learn new skills.

Cross-Functional Learn And Teamwork

Building on the foundation of employee engagement and discovering hidden talents. Cross-functional learning and teamwork are crucial in harnessing these assets.

This approach strengthens the workforce and promotes a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

By encouraging employees to work together across departments and functions, they can learn from each other’s expertise, fostering an environment of continuous improvement.

Moreover, this type of teamwork leads to innovative solutions as individuals bring diverse perspectives.

Organizations embracing cross-functional learning and teamwork will see increased productivity, improved problem-solving abilities, and heightened employee satisfaction.

This holistic strategy truly capitalizes on the potential of every team member while creating a connected and dynamic workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can An Organization Identify Hidden Talents Within Their Employees That May Not Be Obvious Through Their Job Roles Or Performance Evaluations?

Organizations can implement strategies to uncover hidden talents within their employees that may not be readily apparent through job roles or performance evaluations.

These might include opportunities for employees to participate in cross-functional projects, encouraging open communication and idea-sharing, offering professional development programs, and organizing team-building activities.

By fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment, employers can help their staff feel more comfortable showcasing their unique skills and abilities, ultimately benefiting the organization.

What Strategies Can Employers Implement To Create An Inclusive And Supportive Environment That Encourages Employees To Showcase Their Hidden Talents And Interests?

Employers can implement various strategies to create an inclusive and supportive environment encouraging employees to showcase their hidden talents and interests.

These include fostering a culture of open communication, providing opportunities for skill development and cross-functional collaboration, organizing events or projects where employees can explore their passions outside their job roles, offering mentorship programs, and recognizing and celebrating achievements in diverse areas.

By empowering employees to express themselves authentically and pursue their interests, organizations improve engagement and tap into the wealth of skills and creativity that may otherwise go unnoticed.

How Can Organizations Effectively Measure The Impact Of Employee Engagement?

Organizations can effectively measure the impact of employee engagement initiatives on uncovering and nurturing hidden talents in the workforce by implementing a multi-faceted evaluation approach.

This may include conducting regular surveys to assess employee satisfaction. Monitoring changes in productivity levels, and tracking participation in talent development programs. Employers can also establish key performance indicators (KPIs) related to skill development and innovation and analyze the data to identify trends and areas for improvement.

Additionally, gathering employee feedback regarding. Their experiences in these initiatives can provide valuable insights into their effectiveness and help refine future strategies for better engagement and talent growth.

What Are Some Potential Challenges Or Barriers Employees Might Face?

Employees might face challenges or barriers in the workplace when trying to explore and develop their hidden talents.

Some potential obstacles include lack of time, limited resources, fear of failure, and resistance from managers or colleagues.

To address these challenges, organizations can provide opportunities for skill development through training programs, mentoring relationships, and cross-functional team projects.

Also, fostering a supportive work environment that encourages open communication and recognition. Employee achievements can help individuals feel more comfortable pursuing their interests and overcoming any barriers they may encounter.

Organizations Can Ensure Long-Term Satisfaction and Retention

Organizations can ensure the sustainability of discovering and nurturing hidden talents among employees. By creating an inclusive and supportive work culture that encourages growth and development.

This can be achieved through the following:

  • Regular skill assessments
  • Offering training programs
  • Providing mentorship opportunities
  • Recognizing employees’ achievements

Additionally, incorporating talent development into performance management systems helps align individual goals with organizational objectives. Fostering employee satisfaction and retention in the long term.

Effective communication channels should encourage open dialogue about career aspirations and challenges in developing new skills. Enabling management better to support their staff’s ongoing personal and professional growth.


In conclusion, it is crucial for organizations to invest time and effort in identifying and nurturing the hidden talents of their employees. By doing so, they will create a more inclusive and supportive work environment and contribute to their workforce’s long-term satisfaction and retention.

Employers should remember that every individual has unique skills and interests. That may not be immediately apparent through conventional job roles or performance evaluations. To overcome potential challenges or barriers employees face in exploring their hidden talents. Employers must proactively create opportunities for growth and development.

This includes offering training programs, encouraging open communication, and fostering a culture of continuous learning. By addressing these issues head-on, organizations can create an environment where employees feel empowered to explore their full potential.

Ultimately, the key to uncovering and nurturing hidden talents. Within an organization lies in fostering a strong culture of employee engagement. This involves implementing effective initiatives involving employees in decision-making, regularly seeking feedback on company policies, and recognizing employee contributions.

A strong focus on employee engagement will not only help reveal hidden talents. But also ensure that these talents are developed sustainably for the benefit of both the individual and the organization.

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Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.


Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.


Erik Mickelson


Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.



Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.


Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.



Taylar Hanson


Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Nika Lao


Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.


Bradley Wright


Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.


Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.


Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.


Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.


UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.



Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.


Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.


Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.


Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.



Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.


Jim Mickelson


Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
152 Google reviews
Janice Herron
Janice Herron
Love their amazing customer service! From ordering over the phone, through email, or in person at Northwest Custom Apparel, everyone is very helpful, and very nice! Always! We have been ordering our apparel for our local small business through them for many years! Thank you Thank you!
Morgan Pero
Morgan Pero
Excellent people, products and customer service!
Drew Halverson
Drew Halverson
Great product offerings/results, swift communication, and helpful staff. Highly recommend!
Tim s
Tim s
Northwest Custom apparel always does great work! We have been a customer for over 25 years and are always satisfied with the products we get!!
NW Custom Apparel treats us like we’re their only customer! Everyone is always so friendly and helpful. They’re great!
Randy Birch
Randy Birch
We us Northwest Custom Apparel for our work shirts and they are incredible. The staff is super friendly, the quality of workmanship is outstanding and they stand by the work they do. I love this place.
Heidi Christiansen
Heidi Christiansen
The company I work for has been buying custom apparel for the team members for years now. We love working with NW Custom Apparel because the process is easy, delivery is timely, and materials are high quality. Anytime I’ve ever had an issue, they’re quick to resolve it. We’ve purchased both embroidered items and DTG graphic tees. We’ve purchased blankets, shirts, jackets, hoodies, etc. Everything ends up looking super professional, and our team members always have positive things to say. Ally is always there at the warehouse with a smile and a friendly greeting when I pick up materials. She is so helpful and respectful. Taylar is a wonderful customer service rep. I’ve sent her some complicated orders—like 20 different items with all different colorways and styles or 150 items with three different styles—and she is so good at getting everything just right. I plan to continue purchasing from NW Custom for high-quality custom apparel.
Hoa DeBusk
Hoa DeBusk
Have used them for years. Knowledgeable team that is always so helpful in recommending options or creating designs. Great quality too for embroidery or digital prints. Very happy with them as a vendor.
Stacey Perez
Stacey Perez
We use Northwest Custom Apparel for all of our professional embroidery needs for the orthodontic office I work at. They do great work, are quick and have never missed a deadline. Highly recommend if you need any custom apparel needs.