What if we got to use our strengths every day?

There is a growing canon of research on the benefits to organisations when employees get to use their strengths at work.

Using your strengths every day increases engagement, meaning and job satisfaction. That translates to lower employee turnover and absenteeism.

In addition, leveraging strengths is key to releasing creativity as it increases the amount of flow you experience at work.

In Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness he sets out a few steps to leveraging your strengths:

  • Firstly, identify your signature strengths via a questionnaire or by asking for feedback from those around you.
  • In an ideal world, choose work that lets you use them every day.
  • Failing that, recraft your present work to use your signature strengths more.
  • If that’s not possible, identify those parts of your work which provide the best opportunity to use your signature strengths and take time to savour these.
  • If you are the employer, choose employees whose signature strengths mesh with the work they will do. If you are a manager, make room to allow employees to recraft the work within the bounds of your goals.

Strengths in your personal life

You can also use it in your personal life. Doing this can increase happiness for months:

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

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. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full months later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.

As an assessor I can see the immediate benefit to individuals and organisations when individuals are recruited and appointed to a role based on their strengths. They are energised, engaged and feel the organisation understands and respects what they have to offer.

Given the high cost associated with a bad hire, why wouldn’t everyone use strengths as their assessment criteria?