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How to Create a Strengths-Based Culture

March 7, 2020

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

A strengths-based culture helps organizations attract top talent, bring out the best performance in every employee, and strengthens the organization’s ability to grow.  It can strongly differentiate one company from another.

In a strengths-based culture, both leadership and employees continually develop each person’s potential, resulting in an engaged workforce and business growth. Strength-based organizations have a forward-thinking mentality when it comes to managing employees.  They prioritize:

  • Purpose over Paycheck

  • Development over Satisfaction

  • Coaching over Bossing

  • Conversations over Reviews

  • Strengths over Weaknesses

  • Life over Job

A strength-based organization doesn’t try to fix employee weaknesses, instead they develop their strengths and provide effective coaching.

Gallup put together a list of five steps an organization can take to develop a strength-based culture:

  1. CEO Sponsorship – The organization’s leadership must be on board and view this as a business strategy. Leadership involvement will help to align strengths with the organization’s culture.

  2. Allow Every Employee the Opportunity to Discover Their Strengths – Assessments should be given to every employee – from top leadership down. Workers who know and use their strengths are:

    1. 6 times as likely to be engaged at work

    2. 7.8% more productive in their role

    3. 3 times as likely to have an excellent quality of life

  3. Build a Network of Strength Coaches and Champions – Put a team in place to be the advocates of this initiative and to encourage employees to develop and continually focus on their strengths.

  4. Integrate Strengths into Performance Management – Only 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve, and only two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.  Managers should be trained to be strengths-based coaches for their employees.  Performance reviews should focus on strengths, how they are being used, and how they can be improved.

  5. Transform Your Internal Programs – This step is crucial to avoid a “confused” or toxic culture. For example, if some managers are focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths during performance reviews, it results in employee confusion and mixed messages resulting in disengagement and distrust. Or when the new-hire onboarding process promotes a strengths-based culture, but then it’s never mentioned again, the employee will feel misled.  Be sure all managers and programs throughout the company are aligned.

A strength-based culture will set you apart from your competitors in employee performance, organizational culture, and business growth.

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