How StrengthsFinder can Increase Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a hot topic right now. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.
That’s not good.
Because the level of engagement of your employees effects the bottom line, it’s something that should be part of your strategic planning. In a recent Forbes article, Josh Bersin wrote that, “engaging people well is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business.”
He goes on to say,
If your people love their work and the environment you have created, they will treat customers better, innovate, and continuously improve your business.
We couldn’t agree more.
We have found one of the best ways to create an environment where people love to work is to focus on the people first, then their team. When these two critical business entities are operating from areas of greatest strength, your organizational culture will become irresistible.
Engaged vs Disengaged
I’ve worked at places where employee engagement was rather low. Team members didn’t feel they were making a significant contribution on their team, let alone the larger organization. They would put in the minimum effort to get the job done – working just hard enough not to get fired. They came late, left early and took long “breaks” during the day. They would often complain, and talk about how much they wanted to leave.
I have also worked in highly engaged environments. In addition to exhibiting characteristics opposite to the environment described above, these engaged employees actually went out of their way to contribute value to their team and organization. They believed in their cause and wanted to see it flourish.
Gallup’s Q12 research has found teams with a high-level of engagement experience:
- 22% Higher Profitability
- 21% Higher Productivity
- 10% Higher Customer Engagement
- 37% Lower Absenteeism
- 65% Lower Turnover
Not to mention, work is a whole lot more fun! With numbers like those, it’s hard not to focus on building a team of individuals who are highly engaged in their work.
How StrengthsFinder can Increase Employee Engagement
Over the past eight years, I have been consulting using StrengthsFinder and watched it positively transform many organizations. At the individual level, employees have either found a way to use their strengths in their current role (often with a few modifications) or realized the job they have will never allow them to utilize their strengths, and have gone on to better things.
Here are three ways StrengthsFinder can increase employee engagement in any organization:
1. Focus Employees in Areas of Greatest Potential
StrengthsFinder shows people what they are naturally good at through a report highlighting areas of their greatest potential. Our ThemePrint activity helps individuals identify those behaviors. Research shows people with a positive experience with strengths are six times more likely to be engaged.
When you become more aware of your areas of greatest strength, you naturally want to find ways to use them. Knowing this, employees can manage job responsibility to help them spend most of their time in areas of greatest strength. When you focus the majority of your time in an area you’re uniquely good at, you’ll enjoy it more. When you enjoy doing something, you are more productive, and contribute at a higher level.
One of my strengths is Ideation. I love being part of the brainstorming phase of any project. When I’m allowed to sit in on those types of meetings, or impromptu idea generating sessions, I feel alive and tend to work harder and longer than other parts of my work.
2. Build Trust Among the Team
Once you become aware of your areas of greatest strength, you have a responsibility to share with your team. Having a group understanding of strengths, allows the team to expect each other to operate out of their areas of greatest strength. When you understand the role you play in the context of the larger team, you are able to appreciate and trust what your team members bring to the table.
Another strength I have is Restorative. I’m always trying to get to the core issue of a problem, question, idea, etc. In fact, our team now anticipates that behavior from me when we’re looking into new projects. I love it because I’m good at it and it’s fun for me. Similarly, I expect the same from other team members in different areas.
StrengthsFinder has created this deeper level of trust for our whole team which enables us to be more engaged in our area of strength because we know others are engaged in theirs. It’s hard for your employees to remain disengaged if their own team members are constantly asking them to operate in areas they are naturally good at.
We recently worked with a team who had one woman with the strength of Woo and Communication. She was outgoing, able to talk to anyone, and could advocate on behalf of other team members, but wasn’t the most disciplined or organized person. However, during our training, she found out her co-worker was high Discipline and Responsibility. Together, they were able to work together, leveraging each others strengths, and in so doing, found ways to become more engaged in their work.
3. Team Commitment is Raised
There is a flywheel effect happening when it comes to employee engagement. When individuals become more engaged, they engage others on the team. When teams become more engaged, they raise the water level for an entire organization. People want to play on the winning team, and want to play a significant role.
When you are part of something that’s going well, you want to focus your time and energy to help it thrive. When athletes get traded or signed to highly successful organizations, they talk about the pressure they feel to live up to the greatness of the franchise. It’s hard not to be engaged when you understand your unique role as part of something larger than yourself.
This is the essence of having a strong culture. StrengthsFinder can increase employee engagement by helping you focus on your people, your team and ultimately your culture. When organizational culture is strong and thriving, it’s difficult to have employees who are actively disengaged.
How Engaged is your Culture?
There is no such thing as organizational culture that is too engaged. Using StrengthsFinder will have a positive effect on your culture regardless of where you’re at today.
If you’re curious how your culture is doing, Gallup has created a great resource for measuring levels of employee engagement. The Q12™ is a series of 12 questions that get to the heart of how engaged your workforce is. We’ve created a simplified list of the questions here.The full version, with customized reports costs $15 per employee.
If you’d be interested in finding out more about how we might be able to use StrengthsFinder to increase employee engagement in your organization, email us. We’d love to talk!