When an organization has a healthy climate, the end result is that employees or volunteers are engaged. When they think about their jobs, their thoughts run to sentiments such as these: “I matter around here. They pay attention to my strengths and talents here. I am making a difference”.
In our employee survey, The Engagement Dashboard, which you can read about here, organizations with a healthy culture see that their employees answer yes to questions such as “I get to use my talents and strengths every day at work”.
There are lots of tools to identify employee strengths but the very best organizations, whether or not they choose to use formal tools, somehow seem to consistently identify and develop skilled managers and leaders.
Two questions are critical in identifying and developing talented leaders who are sold out to the mission:
- What does it take to win in our business?
- How will we know a winner when we see him or her?
Once you’ve found them, you’ve got to nurture them!
Here are three critical ingredients for developing employees around their strengths and creating employee engagement:
- Create a common language around strengths and skills. Whether you use a ready made tool or create your own vocabulary, make sure that you are fostering conversations about strengths more than shortcomings. In our work with clients, this is one of our preoccupations – how can we turn the internal and external conversations to focus on strengths and promise. It’s key to ‘catch’ team members praising the strengths of others and build on such comments. it makes a huge difference both in productivity and climate!
- Make sure managers are talking to team members about strengths. Sure, you have to have a daily task-focus – stuff has to get done! But make sure that you circle every conversation you can around to the employee or volunteer’s strengths and talents – you’ll see improved morale and productivity as a result. And cultivate and place managers who are willing to run a personal risk by shifting responsibilities around to make sure people are in places where they can shine.
- Align your performance systems around strengths. The promise should be simple: “We will put you in a place where you can use your strengths and talents. If you do so in alignment with our corporate mission you will be promoted and rewarded and in so doing you will fulfill your desire to contribute, belong, and to make a difference.”
Simply put, it’s more fun to work in a place where employees are engaged around their strengths and thus committed and loyal to the organizational mission.
To read much more check out our new book The Secret Sauce here or be in touch with us – we’d love to help you create a winning, strengths-based organizational climate in the place you serve!