Show me a happy employee and I’ll show you someone who is most likely using their existing talents and strengths in their work and also is probably developing additional skills and strengths in the process. Unfortunately, that is not the experience of many, many people working in organizations today. A few weeks ago I spoke to a room of HR professionals about what they are seeing in their workplaces. We talked about how the economic climate had created the need to cut back on benefits, eliminate training, and in some cases, layoff staff.

As a result, they were seeing a certain level of malaise and lower morale among workers. The HR leaders’ concerns, and those of their senior executives, focused on how best to retain employees as the economy turns around. My presentation was on re-engaging employees, but we also talked about how some organizations never lost employee engagement even as changes occurred. They have kept their employees happy. What was their secret?

A recent article, The Secret of Higher Performance, in the Gallup Management Journal® suggests one possibility – a focus on individual strengths and great management. The Gallup research cited in the article lays out an excellent case for why focusing on strengths builds engagement and why engaged employees focus on developing their strengths – an upward cycle that spells success for organizations that embrace this philosophy.

Leaders and managers who are skilled at recognizing, nurturing, and building talent understand this connection. They reap the rewards of greater collaboration, increased commitment, clearer communication, and yes – happier employees. Gallup’s Q12 model measures some of these principles of higher engagement and performance through statements such as “I know what is expected of me at work,” “There is someone at work who encourages my development,” “At work, my opinions seem to count,” “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work,” and “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”

How would you respond to these statements? How would your employees?
Tell us all about it on our blog.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

If you want to find ways to make happy employees, contact Robyn at

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