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Strengths and Engagement?

Strengths and Engagement?

16/01/2017 - Amanda Potter

Is there relationship between using your Strengths at work and how engaged you are?

It is likely that you will have different preferred strengths to your friends and team. Whilst you might have a preference for environments where you can be meticulous, your friend might prefer an environment where they can be a risk taker.

Why is it important to identify your strengths?

Individuals who have the opportunity to identify and use their strengths at work, tend to be higher performers and achievers and tend to be more engaged and positive at work. They may not necessarily have more strengths than others, however they identify opportunities to use their strengths at work in order to create positive performance. Empirical studies have reported a number of positive outcomes for individuals who use their strengths. For example individuals who use their strengths have higher levels of self-efficacy, self-esteem and report higher levels of subjective and psychological wellbeing (Govindji & Linley, 2007; Proctor, Maltby & Linley, 2009). Using strengths has also been found to be positively associated with vitality (Govindji & Linley, 2007) and lower stress levels (Wood, Linley, Maltby, Kashdan & Hurling, 2010). Taking the findings of this research into account, then identifying and using your strengths at work has a significant benefit for employees.

Are strengths linked to engagement?

Engagement has been extensively researched and has found to be linked to a large number of positive organisational outcomes (e.g. Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002). Engagement, which has soared in public interest in recent years, is characterised by vigor, absorption and dedication (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004). Thus the concept of vitality and energy has parallels with the notion of employee engagement. Research has found just that there is a positive relationship between proactively using your strengths at work and your level of engagement (Botha & Mostert, 2014). Using a tool to identify and understand employee strengths is therefore beneficial for both the individual and the organisation.

How can I incorporate strengths into my workplace?

•  Assessment – Using Strengths as part of the assessment process is considered important as it enables organisations to find out more about their potential hires and the type of environments where they would be most energised. It is however important to note, that even if an individual does not have a strength in a particular area, does not mean they are not capable of working in environments which utilise that strength.

•     Feedback – Traditionally, feedback is focused upon what an individual does poorly. For example ‘You didn’t do x’, ‘You need to increase Y’. Understandably, people can be reluctant to give such feedback as it can be quite negative and they may be wary of being seen as critical and discouraging. Instead, having a feedback process focused on strengths is considered the way forward, utilising positive psychology.

How can I identify my strengths?

BeTalent offers two tools to identify your strengths or the strengths of your team. The two tools are called Strengths Insight (a questionnaire) and Best Fit: Strengths (a card sort exercise). For more information on using these two tools, please contact the BeTalent team. For individuals interested in become accredited to use Strengths Insight or Best Fit, BeTalent offer training courses, either in-house or in webinar format. Please get in touch to discuss your needs. +44 (0)2086 450 222

Written by Dr Amanda Potter, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and CEO of BeTalent and Zircon Management Consulting


Botha, C., & Mostert, K. (2014). A structural model of job resources, organisational and individual strengths use and work engagement. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 40(1), doi:10.4102/sajip.v40i1.1135

Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-Unit Level Relationship between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology. 87,2, 268-279. Doi: 10.1037//0021-9010.87.2.268

Linley, P. A., Nielsen, K. M., Wood, A. M., Gillett, R., & Biswas-Diener, R., (2010). Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress, need satisfaction, and well-being, and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5 (1), 8-17.

Proctor, C., Maltby, J., & Linley, P. A. (2009) Strengths use as a predictor of well-being and health- related quality of life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 583-630.

Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2004). Job demands, job resources, and their relationship with burnout and engagement: a multi-sample study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(3), 293-315. doi:10.1002/job.248

Wood, A. M., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J., Kashdan, T. B., & Hurling, R. (2011). Using personal and psychological strengths leads to increases in well-being over time: A longitudinal study and the development of the Strengths Use Questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 15-19.


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