Most managers think they know the answer to this question. Most managers, I venture to say, would say that their employees DO have the opportunity to do what they do best on a consistent basis. They’d point to awards won, the organization’s mission, visions, values, and that gleaming picture of happy employees on their careers webpage as proof.
But your employees might be living (well, working) in a world completely removed from what management or the organization aspires to be.
Your employees might feel that they in fact, DON’T get to do what they do best on a consistent basis. And it’s probably costing you.
From Inc Magazine:
“The costs of low engagement aren’t limited to turnover and recruitment. Gallup found that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year; that number doesn’t even take into account the “not engaged” employees.” Read the rest here.
There are all kinds of ways to assess your employee’s strengths, but perhaps the best, most locally specific method, is to simply ask your employees what they wish they could do more of in their current role.
“What aspect of your work do you wish you could do more of?”
Asking this question of your employees begins a conversation allowing you to customize the work they do. It’s an opportunity to find out where people stand, and it’s a moment that your employees will appreciate.
Does it mean that you will be required to customize every aspect of their work to encompass their strengths and forever avoid the types of work your employees dislike? No. Does it mean that you will have to make an effort to lead, and manage their work as individuals? Absolutely.
People enjoy putting their skills, strengths, and experience to good use. Anytime you can improve the chances that your employees have the opportunity to do so, you not only create an environment where consistent performance feedback guides work, you are also creating opportunities for employees to do what they do best.
There will always be aspects of work that people don’t like, but as a manager you have the opportunity to make those moments more tolerable by giving people the opportunity to be more engaged in other areas of their work.
Taking action will require nuance, but it all starts with a conversation.
And you can’t start that conversation without first asking the right question.