Research from Gallup on employee strengths included a study that looked at 49,495 business units encompassing 1.2 million employees, across seven industries and 22 countries.   What the research found was that when a company focused on employee strengths – the following metrics increased:

  • 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

From this study, we can deduce that:

  • Employee strengths have bottom-line implications

How does one focus on employee strengths?

Most often the problem resides in the fact that senior leaders typically don’t care about people issues. They are most likely concerned about revenue streams.  It is therefore critical for managers to identify the potential to increase revenue streams by concentrating on employee strengths.

What if managers kept charts like this?

chart

This may be another chart that the manager will need to track and monitor, but the benefits far outweigh the time spent doing this.  It’s alarming to consider that 68 percent of managers don’t care about their employees’ career progression and that only 34 percent of managers can name two strengths of their direct reports.  The chart above could be a simple start for many. I’d estimate it’d take about 10-12 minutes per employee to fill this out. Let’s say you have 10 direct reports and do this every two weeks, that’s 240 minutes a month (about 4 hours).

The psychology of the employee strengths problem

Our brain is wired to predict threats.  When you say “employee strengths,” you acknowledge that someone that reports into you has strengths. To many managers, that can be seen as a threat.  It requires a boss with a high degree of self awareness to focus on employee strengths.  Work needs to be about more than protecting your perch and getting the most for yourself. At some level, it needs to be about the employee strengths on your team.