By making an effort to identify employee strengths, you can work toward improving your overall business performance. As noted by the Harvard Business Review, new studies confirm that playing to employee strengths benefits business objectives: Workgroups that received a "strengths intervention" saw a 10 to 19 percent boost in sales, a 14 to 29 percent increase in profit and a 22 to 59 percent decrease in safety incidents. Here are some tips on how to help your employees identify and nurture their strengths.

Critical Competencies

To start tapping into your employees' talents, first identify strengths that could improve efficiency and performance. You can begin by scanning for broader talents and then look for more specific strengths as needed. It's also worth taking the time to speak with staff members to find out about their self-reported best qualities and what they believe they can bring to the organization. Not only do you reap the benefit of understanding how employees perceive their value to the company, but this also gives you the opportunity to "test drive" strengths before handing out new positions or promotions.

So what are some of the most valuable big-ticket strengths? It's worth keeping an eye out for the following:

  • Communication Skills
    All employees have to communicate with each other, but some do so better than others. Seek out workers who can easily relate to both peers and superiors without sounding condescending or pushy. As noted by the Houston Chronicle, it's also a good idea to pay attention to emails and reports, as these platforms allow you to assess written communication skills.
  • Planning Skills
    Your workforce knows how to get the job done, but some staff members take this a step further by designing thorough and complex plans that account for multiple failure points or interruptions. These types of capabilities can prove to be invaluable when it comes to meeting long-term objectives.
  • Problem-Solving Skills
    What happens when employees come up against a difficult challenge or one that requires them to think outside of the box? While some struggle, give up or immediately seek managerial input, others are willing to strike out on their own and find answers, even if they're not immediately obvious.
  • Tenacity
    Sometimes the going gets tough. Projects may encounter hiccups, customers may be complaining in droves and technology doesn't always work as intended. Watch what happens when times aren't so great. Tenacious employees will rise to the top with ways to manage their own stress levels and new options for getting things done.

How to Leverage These Strengths

Once you identify employee strengths, how can you leverage this knowledge to improve business performance? Forbes argues that it's beneficial for you to put employees with differing strengths on the same team. For example, 10 planners and five communicators might get off to a great start on a particular project but fall down if the unexpected happens or the assignment becomes more technically demanding than originally planned. In this way, diversity breeds dividends.

By highlighting the advanced skill sets that each of your employees possesses, you can help lift your bottom line.

Tags: Feedback Management employee management Employee Development