Research shows that employee wellbeing can influence an employer’s bottom line. It’s not just an indulgence of companies like Google – with their fun slides, colourful workspaces and pool tables – focus on developing your staff and you’ll see financial and reputational benefits that far outweigh the time and money invested. A content, fulfilled employee is more productive than a demotivated, dissatisfied workforce.
Positivity at work isn’t necessarily aligned to a huge pay packet; there are a number of ways to help employees get more from their working hours: such as offering a decent work/life balance and flexible working arrangements, ongoing development and training, clear acknowledgement and reward, and values within an organisation.
So, how can employers get the best form their people? Do they focus on improving employees’ weaknesses, or should they work to develop their strengths? Don’t both options reach the same end?
Research by Gallup shows that there’s greater potential associated with the developing of employees’ strengths, as opposed to ‘fixing’ their weaknesses. It’s not that difficult to understand…just think about it: would you feel good if you had to think about the specific things you don’t do well (and, likely, don’t enjoy either)? Would this motivate you to change these aspects? Human nature means you’re also likely to compare yourself to people who don’t have issues in those areas – how’s that going to make you feel?
We’ve written before about how you become what you think, and if your point of view is one of negativity, it’s not the best foundation for your inspiration and innate talent to shine through.
Think about something you’re good at. Something that you already know you like to do. Something that you’re already skilled at…how would it feel if you were even better at it?! Would you be happy to go to work to develop this strength? Do you think you’d feel better about your job? Wouldn’t you want to apply your new-improved skills?
The Gallup study showed that the more people think about and use their strengths, the happier they are. They feel calmer and that their quality of life is good. They also feel more engaged with their work.
And here’s the bottom-line effect. More than a million employees took part in Gallup’s study; they were arranged into groups that received A) intensive intervention relating to their strengths, B) moderate intervention on strengths, and C) no intervention at all.
90% of the employees in groups A and B showed an increase in productivity. Even moderate intervention had the potential to realise up to 29% more profit, 19% better sales, and 15% improved employee engagement.
A 2012 study by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, in association with the University of Bath, backs up the benefits of a happy, engaged employee. It reports: “As well as performance and productivity, employee engagement impacts positively on levels of absenteeism, on retention, on levels of innovation, customer service, and staff advocacy of their organisations.” Just last November the CIPD published the findings of their own study, which showed that team performance is better when focus is on employees’ strengths.
Make it a habit
Our brains don’t have infinite capacity. We can only process a certain amount of information at a time, which is why we form habits – often-repeated tasks that can be carried out by our subconscious mind. Experts can’t quite pin down how many daily tasks come with their own mental shortcuts; some believe it’s around 40%, whilst others think it could be as much as 80% of what we do.
Thinking positively and concentrating on pushing our strengths forward can become a habit. Our brains are pliable enough to make new habits; however, it’s easier to focus on a new habit if we rid ourselves of old ones that no longer serve us – such as any thought we may give to our weaknesses. When we apply our strengths to problems, we acquire the skills to solve them, which in turn helps us to grow and develop.
This all sounds fantastic if you know what your strengths are. Given that we’re continually learning things and undergoing new experiences, we can potentially pick up new ones all the time. We’re all works-in-progress.
The Jigsaw Discovery Tool is a unique solution that not only identifies strengths, it also gives you an insight into how to apply them, when it comes to communicating and interacting with others. Great for leaders and managers looking to get the best from their team, using the positives of each individual to achieve the end goal.
Emotions are contagious, as are ideas (Schachter, 1959: 15; Cacioppo and Petty, 1987; Levy and Nail, 1993). We’re back in the subconscious again: our physiological responses mirror that of those around us. If we’re faced with hostility, that’s what we’ll fire back. If there’s enthusiasm and warmth bouncing around us, that’s what we’ll project, too.
That’s why it’s so important to create a positive culture. One where employees’ strengths are paramount.
Your bottom line will thank you…
If you would like to find out more about the Jigsaw Discovery Tool, please contact Michelle McArthur-Morgan on 01924 898930