How AgileAssets Builds a Strengths-Based Culture
Throughout our 25-year history, we at AgileAssets have taken pride in our ability to hire highly qualified employees and develop them into industry leaders. We nurture that talent by building an environment where people are encouraged to make the most of their skills and personality strengths. In fact, one of our company’s nine core values is called “Leverage Our Collective Genius” because it focuses on maximizing each employee’s unique talents.
In this post, I’ll discuss three ways in which we leverage our company’s collective genius—and how you, too, can use these strategies to help your employees reach their potential and deliver their best work.
1. Start with Strengths
At AgileAssets, we foster a strengths-based culture. We believe the secret to unlocking our full potential is leveraging our unique, individual strengths and matching our skills to the evolving challenges of our work. When you understand your own strengths and your team members’ unique differences, you can leverage the special talents in the team to the fullest.
In the past year or so, all AgileAssets employees have taken the Gallup® CliftonStrengths assessment to discover their top strengths. Statistically, the likelihood of someone having their top five strengths in the same order as someone else is 1 in 33.4 million! That means personalized results are nearly as unique to individuals as their DNA. This reinforces that every employee is different and brings a unique set of abilities and personality traits to the group. Learning how your fellow team members think and act can help build a more inclusive and successful work environment.
According to a 2016 article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the more time people spend applying their strengths each day, “the more likely they are to report having ample energy, feeling well-rested, being happy, smiling or laughing a lot, learning something interesting, and being treated with respect.” In fact, people who put their strengths to use on a daily basis are, according to the HRB article, “more than three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged at work.”
It stands to reason, then, that identifying, developing, and deploying employees’ strengths is a great way to promote employee satisfaction, work-life balance, and job performance. To establish a strengths-based culture at your workplace, start with a method to assess each employee’s unique combination of positive skills and traits.
2. Give (and Get) Continuous Feedback
Another key component of the “Collective Genius” value at AgileAssets is our emphasis on 2-way feedback for continuous improvement. We have done away with traditional annual performance reviews, which are generally considered to be stressful for both employees and managers. Instead, we use a software tool to give and receive continuous feedback from employee to manager, and vice versa.
Using the web-based application, employees and managers communicate weekly about what’s working, what’s not working, and how the employee is feeling at work. The application does not replace face-to-face one-on-one meetings; rather it simply provides insight into specific issues each week so that employees and managers can use their one-on-one time more effectively because each participant can easily add agenda items and comments in advance.
It’s relatively easy to implement this process at your own organization. Look for a software tool that lets you ask customized questions to gather data on how employees are using their strengths and what they need to overcome their challenges at work. Be sure to take the emotional pulse of your employees by asking how they are feeling at work each week. Positive or negative emotions can be a good barometer of whether an employee is using his or her strengths in a productive way.
Through continuous, 2-way feedback between employees and managers, we have found that our employees are able to feel heard and valued in real-time. This helps employees feel more confident to contribute according to their strengths and to continually work to develop their potential.
3. Celebrate Diversity
We embrace the diversity that our employees bring to the company. AgileAssets employees come from more than 20 countries and speak more than a dozen different languages. We work hard to create a culture where every employee feels like they belong.
According to researcher and bestselling author Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, people with a sense of belonging exhibit a paradoxical mix of traits. On one hand, they have principles and boundaries; they will speak up and show you their authentic self, even when it’s uncomfortable. They also have compassion and are vulnerable; they don’t lash out or put up a wall in front of their emotions.
The diverse mix of employees at AgileAssets empowers us to advocate for inclusivity and belonging, so we can cultivate a workplace where every employee has a seat at the table.
To leverage the diversity in your workplace, consider implementing practices that promote collaborative problem-solving and shared decision-making. Invite employees to contribute ideas on how to do things better or differently. Make it safe for employees to be vulnerable, take risks, and learn from mistakes.
Culture and Core Values
Living out our core values is something we strive to do as a company on a daily basis. By applying our strengths, giving and receiving continuous feedback, and celebrating diversity across our company, we strengthen the value of leveraging our collective genius. This, in turn, helps us enjoy a sense of belonging in the workplace and deliver our best work for our customers.
About the Author
Stacy Nechayev, Senior HR Generalist at AgileAssets, has worked in HR since 2014. She is passionate about improving the employee experience by fostering an environment of belonging and inclusion.