PRESIDENT AND CEO, BERKMAN STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
By Bryna Kranzler
Berkman Strategic Communications is a public relations, strategic communications, digital and branding firm. Jack Berkman has been working in these fields in San Diego since 1976.
It has to do with understanding employees and recognizing the strengths that these employees bring. I recognized initially how important this was but I didn’t take the right steps in ensuring that I completed the steps.
The future of companies is the engagement of employees and empowerment of employee strengths so that they feel fulfilled and contribute to an organization at their highest level of capabilities. When I had large staffs – 25 to 50 people – I should have made a much more concerted effort to evaluate employee strengths. I didn’t employ this with the thoroughness that I should have, but I also didn’t understand the effectiveness of strengths training, what these employees have as their core capabilities, what they truly like to do and what drives them. High performance teams are built one individual at a time.
Often you determine that an employee is skilled and talented in one area, but perhaps that’s not what they love doing or where their core strengths are. It’s all about finding their strengths and maximizing them and helping them direct those toward something they enjoy doing while also making a meaningful contribution.
There were situations with account representatives where we thought they were aligned with what they were hired to do and their job description, but we found that there were big discrepancies. That resulted in not establishing great relationships with the client, not having great success in working with the media, or not being effective with strategic planning and thinking. In some instances, they didn’t excel in the areas where we thought they were strong, but they excelled in other areas.
“High performance teams are built one individual at a time.”
This came to me because of a client I represent, a client that is certified in the Gallup training course in employee strengths. Teams work better together when they recognize strengths and capabilities in one another. It takes a deep dive into the individual to truly understand where his or her strengths are, and align them with the job and with other members of the team.
If you employ this assessment early on, you have a better understanding of what an employee’s capabilities are – not just practical capability, but psychological capability. Going through these assessments also helps employees feel that the employer truly cares about them and their contributions, and the satisfaction they receive at work. The employee’s success is significantly increased, and there is a greater synergism with their colleagues.
Now I push clients I represent to take these steps in understanding the core team within their own organization so they can perform more efficiently and productively. The end result is a more inspired team with a better esprit de corps, and better deliverables. I’ve seen this work with about a dozen of my clients, even with companies with under 20 employees. Lack of fulfillment may be a reason that an employee leaves a company. From a financial standpoint, when you commit yourself to understanding employees’ strengths, there’s lower turnover.
Berkman Strategic Communications is on Twitter at @BerkmanPR.