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Strengths-Based Cultures Attract Top Talent

Strengths-Based Cultures Attract Top Talent

by Brandon Rigoni and Jim Asplund

Story Highlights

  • Few companies capture the power of an exceptional employment brand
  • Companies need to highlight strengths-based development practices
  • Strengths can be a differentiator in the job market

This is the sixth article in a seven-part series.

Most organizations spend years -- and often tens of millions of dollars -- trying to build brands that win customers and deepen brand loyalty. But few companies fully capture the power of a sterling employment brand -- one that attracts the best employees.

An employment brand that conveys an organization's strengths-based culture goes a long way in attracting top talent. A strengths-based brand draws job seekers who are motivated to use and develop their innate abilities -- people who are dedicated to performance and thrive in a highly driven work environment.

Connecting strengths to a company's brand and employee value proposition (EVP) not only attracts world-class candidates, but also intensifies the myriad performance outcomes of a strengths-based work environment. Gallup recently completed global research on companies that implemented strengths-based management practices. We found that 90% of the groups studied had performance increases at or above the following ranges:

  • 10% to 19% increase in sales
  • 14% to 29% increase in profit
  • 3% to 7% higher customer engagement
  • 6% to 16% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 26% to 72% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
  • 22% to 59% fewer safety incidents

Even at the low end, these are impressive gains. To help organizations achieve these outcomes, Gallup uncovered the characteristics common among companies that accomplished the most with their strengths interventions. These companies often work toward creating a strengths-based culture using seven strategies -- one of which is tying an organization's strengths-based culture to its brand.

Building a Strengths-Based EVP

A company's employment brand and EVP should clearly convey why the company is superior to other workplaces by providing compelling arguments for job seekers to choose the company over others.

An EVP that highlights a company's culture of strengths distinguishes an organization's employment messaging and strategically attracts better people. It allows job candidates to go beyond, "This is a great place to work," to, "This organization fits me perfectly. I would thrive here."

Here are best practices that can help leaders infuse strengths into their employment brand and EVP:

Highlight strengths-based development practices. Talented people -- especially millennials -- want to work for a company that recognizes their abilities and proactively invests in their development. In a study of 6,600 employees in both U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based organizations, Gallup found that people who joined an organization because "it presented a good opportunity to fully leverage my skills" or "it matched who I am and what I believe in" were far more likely to be highly qualified for the role. In contrast, people who joined for benefits, work hours, or personal and family needs were much less likely to be highly qualified.

In brand messaging, companies should emphasize how they develop employees based on strengths -- letting outsiders know that managers focus on what employees do best, help each individual grow and use strengths in performance development conversations.

Showcase the culture of strengths. Just because candidates have the talent to be top performers doesn't necessarily mean they fit well with a company's organizational culture. In EVPs and brand messaging, companies need to depict the breadth and depth of their strengths-based cultures -- communicating how leaders and managers infuse strengths in everything from team assembly to task assignments.

Leverage strengths as a differentiator. When leaders compare their strengths-based brand with competitors' brands, they differentiate themselves and win the attention of desirable candidates. Leveraging strengths as a competitive differentiator also helps companies stand out in customers' eyes and grow their businesses.

Of course, no strategy will uncover flawless job seekers. But when leaders strategically showcase their strengths-based workplaces, they can fill their workforces with the best of the best -- and, importantly, people who are most likely to fit in a culture of strengths.

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