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Leveraging Employee Strengths When Setting Workplace Goals

  • Goals that build on strengths can yield more successful results than those seeking to develop skills or address faults
  • This approach can have a variety of benefits, including reducing absenteeism and employee turnover
  • Ensuring that employees know what is expected of them is a key step

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

January traditionally brings a spate of well-intentioned but ill-fated New Year’s resolutions. There’s a reason gym attendance spikes at the start of the year and gradually fades as the spring approaches, after all.

A series of Gallup polls suggests that a crucial reason for the failure of such goals is that they give precedence to areas where a person needs to develop skills or address faults, rather than improve on their strengths. The data suggests that the latter strategy can yield better results than the former.

Gallup explored the matter in a recent article, offering advice on how employees can set goals that result in better performance.

  • Employee strengths can be identified based on what work they complete easily and well, as well as the tasks they most enjoy doing; this information can be used to develop performance goals
  • Placing an emphasis on developing strengths can have benefits such as improving productivity, reducing absenteeism and employee turnover, strengthening employee resilience, and reducing stress
  • Goals can also address personal well-being, including the key element of employees knowing what is expected of them at work; half of workers surveyed in one Gallup poll said their employer had not made this clear

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