|It may seem obvious but as US author Tom Rath notes “people who… have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”When people are engaged at work, they’re more productive. Repeatedly surveys of the UK workforce report that as little as one third of workers feel engaged. Can you imagine what that may mean for your organisation?Furthermore, engaged employees who use their strengths are less likely to leave, which improves retention and is likely to enhance your recruitment efforts as well.
Identify individual strengths. Strengths begin as innate talents, a proclivity to behave or think a certain way. Then, over time, that talent is solidified by other skills, acquired knowledge and constant practice. Capitalising on those strengths will help improve your margins.
Often, we focus on improving our “weaknesses,” but research indicates that by instead focusing on strengths and building well-rounded teams that capitalise on each person’s abilities can lead to greater productivity.
According to the Gallup Business Journal, “If companies want to increase productivity, they must… help [employees] use their strengths with knowledgeable intent.”
But before your staff can use their strengths, they have to be identified. One simple method to identify strengths is by watching for visible signs of excitement and increased engagement throughout the day. These are noticeable when pupils dilate, the chest broadens, and speech becomes fast and fluid.
A more structured way of identifying your team’s strengths could be to utilise a recognised concept, for example Belbin team roles, easy to adapt and readily available online and can effectively help your team recognise their hidden strengths.
Once you’ve your team identify their strengths individually, it’s time to put those strengths to work.
Share the knowledge. Each person needs to share their strengths and discuss how those strengths can benefit the organisation as a whole. Take time for your team to learn about each other’s strengths and the advantages those offer. Why not print everyone’s name and strengths on promotional magnets for their office desks as a reminder and guide to pairing the right strengths with the right projects. Additionally, use motivational banners, balloons, stress balls around the office to inspire the team to use their strengths every day. Use Sticky Notes printed with key messages around the office and in communal areas.
Make it part of the culture. When you see employees actively utilising their strengths in ways that are helping the department grow, reward them with a token of appreciation such as an executive notebook or Parker Pen that reinforces the message that says it’s clear they are using their strengths.
Ask them to report back. Drive the ‘strengths’ message home by asking your employees to give you feedback on how they think they’re doing at manifesting their strengths, something they can record in a notebook. Also, include strengths-based performance expectations in your team’s annual reviews. Hold your team accountable and watch them shine.
Ultimately, their individual strengths will help drive your organisation to bigger and better things. It may take some time for ‘the strengths’ idea to get off the ground, but once your team is given the chance to become great at what they’re already good at, there will be no stopping them – or your organisation.
“How Strength Boost Engagement.” Gallup.