Microsoft key strengths push boosts efficiency

Microsoft has re-organised its HR department through the introduction of a
strength-profiling system designed to get employees working on the tasks they do
best.

The software firm introduced the system instead of a staff attitudes survey
to build up a detailed picture of employees’ skills and examine barriers
preventing them from fulfilling their potential.

Director of people, profit and loyalty, Steve Harvey, told Personnel Today
that as a result of the process Microsoft discovered that only 20 per cent of
staff believe they are doing what they were best at every day, while in the HR
department the figure was only 8 per cent.

In response, Harvey analysed the profiles from the HR team and implemented
simple changes such as bringing in newer PCs and altering staff duties to help
drive up the proportion of HR staff who feel they are playing to their
strengths.

He said 48 per cent of the HR team now believe they are using their key
strengths and that morale had improved massively.

Harvey is hoping to repeat the success achieved in the HR department through
the rest of the company by identifying the barriers to staff using their key
strengths and re-deploying them where necessary.

Staff initially meet with an HR strength-finder, then undergo a 45-minute
assessment based on emotive questions to identify their top five skills from a
potential list of 35.

"We have learned so much about the company since we started the project
in April last year. It’s about creating a common language around people to find
out where their key strengths and talents lie," said Harvey. "It
gives staff a framework to describe how they feel about their job."

By Ross Wigham

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