Why are people so good at that? Have you ever asked yourself why something seems easy or natural for others to do and yet, for you or a coworker in the next cubicle, that same task is difficult? Everyone has a combination of skills, strengths and knowledge that is unique to them and makes up their “character.” They use this combination daily to interact with coworkers and to accomplish their goals.
Employees who know their strengths and work from them tend to be among the highest engaged employees around the world. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report, only 13% of employees worldwide are truly engaged at work. In spite of this knowledge, employee engagement has not increased significantly since 2009 when Gallup began reporting engagement worldwide.
Companies that fail to engage their employees are missing out on the powerful results that can come from engagement. Gallup studies show that businesses in the top quartile are 17% more productive, experience 70% fewer safety incidents, experience 41% less absenteeism, have 10% better customer ratings and are 21% more profitable compared to companies in the bottom quartile.
Gallup has identified a straightforward way businesses can get top notch results. Simply manage their workforce by focusing on their strengths! Employees who understand their strengths and apply them in the workplace have discovered a transforming effect on their lives and work. Employees who use their strengths daily are three times more likely to say they have an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged in their work.
There are numerous “self-assessments” available that focus more on an individual’s personality, or behavior style or preference. Some assessments assign you a color indicative of your personality or relate you to a certain animal, like a lion or an otter, based on behavior patterns. The highly-researched Myers-Briggs Type Indicator inventories psychological types in four dimensions, including: General Attitude (Extravert or Introvert); Perception (Sensing or Intuitive); Judging (Thinking or Feeling), and; Processing of Information (Judging or Perceiving). There are 16 distinct personality types.
The way we perceive, process, and implement information is important and worthwhile information. However, at the Alber Enterprise Center, we have seen a greater return on investment when employees learn to leverage their strengths. “For too long, performance evaluations focused on fixing weaknesses vs maximizing strengths. By exploring the gaps in which you naturally think, feel, and behave, the CliftonStrengths® can identify and build on the areas where you have infinite potential to grow and succeed,” states Gallup.
Gallup recently completed global research on companies that implemented strengths-based management practices. They discovered that 90% of the groups studied had performance increases at or above the following ranges:
- 10% to 19% increase in sales
- 14% to 29% increase in profit
- 3% to 7% higher customer engagement
- 6% to 16% lower turnover (in low turnover organizations)
- 26% to 72% lower turnover (in high turnover organizations)
- 9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
- 22% to 59% lower safety incidents
Even at the low end these are impressive gains. To help organizations achieve these outcomes, we encourage corporate and business leaders to consider what Gallup has discovered by studying thousands of work teams and millions of employees.
A focus on employee strengths proceeds from the simple notion that we are all better at some things than others and that we will be happier and more productive if we spend more of our time doing those things. Gallup has identified 34 work related strengths which they divided into four leadership domains:
Executing (make things happen)
Influencing (reach a broader audience)
Relationship Building (create entities greater than the sum of parts)
Strategic Thinking (focus on what could be)
The CliftonStrengths® assessment yields in-depth analysis of your Top 5 strengths. These highly customized insights will help you understand how each of your Top 5 talents play out in your life on a personal level, and what makes you stand out compared to millions of people they have studied.
If you or the organizations you work with are interested in learning more about discovering strengths, the staff at Alber Enterprise Center would be delighted to have further conversations with you.
Gary Kuhn is an Organization Development Consultant with the Alber Enterprise Center located at The Ohio State University at Marion.