McGregor's Response to the COVID-19 Virus
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How Managers Can Use Character Strengths
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

group of nurses and doctors

Incorporating Character Strengths in the Workplace

Helping Employees Become More Engaged, Productive, and Happy

Employee retention is a major focus and challenge for the health care industry. There is high demand for qualified health care professionals as well as significant pressure on employers to ensure their workers are satisfied to reduce employee turnover.

The O.C. Tanner Learning Group conducted a 10-year study of more than 200,000 managers and employees to inform their white paper Performance: Accelerated. One notable statistic in their study found that 79% of employees who quit their jobs noted a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. In many cases, employee recognition is more impactful than a cash bonus or other financial incentive. O.C. Tanner summarized their key finding as follows:

“The element that shows up time and time again in every great workplace is a manager’s ability to recognize employees’ talents and contributions in a purposeful manner.”

How can we, as employers, help our nursing professionals grow and thrive in their roles and improve employee retention at our senior living facilities? Many managers are utilizing character strengths in the workplace. We have a few tips for beginning to incorporate character strengths into the management of your health care or senior living facility.

Make sure you know your employees’ strengths.

This may seem obvious, but to use character strengths in your management, you must be aware of your employees’ strengths. According to the VIA Institute on Character, all of us possess the 24 strengths to some degree, which gives us a unique character strength profile. The Institute offers a free online survey as well as other tools and training materials to help your employees identify their strengths.

Focus on growing employee strengths.

Think about how you would respond in a conversation with your manager about your strengths and weaknesses. You would likely appreciate a discussion of your strengths—not just quick highlights of your specific accomplishments but the traits that make you a valuable employee—rather than focusing solely on your weaknesses. This can help you feel appreciated as a team member. Of course, you must encourage employees to improve on specific skills or areas that need focus, but emphasize their strengths and ways they can continue to grow in those areas as well.

Foster employee development.

All employees should have tangible goals and leadership development built around their unique character strength profile. For example, if a nurse possesses strengths in creativity and teamwork, enlist him or her to tap into those areas to lead efforts around innovating senior care during the ongoing pandemic. Give employees unique opportunities to shine and make a difference, which will help them to feel valued and appreciated.

We hope that you can utilize character strengths in your workplace to help build a satisfied and productive team. If we can provide any additional resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to the McGregor team.