VIA Blog - Stories to inspire and resources to motivate.

VIA Character Strengths at Work

July 19, 2015 by ·

The VIA Institute on Character joined up with workplace well-being expert and best-selling author, Michelle McQuaid, to check on the progress American workers are making in identifying and leveraging their strengths at work. 1,000 employees across the country, ranging in age from 18 to 55, were randomly surveyed to see if attitudes towards developing workplace strengths have changed significantly since Gallup Poll surveyed the same topic over decade ago.

Below are the results of the survey.


  • 64% of respondents recognize that building on their strengths will make them more successful at work – with 36% believing that fixing their weaknesses will. This pair of percentages represents a complete reversal of perception when compared with 2006 survey findings – where 63% believed fixing weaknesses was the key to success and only 37% thought focusing on strengths was.
  • Overall, 49% of respondents reported they have the opportunity to do what they do best each day. This is up significantly from
    only 20% who reported the ability to do so in the Gallup Poll of 2001.

Other Key Findings:

Knowing your Top 5 Strengths at work matters:

  • 56% of employees could readily name their top 5 strengths as opposed to 33% who said they could in 2001.
  • 61% of those who could name their top 5 strengths reported feeling more engaged and energized at work.
  • 50% of those who could name their top 5 strengths described themselves as flourishing at work.

Employees who identify and use their strengths at work report more job satisfaction.

  • 78% report having the opportunity to do what they do best each day.
  • 70% report being engaged and feeling they can make things happen.
  • 55% of those who use their strengths at work believe they will be successful and move upward.

Employees who can discuss their strengths with their managers perform better

  • 78% of respondents who discuss strengths with managers feel more engaged at work.
  • 61% of respondents who discuss strengths with mangers report enjoying waking up to come to work.

Millennials vs More Seasoned Workforce

  • Millenials feel disengaged in their work (64%) as opposed to 47% of their older counterparts to the point where 40% want to put the pillow over their head and hit the snooze button and nearly 10% dread going at all. 10% downright hate their job and career (as opposed to older workers (35%, 11, 10%).
  • Only 36% describe themselves as “flourishing at work”
  • 66% feel “kept down” by their coworkers or boss (opposed to 53% of more seasoned workers) and only 24% feel they have the opportunity to do what they do best each day (opposed to 47% of older workers)
  • 60 percent of our younger workforce believes though that if they had a better handle on their strengths they would be more
    successful at work – perhaps the new linchpin in this strengths revolution?

Men vs Women

  • Women seem to be further along than men in the strength revolution.
  • 70% of women believe building on their strengths is their key to success (opposed to less than 60% of men)
  • A higher percentage of women over men claim to know their strengths (94% / 90%), and apply those strengths at work each day (52% / 46%)
  • And yet fewer women than men are excited to go to work each morning (48% / 53%) with close to 40% hitting the snooze button or dreading it compared to men’s 30%.

Strengths @ Work Survey Overall Findings:

  • 64% think building on their strengths will help them be more successful at work.
  • 36% think success correlates with fixing their weaknesses.
  • 92% of those polled say they know their strengths.
  • 49% say they have the opportunity to do what they do best each day while 51% are kept down by either their coworkers or boss and feel they could be doing more.
  • Over 60% say their boss knows their strengths and is involved in their career progress while ¼ of those surveyed report not
    receiving support from their supervisor.
  • Nearly 18% say their boss doesn’t even acknowledge them most days.
  • Nearly 60% say their bosses have acknowledged their strengths while 27% report getting little or no recognition in the area
    of strength acknowledgement.
  • 82% say they know their co-workers and boss’ strengths and work with them according to their strengths.
  • 55% feel engaged in their work while 43% feel less so with nearly 20 % counting the minutes until the clock strikes 5 pm and
    feeling like quitting all together.
  • 36% say with a better handle on their strengths, they would be more successful at work while 53% say nothing would change if they had a better handle on their strengths.
  • Only 10% equate having a better handle on their strengths with garnering more respect from their boss and coworkers.
  • 49% say their corporate culture is one to promote the status quo and not rock the boat with 17% saying their organization
    is quick to point out they are just lucky to have a job.
  • 51% say their organization is committed to building the strengths of its employees.
  • When asked if they are leaping out of bed each morning to go to work, 50% said yes. The other 50% said no, with 25% of those respondents hitting the snooze button and putting a pillow over their head.
  • More than 15% just preferring to stay home with 9% actually “dreading” going to work.
  • 45% describe themselves as flourishing at work while 55% report being disengaged with 8% downright hating their job and
Share this postShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone