Strengthscope Article: Where Can I Use Strengths Assessments?

Strengthscope Article: Where Can I Use Strengths Assessments?

The use of Strengths Assessments today in business:


The applications for strengths assessments seem to get broader all the time. Strengths assessments are being used to powerful effect across a range of HR/talent applications. Of course, the real power comes in the intervention delivered alongside the assessment, e.g. feedback interview, coaching conversation, team facilitation, etc. But the strength assessment process can provide a consistent framework to enable understanding and discussion to take place.

Onto those applications:

 

  • Personal/talent development - through workshops, coaching or other development interventions (e.g. development centres for selection into ‘talent pools’), strengths assessments are helping individuals to become more familiar with their strengths and their utility to drive up performance and levels of engagement with work.
  • Management/leadership development - ‘Why should anyone be led by you?’ The answer to this question, initially posed by Goffee and Jones in their paper and book of the same name, can often be found in gaining a clearer understanding of your strengths and how they relate to the way that others experience you, i.e. your ‘leadership brand’.
  • Team development - accurate strengths assessment tools can be very useful in facilitating self-disclosure and building trust within teams. In addition, strengths assessment can help teams to better understand individual and collective strengths and weaknesses and more importantly, what to do about using strengths more and making weaknesses less relevant.
  • Performance management/appraisal – so often the ‘whipping boy’ of HRM practice, we have seen the appraisal conversation elevated to a new level by the introduction of strengths to the process, often facilitated by an initial strengths assessment and feedback conversation. To get best value from this application though, line managers need to be fully on board and comfortable using the approach – always a challenge when time is tight and there’s work to be done!
  • Onboarding/induction – if you want to get new starters up and running asap, gaining a mutual understanding of where their strengths lie can be very helpful. This allows better quality decisions to be made about the division of work within a team and can give insights into the best (and worst) ways of managing individuals from Day 1 in a new role.
  • Career transition/outplacement – an increasingly widely used application of strengths assessments is in helping individuals establish their core strengths, where these could fit best in future roles and how they can communicate these strengths in job interviews as well as with new teams, without this feeling clumsy or uncomfortable. We have seen many thousands of people affected by restructure benefit from gaining a better understanding of their strengths.
  • Organisation development – in some organisations, a more systemic application of the strengths approach is desirable, perhaps to increase levels of engagement, or to create a most positive, open climate. When treated as genuine ‘change’ projects, with the incumbent planning, preparation, delivery, embedding and review phases, such applications of strengths assessment can have a powerful and lasting impact.
  • Selection – strengths assessments are being used increasingly in selection, both internal and external. To work well, this seems to require a good balance of assessment of individuals’ awareness of their strengths (whatever those strengths may be) and how these strengths have driven positive outcomes, as well as the apparent ‘fit’ of an individual’s strengths with the requirements of the role.
  • ‘Deselection’ – in recent times, we’ve also come across strengths assessments in the context of ‘deselection’ and redundancy programmes, i.e. where assessments are being used to inform redundancy decisions. The reaction to this approach has been mixed, perhaps because it doesn’t seem to sit well with the general philosophy of strengths and positive psychology. Possibly the more positive application of strengths in this area is to help those affected by redundancy to put their best foot forward in finding a new role by helping them to have a better understanding of their core strengths and talents, but of course this is a more developmental application of such tools.

As you can see, the practical application of strengths assessments is already broad and getting broader all the time. We hope and believe that we will continue to see better and best practice application as time goes on, and that users of strengths assessments will continue to share their learnings along the way.

To learn more about what Strengthscope? can do for you, your team or organisation, please call us on 61 7 3103 0177 or send us an email.


Author: Dr Paul Brewerton, Co-developer of Strengthscope

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