Given low workplace engagement and high worker expectations about their jobs, companies need to focus on playing to the strengths of their employees, rather than help them improve on their weaknesses. Traditionally, employees are assigned where they are most needed in the organization, rather than placed where they can do the most good. The use of strengths interventions, defined as activities and processes that target the identification, development, and use of individual employee strengths, has a direct impact on profits.
Gallup has studied thousands of work teams and millions of leaders, managers, and employees for more than five decades. They have found that cultivating what is innately right with people is more effective than trying to fix what’s wrong with them. In a study of almost 50,000 businesses in 45 countries, Gallup researchers discovered that workgroups that received strengths interventions saw sales increase by 10% to 19% and profits by 14% to 29%, compared with control groups.
Here are some of the best practices for optimizing strengths initiatives.
Start with the hiring process. When hiring new employees. integrate strengths assessment into the interviewing and onboarding process. Asking about and discussing the candidate’s strengths during the interview clarifies how the candidate may be able to contribute to the company.
Target work and group assignments based on strengths. Employees who use their strengths on the job are more likely than others to be intrinsically motivated by their work — simply because it feels less like work to them. At the workgroup level, team members who know each other’s strengths relate more effectively to one another, improving group dynamics.
Incorporate strengths as part of employee recognition. Offer recognition often and cite specific examples of how employee’ strengths positively contributed to your business.
Make the strengths initiative a priority. Buy-in from every manager at every level to adopt strengths interventions is crucial and will have a profound impact on performance.
If you are looking to stifle productivity, then deny employees the opportunity to gravitate toward roles and responsibilities that play to their inherent abilities. Strategies that allow individuals to identify, develop and use their natural talents and strengths have the potential to dramatically improve workforce productivity and profits.