How To Motivate Your Employees By Using Their Strengths


Motivating your employees is proving to be more challenging than ever. Critical work needs to be done, and it can be challenging to meet your employees where they are. Is there a happy medium between giving employees work you know they can do and giving them new tasks to tackle? We think so! Let’s chat about how to motivate your employees by using their strengths.

1. Using Your Strengths Makes You Happier

Before we delve into strengths talk, you may be wondering why it is so important to nurture your employee’s strengths. The truth is: using your strengths makes you happier. According to Shawn Achor, an expert in positive psychology, using one of your strengths fantastically impacts your mood.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage: How A Positive Brain Fuels Success In Work And Life, Achor notes: “When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups.” Not only that, the benefits were felt much later after the experiment ended.

2. Help Your Employees Find Their Strengths

Encouraging your employees to use their strengths is a wonderful way to impact their happiness, but they need to find their strengths first.

Make a strengths test a part of your company’s onboarding process. There are many strengths assessments out there. Some of the most known are assessments like the CliftonStrengths test, the High5 Test, or the VIA Character test. Which test you choose for your employees depends on your needs as a company.

With these results, your employees will feel more empowered during the workday. Your employees will be better workers and leaders for your company.

3. Create Employee Training Around Strength Improvement

Once your employees know what their strengths are, it’s vital for you to give them the educational resources they need to use those strengths. Strengths are only empowering if your employees realize how to utilize their strengths during their workday. Many strengths tests offer additional training that will help your employees use their results appropriately.

What are the top five strengths present in your office? Create training modules that will help your employees utilize those strengths with real-world examples. Many strengths tests track 30+ unique strengths so it can be challenging to create training material on each one. Chances are, your employees won’t use all of their strengths at work, so tackle the most prevalent strengths first, and then go from there.

4. Make Using Strengths A Part Of The Work Day

Did you know that companies who use their employees’ strengths are more likely to have engaged workers? Employee engagement is always a topic of debate because our employees do better work when they are engaged and excited about the work they do.

If you can make strengths a part of the workday, your employees will do better work. Here are some examples of how you may use strengths in the workplace:

  • If you need to get your employees to move over to new office software, start with employees who are known for being flexible or who show the qualities of being great leaders.
  • When you need to create a mural for the office kitchen, enlist some of your most creative employees.
  • When creating new committees and teams, consider putting them together based on strengths fit.

There are several ways to use strengths during the workday. You have to consider what works best for your company as you utilize the strengths of your employees.

Give Your Employees The Flexibility To Play To Their Strengths

If you want to empower your employees with their strengths, you need to give your employees the flexibility to use them.

Do you have employees who are always thinking of the most creative solutions to solve problems? Don’t stifle that creativity with rigid rules that need one thousand signatures to be circumvented. Create a process that allows for creative problem solving while keeping the legal risk for your company low.

We are all different. Your employees have different strengths, and if you truly want to utilize them, you have to be more open to change as a company.

5. Should You Spend Time Improving Your Employees Weaknesses?

When the conversation of strength training comes into play, we often think about the opposite of that, your employees’ weaknesses. Should you spend time improving employee weaknesses? You may choose to spend your time this way. It truly depends on your needs as a company.

It’s much easier to spend your day lavishing in your strengths versus trying to overcome your weaknesses. Your employees will be happier working on projects that play to their strengths, but that doesn’t mean you should only work with those strengths.

When we talk about our comfort zone, though, we often have this false notion that great things only come outside of this zone. In his book, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, James Clear talks about the Goldilocks Rule. According to Clear, “The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.”

If you want to help your employees work on their weaknesses, make sure you aren’t pushing them into the deep end of the pool before they are ready. You can work on their weaknesses, as long as you are careful and provide support along the way.

Unleash Your Employee’s Strengths

Now that you know about utilizing your employees’ strengths, it’s time to unleash them. Create an action plan for your company today. How will you use strengths in your office? What steps can you take in the next week to help your employees realize their full potential through strengths training?