Second part of the series 7 ways to use the Clifton Strengths to improve your employees experience

3. Onboard: Create a common language that helps people connect.
So many leaders whose organizations use CliftonStrengths remark that it gives managers, employees and entire teams a common language. Asking someone about their CliftonStrengths is an easy way to start a conversation about so many important topics: How do you work best? How do you like to be managed? How can we collaborate?

It’s up to managers and their leaders to ensure that each employee receives CliftonStrengths results and focused coaching on how to apply their CliftonStrengths to succeed in their role. This approach to development assures that you’re creating a culture wherein teams feel comfortable talking about and embracing each other’s unique CliftonStrengths.

It’s up to managers and their leaders to ensure that each employee receives CliftonStrengths results and focused coaching on how to apply their CliftonStrengths to succeed in their role.

4. Engage: Empower people to do what they do best every day.
Only four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” However, if that ratio improved to eight in 10, organizations could realize a 14% increase in profitability along with other increased business metrics.

When employees get to do what they do best, they are more engaged at work. They are more present, focused and inspired. They bring more innovative and creative ideas to the table, and they naturally work to improve processes and outcomes. In fact, a 2015 meta-analysis finds teams that received strengths-based development can experience gains of up to 15% in employee engagement. As a result, business units see increased productivity and revenue. Needless to say, having a strengths-based culture is a powerful way to align employees with what they do best.

The manager is crucial here. Managers are responsible for 70% of the variation in team engagement scores. In fact, when asked if their manager focuses on their CliftonStrengths, 67% of employees who agree are engaged — that percentage plummets to 2% when employees disagree. Plus, the deeper managers can go in strengths-based development with employees, the better: A 2018 meta-analysis finds that, compared with employees and teams who received feedback on just their top five CliftonStrengths, those who received feedback on their CliftonStrengths 34 results improved more on all but one of the 12 question items in Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement metric.

This means that managers need to have regular, informal conversations with employees in order to fully understand their strengths and help them apply those strengths to their daily work.


5. Perform: Practice coaching conversations that focus on employees’ strengths.
According to Gallup’s report Re-Engineering Performance Management, only one in five employees strongly agrees that their company’s performance system motivates them.

Why are employees so unmotivated? At least one aspect is that manager feedback is often focused on fixing weaknesses rather than focusing on strengths. A culture where “feedback” means “criticism” doesn’t work. In contrast, Gallup has found CliftonStrengths coaching that focuses on development leads to higher performance, productivity and higher customer metrics.

Employees need regular coaching conversations that apply CliftonStrengths to setting performance goals. For example, for your employees who lead with the Competition CliftonStrengths theme, maybe they need a “score to beat.” Or, for your employees strong in the Learner theme, maybe they need to craft goals that are dependent on engaging with information or ideas they’ve never dealt with before.

By coaching employees to use their natural talents instead of focusing on their weaknesses, you will empower them to reach their potential in the long run.

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