Why would strengths-based development increase employee engagement? Provide examples.

Learning Objective: This exercise incorporates many ideas in this unit with the main point
reinforcing the fact that each individual is different. Intelligence is a related concept in this
situation and identifying other personality traits when deciding the corporation’s course of
action.
Summary: When drought threatened the survival of a farming corporation (Auglaize
Provico), CEO Larry Hammond realised that he would have to change the business model.
Hammond then implemented strengths-based development to leverage the unique
strengths and talents of each employee. The strengths approach recognises that everyone
has different talents and natural patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviour. Recognising
and building on those talents with pertinent skills and knowledge creates strengths.
Auglaize’s management had previously used a “deficit” development approach, spending a
lot of time identifying employees’ weaknesses and trying to correct them. This meant that a
lot of Auglaize’s management was relatively negative. Hammond wanted to change that
approach. Every employee in the corporation took an assessment to measure and identify
his or her top five talents, and received at least two consultations on their individual
strengths. This enabled Auglaize to build on what its employees naturally do best.
Employees became more engaged, productive, and energised, and the organisation became
more successful.
Task: A Group of 4 students should answer the following questions:
1. Do you think it is better to focus on assessing and developing employees’ weaknesses, or
to focus on their strengths? Why?
2. Why would strengths-based development increase employee engagement? Provide
examples.
3. If you were a manager, how might you interact with employees differently if you were
using strengths-based development rather than deficit-based development?

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