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By Darryl Stewart

Only twenty percent of your team is giving their best

A recent survey asked 198,000 employees across 7,939 business units in 36 companies:  At work do you have the opportunity to do what you are best at every day?

When the responses to this question where compared with the results of the business units the discoveries were this:  When employees answered “strongly agree” to this question, they were 50% more likely to work in a business unit with lower turnover, 38% more likely to work in more productive business units, and 44% more likely to work in a business unit with higher customer satisfaction scores.

When tracked over time, business units that were able to improve on the number of employees answering “strongly agree” to this question saw comparable improvements in productivity, customer loyalty, and employee retention.

percentage sign with arrow on topWith me so far?  Makes sense right?  People doing what they are best at are going to stay longer and deliver better results, this is a no brainer.

What do you think the typical percentage answering “strongly agree” to the question is?

The answer is around 20%.  Most confusing of all is the fact that the farther someone climbs the traditional career ladder, the lower this percentage typically goes.  What are we doing to people?

The opportunity in these numbers is startling.  If your organization is like most, you are operating at 20% capacity.  So how do we tap this opportunity?  The first step is tackling some widely held beliefs.

Which two of the following resonate best with you?

  1. Each person can be competent in almost anything.
  2. Each person’s greatest room for growth is in his or her areas of greatest weakness.
  3. Each person’s talents are enduring and unique.
  4. Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.

1 and 2 are incorrect if you want to go for “strongly agree”.  The best you are going to get acting from these beliefs is damage control, patching up problems areas.  If an employee is always alienating the people around him some emotional intelligence or sensitivity training may help patch things up, but true engagement is not going to happen by focusing on weakness and growth and progress in this area will be slow and painful.

If you want to get the best out of someone 3 and 4 are the correct beliefs to act from.  Acting from these beliefs is the right way.

It is only by focusing on the talents and strengths of each of your team that you can get more people answering “strongly agree” to the question:  At work do you have the opportunity to do what you are best at every day? If you can get this percentage improving you can reap the rewards.

I am going to take this idea further over the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.