Strengths-based selection is about appointing the “right people into the right posts” or ‘round pegs in round holes’. It is based on identifying individuals’ natural strengths, motivations and values, as well as their clinical / technical competency which fundamentally assures whether someone can do the job, and makes the difference between an employee and a ‘great’ employee.

Julie Hogg, Chief Nurse, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust

Strengths Based Recruitment Training at UHL: Charting New Horizons

Julie Hogg

Chief Nurse, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust

Imagine if an organisation could unlock the full potential of every employee, maximising their strengths and talents to drive innovation, productivity, and growth; or if an organisation could consistently attract and retain talent that not only excels in their roles but also adds unique value through their innate strengths; or a place people love to come to work at, are really good at what they do and feel recognised, included, supported, and equipped.

NHS UHL University Hospitals of Leicester logo

This is the picture of the organisation I aspire to lead, and I recognise that at UHL, but we have more to do. We have therefore commissioned Strengths Based Careers Coaching and Recruitment training at UHL, a tried and tested recruitment methodology that enhances the selection process and gives confidence that people who are a good fit for the role (as well as having the clinical or technical competence) are appointed.

Strengths-based selection is about appointing the “right people into the right posts” or ‘round pegs in round holes’. It is based on identifying individuals’ natural strengths, motivations, and values as well as their clinical/technical competency, which fundamentally assures whether someone can do the job, and makes the difference between an employee and a ‘great’ employee.

The Strengths recruitment approach fits with the NHS Professional Leadership and Behaviours, and, at a time where recruitment and retention of staff is key to patient satisfaction, and provision of safe, high quality care, the need to recruit the ‘right people into the right post’ is paramount.

What is a strength?

A strength is something a person is good at, loves doing and is energised by. The Strengths recruitment approach is embedded in The Shelford Group and other Trusts including the Royal Marsden, Hampshire Hospitals and Sherwood Forest Hospitals, and it is becoming commonplace in other sectors due to its effectiveness.

At UHL, we have partnered with Sally Bibb and Debbie Whitaker; internationally recognised as leaders in strengths-based recruitment and trained an initial cohort of clinical and non-clinical UHL leaders in strength based recruitment and interviewing techniques. We are set to roll out additional training for colleagues and system partners; further information about training arrangements will be released over the next few weeks.

In July through the Strengths profiling methodology, we created a Labour Ward Coordinator (LWC) strengths and motivators profile using participants from nine NHS trusts across England. Findings from the study were presented to senior midwifery leaders at the Florence Nightingale Foundation in August and the consensus was Strengths Profile will be an important element in addressing the crisis in maternity care in the imminent future. The research also demonstrated that people who are in a job that fits their strengths are happier, more engaged, less stressed, more successful and perform better than those who are not.

The LWC Strengths Profile is due to be launched at the Leicester Tiger’s Rugby Club on 30 November and there are already plans in place to create a Midwifery Matron profile. If you are interested in SBR or finding out more, please email me: [email protected].

By signing up to our strengths-based recruitment framework, together we can champion a new era of talent acquisition – one that not only prioritises skills and experience but also places a profound emphasis on the inherent strengths that make each individual truly exceptional. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing more information about the work we are undertaking in respect of Strengths based recruitment, not only at UHL but regionally.

I like to end with a thought for reflection:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

Labour Ward Coordinators Strengths and Motivators graphic

Labour Ward Coordinator

Strengths and Motivators Profile

Here are the strengths and motivators the Labour Ward Coordinator exemplars share in common nine strengths which we’ve grouped into three types of strengths:

  • Relating
  • Achieving 
  • Integrity

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please email [email protected]

Take the next step towards a more rewarding career


At University Hospitals of Leicester, we are a forward thinking team with a philosophy of providing the best possible care to women, babies, and their families. This is achieved by providing effective training, education and working collaboratively as a midwifery and medical team.


At UHL nursing is varied and exciting with many of our specialities offering the latest technologies, techniques and medicines. We develop a highly skilled and motivated nursing workforce who care for our patients and each other with kindness and respect


The Nursing Associate role is still relatively new. Depending on the place of employment, skills and responsibilities will vary but they play a key role within the healthcare team. UHL host the Leicestershire School of Nursing Associates that have up to 150 trainee places per year.


At University Hospitals of Leicester, Healthcare Assistants make sure the patient experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. It can also be the stepping stone into many other NHS roles, particularly roles such as a Nursing Associate or Registered Nurse.