Research summary of using a strengths approach with employee engagement, customer satisfaction and business performance

Some research was recently conducted in the customer services department of a leading online photo service, looking at the relationships between using a strengths approach with employee engagement, customer satisfaction and business performance.

As one may expect, evidence was found that a strengths approach has a positive impact on employee engagement. Over time, this also proved to have an impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can be key drivers of business growth and customer loyalty.

The strengths approach was introduced to the organisation through a series of leadership development programmes. The modules were designed to improve people management skills, develop high performing teams, support personal development and also strengths building. The objectives would impact on employee engagement and customer loyalty through gaining a clear understanding of their strengths and how these fit in with the strengths approach. To ensure everyone had a clear understanding of their strengths, all delegates completed the Strengthscope360™ assessment, to gain both the delegates’ and nominee perspectives on the delegate’s strengths at work. The learnings from the programmes were then translated into key behavioural outcomes for each team, as a means to embed the strengths approach into the way they work. Both immediate and longitudinal evaluation data were collected to assess the impact of these programmes.

The research concluded that over a 12 month period, the strengths approach had an impact on productivity and engagement with clear observed behaviour changes within the organisation over time. These include increased self-awareness of strengths and overdone strengths, resulting in better teamwork and higher productivity – all of which will start to have both an immediate and long term affect on the organisation and provide clear evidence of the true impact a strengths approach can have. One of the participants in the study, made the following comment after attending one of the programmes“…everyone has their own strengths, strengths can be applied to different degrees to achieve the same outcome. I think it was very important for our team who attended, they have stopped trying to model themselves on other people and started to recognise just what they are good at and how to use that as effectively”

Are you thinking about doing something similar in your organisation? Remember, it is vitally important to ensure that at the onset of your strengths-based interventions you include opportunities to gather both qualitative and quantitative data throughout your process, so that you can measure the impact of your intervention. You could include elements such as training feedback sheets, focus groups, interviews, surveys and also take a look at some of the metrics that your organisation already collects. Strengths based interventions have an impact at both individual, team and organisational level, so keep this in mind when you are measuring your own programme effectiveness.

If you would like to find out more about ways of increasing engagement within your organisation, see our recent post on 5 Steps to Building a Highly Engaged, Productive Workforce.

Quote from the dissertation author, Jacinta Brennan

Having the chance to research in impact of strengths for my MSc Dissertation provided the platform for a critical analysis of the ‘strength of strengths’ over a period of time in a customer service organisation. I used an extensive range of research methods which provided the hard evidence that using strengths approach has a positive impact on employee engagement and customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Further evidence of observed behaviours resulted in higher productivity in the customer services department leading to better overall business performance.

By adopting a strengths approach, I believe that managers and leaders take on the responsibility of understanding themselves and others at a deeper level and by doing so can achieve extraordinary results personally, for their team and their organisations.


Brennan, J. Does adopting a strengths approach enhance employee engagement and in turn influence business performance? MSc dissertation, Birckbeck College, University of London, 2013