There are probably as many different management styles as there are managers in the world. One quality all great managers have in common is the ability to recognize employees’ unique strengths and abilities and use them in a way that increases productivity and, as an added bonus, employee engagement. Gallup reports that employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. Here are some ways to identify an employee’s strengths and information on how doing so will reap big benefits for your employees and company
Look, Listen And Learn
Great managers spend a considerable amount of time watching and listening to what is going on in the workplace, paying particular attention to how employees interact, what causes them to struggle and what comes naturally to them. When observing how employees interact in meetings, collaborate on teams and conduct themselves during presentations, a clearer picture emerges of an employee’s talents, which, if properly developed, lead to strengths.
Simply asking an employee about her likes/dislikes about her job can lead to a more in-depth discussion about the employee’s strengths. One way to approach the conversation is to ask the employee to explain the details of her best and worst day on the job. Employees tend to like performing job duties at which they excel and shy away from those that present them with challenges.
Leverage The Strengths
The best managers find ways to allow employees to use their strengths and assemble teams in which those strengths are best utilized and work together. A good team is diverse and well-rounded. If a team consists of too many people with similar strengths, creativity could be stifled. While it is a good idea to have team members with some degree of differing strengths, a team that is too different may lead to conflict and misunderstandings. For example, a good manager knows that some of the brightest employees may be so focused on the task at hand, they lose track of time and may miss deadlines. A team with a great thinker may benefit from having an organized task master on board. A great manager isn’t afraid to revise job descriptions, transfer employees to different positions and otherwise change job responsibilities to put employees in a position to succeed and use their strengths.
A Strong Bottom Line
Allowing employees to work in a way that utilized their strengths not only increases their engagement, it has a marked effect on business operations. Gallup conducted a large study on companies that had completed Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment (an online Gallup assessment tool intended to identify personal strengths), engaged in strengths-based coaching and placed employees in positions allowing them to use their strengths on a daily basis. The study included 49,495 business units with 1.2 million employees across 22 organizations in seven industries and 45 countries. The study focused on six outcomes: sales, profit, customer engagement, turnover, employee engagement and safety. The results were impressive. On average, the workgroups that received a strengths intervention improved on all of the measures by a significant amount compared with control groups that received less-intensive interventions or none at all. 90% of the workgroups that implemented a strengths intervention of any magnitude saw performance increases at or above the ranges shown below.
- 10%-19% increase in sales
- 14%-29% increase in profit
- 3%-7% increase in customer engagement
- 9%-15% increase in engaged employees
- 6- to 16-point decrease in turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
- 26- to 72-point decrease in turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
- 22%-59% decrease in safety incidents
It’s a Win-Win
Capitalizing on employees’ strengths improves engagement, morale and retention. Businesses with managers who are cognizant of the importance of identifying and using strengths enjoy increases in profits and customer engagement and have happier employees. Call Smart HR today at (703) 952-3177 to see how a Smart HR consultant can help you implement strategies to capitalize on your employees’ strengths.