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How Can a Strengths-Based Culture Help Your Business?

January 2, 2019

By: Laura Gariepy

You’ve likely heard the newest workplace buzz around strengths-based cultures. But what exactly is that? What it's not is how physically fit your employees are, but an atmosphere that relies less on the hierarchy of function and more on teams that are flexible and goal driven. These teams can continually change, adapt, form or reform based on a specific assignment or project. It’s a way to tap into the strengths of the individual for maximum impact and productivity to the group as a whole.

A strengths-based culture capitalizes on strengths rather than focusing solely on improving weaknesses. This doesn’t mean people can skip the parts of the job they don’t like or that they should give up trying to become competent with tasks they aren’t great at. It simply means you can exercise more flexibility in how you assign tasks, projects and levels of authority for those tasks or projects. It’s thinking outside the job description!

When functioning optimally, a strengths-based culture boasts an environment in which employees contribute by working primarily in roles that play to their talents. For example, if your top sales rep is terrible with details, don’t make them responsible for servicing the account post sale. But…don’t let them off the hook for turning in incorrect information to the customer support team! You want each member of the team to function as the go-to resource for whatever they excel at, and collectively, all aspects of the business are covered expertly.  This type of culture also places a high value on professional development so that the powerhouse of talent continues to strengthen as skills are further honed.  Your company, in turn, experiences growth and increased competitive advantage.

As if that doesn’t sound amazing enough, here are four more benefits of a strengths-based culture:

  1. Effective Recruitment
  2. Better Performance
  3. Higher Engagement
  4. Lower Turnover

Let’s look at each in turn.

Effective Recruitment

When an organization exhibits a strengths-based culture, they are sure to appeal to workers looking for an opportunity to showcase their talents and continually refine their skills. Your company will get to select workers from a pool of motivated candidates who are eager to perform at a high level and join a team committed to doing the same.  Additionally, hiring processes can be tailored to entice and identify candidates with specific strong suits, making them more efficient.  Finally, current employees, who are satisfied with and good at their jobs, will be likely to refer high quality candidates that can help the company, resulting in lower recruitment costs.

Better Performance

Individually, employees that leverage their strengths will carry out their responsibilities more effectively, exceed goals and strive for continuous improvement.  Collectively,their efforts will bring about increased competitive advantage and, ultimately,profitability.  Moreover, customers will enjoy doing business with your strengths-based organization because they will receive service from employees that are uniquely suited to help them.  Customers receiving superior care will remain loyal and may even refer new business. The bottom line is that companies fostering a strengths-based culture will find that each part, as well as the collective whole of the business,performs better as a result.

Higher Engagement

It’s no secret—people enjoy doing what they’re good at.  When they can work in their areas of strength, they’re happier, experience less frustration and enjoy praise for a job well done.  They experience a high level of engagement with their work and with the organization.  Moreover, when employees can exercise their talents, they become energized and give off positive vibes.  That elevates the overall mood of the office,making it a place where employees want to be every day.  They will do their best to keep everything operating at that level—or better—so that the good times continue.

Lower Turnover

Turnover rate is an excellent barometer of an organization’s health.  When employees are happy and feel that they are contributing at a high level, they are less likely to leave an organization.  As mentioned, a strengths-based culture promotes both contentment and high performance.  Therefore, organizations employing this type of culture enjoy a lower turnover rate that results in more satisfied customers, lower recruiting costs, a stronger human capital pool and a more positive workplace environment. 

Tapping into Strengths

So how can your company discover the strengths of candidates or employees?  While interviewing certainly is a critical component of the employment process, it often fails to capture the nuances of the interviewee’s personality and psyche.  In order to get a more holistic picture, consider using a behavioral assessment in your hiring and talent management process.

Behavioral assessments provide an organization with deep insight into a candidate’s potential by way of uncovering their natural behaviors, strengths and motivators. Obtaining this information before hire will help fill roles with the right people without wasting time on those who prove to not be a fit down the line.  This saves you both time and money; poor hires are a costly misstep. 

Using these assessments with your existing workforce ensures that in-house strengths are appropriately leveraged.  The assessment data will also guide employee development and succession planning. Overall, behavioral assessments have the power to help build and fortify a high performing and engaged workforce, which is the crux of a strengths-based culture.

Putting it Together

It’s easy to see why cultivating a strengths-based culture should be top of mind for any organization. At the end of the day, companies are comprised of people.  When they can spend their time playing to their strengths, they will be happy, they will produce, they will stay, and, most importantly, they will tout the culture to whoever will listen, attracting more people like them to your company.

Laura Gariepy

Laura Gariepy, MBA, SHRM-SCP A freelance writer with 10 years' experience in Human Resources, Laura enjoys writing about careers, business and personal finance. To learn more, visit: or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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