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Dollarphotoclub_77240176Using employees’ natural strengths and aptitudes at work just makes sense, but performance reviews and daily feedback are often only centred around areas of weakness and things that need improving. As managers, we know we should be focusing on the positive, but with busy schedules and work pressures, things just need to get done! Ensuring that employees are maximizing use of their strengths can seem like yet another item added to a long to-do list, and it’s an easy one to put off.

But there’s a good reason to make it a focus—employees who employ their strengths on the job are six times more likely to be engaged at work. (Click here for no-cost ways to build engagement)

Here are 5 smart ways to better use your employees’ strengths:

1. Recruit For Success

Prepare for a successful recruitment process. Before you even start recruiting, articulate the strengths needed to thrive in a position. Make a list of attributes, talents, and natural aptitudes or inclinations that will enable success in the role. Referring to this list throughout the recruitment process will assist in identifying the ideal fit and help avoid a mis-hire.

2. Create Diverse Teams

The most productive and creative teams are made up of employees who have complementary strengths. Identify the strengths needed to create an optimal project outcome, and form your teams by identifying employees whose strengths can collectively generate the desired results.

3. Performance Management

Approach performance management conversations and processes through a lens of maximizing employee strengths instead of highlighting weaknesses. Incorporate goal-setting, recognition, and professional development initiatives that encourage employees to use their talents. Remember, you don’t need a formal performance review to give employees positive feedback – just tell them!   For more painless performance management tips, Click here.

You don’t need a formal performance review to give employees positive feedback – just tell them!Twitter_logo_blue

4. Avoid Frustration

Assign tasks to the best person for the job. Everyone has aspects of their job that they dislike, but that doesn’t mean you can’t minimize frustrating experiences for employees. Be flexible when you can. If an employee is truly struggling with something despite their best efforts and training, think creatively. Increase productivity and engagement by swapping out that task with one that uses their talents more effectively.

5. Let Them Shine

Get to know who your employees are as people. Take notice of what they like doing, and give them the opportunity to do things they excel at whenever possible. Have an artist on the team and need a new company logo designed? Perfect. Maybe you don’t need to contract that work out. Make note of employees’ various interests and skills outside the scope of their daily work, and find ways to incorporate those activities in a meaningful way on the job.

Your Engaged HR Assignment: Get everyone on board! Have organizational leaders share their strengths and weaknesses with their staff. Sharing vulnerability and being authentic within an organization opens an honest dialogue, and fosters a great team dynamic.

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