When recruiting for a new role the recruiting person aims to get the best applicant for the job and looks for and considers factors such as the best possible fit to the organisational values of the organisation, the skills required for the job, the desired attitude to be successful in the role and the personality to fit with the team and / or shake it up.
When the successful applicant commences in a role, they undertake the various aspects of the role required of them, such as, for example, business development, their technical role, supervising a team and so on. (You may even have several people in the same or similar role expected to do pretty much the same thing). But, once you’ve got to know the applicant better and the applicant has settled into the organisation, you get a better sense of what their strengths and weaknesses are (and sometimes their likes and dislikes as well).
At that point, do you use their strengths and develop them in areas where they are weak? Do you change their roles, to continue to suit the organisation and get the required work done but to also suit the individual and team to maximise performance and productivity? We work with a lot of organisations and can say that whilst some might, most don’t! Gallup has found that building employee’s strengths is a far more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses.
Imagine when the individual loves every aspect of their role and does it well. Compare this then to an individual that loves only some of their job. Carrying out the not so loved aspects of their job impacts negatively on the aspects of the role they do love. This impacts on retention, job satisfaction, engagement (and flows onto customer engagement), performance and productivity and therefore impacts the outcome and results for the organisation. By allowing individuals to focus on what they do love about their roles provides the greatest opportunity for success for the individual and the organisation. Gallup research shows that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged. When employees feel that their business cares and encourages them to make the most of their strengths, they are more likely to respond with increased discretionary effort, a stronger work ethic and more enthusiasm and commitment.
I appreciate that due to the size of the business, there isn’t always this luxury but I think a better job can be done of it and at times we all have to do things we don’t enjoy as much as others. Give some thought as to what you need done, how it is to be done but more importantly, who does it. But remember, employees don’t always know their strengths (or their weaknesses for that matter).
Gallup’s data shows that employees understanding their strengths makes them 7.8% more productive and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% great productivity. And, even better, their studies show that using employees’ strengths leads to improved health and wellness outcomes. The more individuals can use their strengths, the less likely they will experience worry, stress, anger, sadness or physical pain. This is what we love at HR Business Direction. We are passionate about both helping our clients get a ROI from their people and creating working environments that support and promote mental health and allows us to make a true difference in society – for businesses and individuals (and why we are supporters of RUOK? in the promotion of regular and meaningful conversations).
My advice, which I learnt, is use individual’s strengths and develop them in areas where the have weaknesses. At HR Business Direction, we can help to maximise the performance and productivity of your team. Contact us here.
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