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Is Your Talent Wasted At Work?

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Despite an ever-increasing skills gap leading American companies to report they can't find skilled employees, a majority of Americans say they aren't using their talents at work. In fact, 57 percent of people recently surveyed said they use their strengths for just six hours or fewer a day. 

A change in that dynamic could not only help solve the jobs problem, but could help improve workers' work-life balance, researchers say. The research, conducted by Gallup, defines strengths as an activity which people can perform consistently at a high level. Women said they used their strengths more than men throughout the day (7.1 hours a day). Men, on the other hand, used their strengths for just 6.6 hours a day. Just 24 percent of people overall said that they used their strengths for more than 10 hours a day.

"The majority of Americans do not maximize their strengths on a daily basis, suggesting a possible avenue for improvement in important life and work outcomes," the Gallup poll said. "This opportunity is even greater among those in the least-educated and lowest-income households. It is possible that these individuals will be better positioned for success upon learning, understanding and using their strengths, relative to where they currently stand."

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Income also played a role in the amount of time that people that people used their strengths.  Individuals with an annual income of $24,000 reported using their strengths for 5.8 hours a day while higher-earning individuals averaged 6.7 to 7 hours a day. 

"It is also possible that those with higher incomes and education have achieved these outcomes in part because they better leveraged their strengths over time," the Gallup poll said. "Considering the value — in terms of well-being and productivity — that using one's strengths creates, if more Americans learn about their own strengths and put them to use, it could create a positive economic impact in the U.S. for businesses, communities and individuals."

That impact is seen in workers who exhibited higher self-confidence, hope, altruism and overall well-being. Additionally, the research found that workers were also more likely to be engaged in their work, perform at a higher level and less likely to leave an organization when they were using their strengths at work. That provides companies with a big opportunity to keep their employees happy by setting them up to use their strengths at work.

"Business units whose employees receive feedback on their strengths are, on average, higher-performing. And managers who receive feedback on their strengths have employees who are https://www.businessnewsdaily.com," the Gallup poll said.

The research was based on the responses of 5,049 adults in a telephone interviews.

Follow David Mielach on Twitter @D_M89 or BusinessNewsDaily @bndarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+

Dave Mielach

Dave started writing for Business News Daily as a freelancer, and worked as a staff writer from 2011 to 2013. He graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communication and a business minor. Prior to writing for Business News Daily, he interned at The Poughkeepsie Journal and two Marist College publications.