Play to Strengths throughout the Employment Lifecycle and Reap the Engagement Benefits
“Think about a time when you were performing at your best, feeling totally energised and absorbed in your work. “
Our recent attendance at a CIPD seminar on ‘Strengths Psychology’ prompted this discussion and encouraged us to consider the value of refocussing from abilities and performance to what strengthens and energises employees.
Brewerton and Brook (2006) define strengths as “underlying qualities that energise us, contribute to our personal growth and lead to peak performance”. They are ways of thinking, feeling and expressing emotions that lead to exceptional performance and energise or strengthen you.
Research has indicated that less than 12% of people are utilising such qualities most of the time throughout their employment lifecycle. However, statistics also show that for those who embrace the concept, the rewards can be plenty with reported increases in employee engagement of up to six times.
One success story is Aviva who report that recruiting via strengths has led to reduced interview to appointment ratios, induction time and turnover as well as increased productivity and the removal of a number of competency frameworks.
Concentrating on what strengthens people have does not mean denying that people do have weaknesses. However, this school of thought is such that return on personal development from mastering strengths is far higher than addressing weaknesses and therefore focus should be restricted to those weaknesses considered to be business critical.
A final word of caution is that whilst exercising strengths is all well and good, using them in overdrive can generate a point of weakness, particularly in a team environment. Nevertheless, get the calibration right and resilience, confidence, engagement and overall success of your workforce could reach new levels.
To learn more about applying strengths psychology in your workplace, contact Agile HR Consulting.