Work happiness & well-beingScience

Investing in talents, does it pay off?

Scientific research into a strengths-based approach

We regularly support people in teams and organisations to discover and deploy their strengths. Our experience is that this is very beneficial. Inviting people to think about energizers in their work and what they are good at proves to be a source of enthusiasm. And it improves mutual relationships. But how does it work exactly? That's what we wanted to investigate. 


That's why we started a scientific study together with Prof. Marianne van Woerkom and Dr. Christina Meyers of Tilburg University: What exactly is the effect if people participate in workshops in which they are invited to discover and use their talents?  



We were able to work for an association of five primary schools. We provided workshops for their teachers. First, a start-up meeting where they reflected on their own strengths and designed experiments to deploy these in their job. In a second meeting, six weeks later, participants reflected on what was successful and where they had managed to use their talents more effectively. 

Before and after the workshops, participants filled out an online questionnaire. Analysing the results taught us that the strength workshops had resulted in participants being more positive about their own functioning than before the meetings. 


The strongest effect turned out to occur with those participants who indicated in advance that they did not have a clear picture of their own strengths or how to use them. After the workshop, these people scored significantly higher on self-confidence and initiative for their own personal development compared to participants from the control group. Teachers who initially scored low on optimism, hope, resilience and self-confidence also benefited particularly from the workshops. Afterwards, they turned out to be far more inclined to invest in their personal and professional development.



This study led to several scientific publications, and to follow-up research. But it also had an effect on us. The insights of the research made us even more convinced of the relevance of working with a strengths-based approach. Moreover, new insights about what exactly works, when and for whom, helped us to develop even more effective workshops and instruments. In this way, we continue to make connections between science and our working practice. Something that fuels our enthusiasm.

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