According to research, only 2 out of every 10 people “play to their strengths” at work and in their personal lives. In other words, only 20% of us take advantage of our core personal attributes to enhance our work, play and attitude. “Everyone has core strengths,” says Nicole Richard, PHR, TLP’s Human Resource Manager. “To be as productive and happy as possible, you need to identify your strengths and tap into them because that’s what you’ll be most successful at and the happiest doing.” That’s the philosophy behind TLP’s 2 of 10 Employee Development Program. Nicole and Joe Phelan, TLP’s Continuous Improvement Administrator, head-up the program. “Our 2 of 10 program is a means of tapping into employees’ strengths so that TLP can be as efficient as possible in using those skills and our employees can identify and take advantage of opportunities to maximize those abilities,” Joe explains. As a result, our team members are able to get the most satisfaction possible from the work they do on behalf of our customers. “The program impacts how we operate as a business, how we manufacture products and how we provide customer service. The entire process has a positive bottom-line impact for our customers,” he adds.
Broadening the Impact throughout Our Organization
The program was introduced to TLP by Jeff Kerlin, President & COO. Initially, it encompassed a select group of managers. The results were so inspiring that a formal curriculum was created and expanded to include everyone at TLP. The course is composed of four, one-hour sessions. The first step in the process is filling out Strengths Finder® questionnaires to identify each team member’s top five strengths. Then everyone in the group learns what their specific strengths really mean. “Virtually 100% of the time, individuals agree with the findings,” says Nicole. The next step is to explore how team members are using their strengths at TLP and in their personal lives. “We want our team members to feel that they are achieving to the highest level of their abilities so that they are happier on the job,” Joe says. “We want them to have opportunities to know what it means to be really good at something. At the same time, TLP and our customers gain an advantage because we are utilizing people to their fullest potential.” Follow-up sessions are held between team members and their supervisors to make sure each individual is getting opportunities to use their strengths. If team members want to enhance an identified strength, TLP will help them through additional education, involvement in challenging projects or learning new skills at TLP. “One of our designers wanted to learn how to operate a press, for example, so he would be able to better understand things from the entire production process from artistic to manufacturing and assembly. We gave him that opportunity,” says Joe. The program also encourages employees to share their strengths in new ways. “We chart the strengths of all of our employees. So when we’re putting together a team that may need a good organizer or a creative person or a good communicator, we use that information to select individuals who will be a good fit for those challenges,” says Joe.
Scoring a Big Hit with Happier, More Productive Employees
Feedback from employees has been extraordinarily positive, according to Nicole and Joe. “Our team members really appreciate the chance to build relationships with other employees whom they otherwise would not have an opportunity to interact with,” says Nicole. “They value the chance to learn about the duties and skills of other team members.” Joe adds, “Those who have gone through the program are more engaged and happy. They take more pride in their work. And they know a lot more about one another and about one another’s jobs, responsibilities and challenges. That strengthens our team environment, which strengthens our entire company and, ultimately, provides major benefits for our customers.”