Personality assessments are a popular tool used by many organisations and consultants. They have many uses and the data can often be applied in multiple ways. Take a look at some of the uses explained below to see if you’re really making the most out of your data.
Personality assessments are frequently used for individual development, and can provide a great starting point for individual awareness. One-to-one feedback and discussion around an individual’s personality report and how it applies to them and their role is a great place to begin a development journey. It also helps a person to look at themselves before they start to explore how they work within their team or organisation.
Personality report data can be used as a key tool in a specific development programme or coaching initiative to assist people to understand themselves better and to pinpoint particular areas to grow and develop.
Build better teams
The data gleaned from personality assessments also provides a valuable starting point for individuals to better understand their colleagues. Using a valid and reliable personality assessment can fast track the process of getting to know other team members, and can optimise working relationships. The reports present information in a non-threatening way, providing a common language for the team to use to understand their differences in a productive manner.
Using personality assessments with a team can help answer questions such as: what are the strengths that each person brings to the team? Where can each person best aid other team members? Does the team have any gaps? What kind of behaviours can members expect from each other? How could they alter their behaviours to best work with their colleagues?
Personality assessments can be used with all types of teams, whether to reinvigorate established teams, introduce new team members, build new teams, or support virtual teams or short-term project teams.
Using a personality assessment as part of the hiring process provides a powerful piece of the jigsaw for hiring managers and can enable interviewers to ask important questions around areas that they would not have otherwise known to discuss.
They can help interviewers and hiring managers hold honest discussions with candidates about their preferred ways of working, strengths and development needs, as well as fit with the organisation, department, or team. By having these conversations up front, it not only ensures that organisations truly hire the best person for the job, but also helps to smooth the on boarding process for the new hire.
It is important to keep in mind that personality assessments for recruitment should never be used in isolation, but as one of the tools called upon to build a picture of a particular candidate.
More and more organisations are getting clever with their personality data. Rather than relying on intuition or personal judgement, many organisations now conduct validity studies (where enough data is available or can be collected) to select the personality traits that are most important in a particular role.
A validity study provides empirical support for the accuracy and job relevance of the scales used in an assessment. This generally involves correlating assessment scale scores with some form of performance criteria (e.g. supervisor ratings, sales quota achievement). This can then be used to create a personality profile for hiring, promotion or succession planning with much more accuracy.
Understand organisational makeup
Some organisations adopt personality assessments and roll them out over large sections of their employees, which can build up to a mountain of untapped data. It can be interesting and useful to understand the overall makeup of an organisation in terms of personality, as well as to drill down into more refined data, such as analysing by department. (Note that it is always important when looking at data on this level to maintain confidentiality and anonymity of the individuals involved.)
In times of change this data can be very useful; for example, you might find that a particular trait is lacking in an underperforming area, and that trait could then be prioritised in the hiring process for that department.
Smooth culture transitions
You can also use aggregate data to align the cultural fit of potential hires with their prospective working environments. When combined with the insights personality assessments can offer for a candidate’s working preferences, data about your current workforce can initiate important conversations about fit in the hiring process.
Use your aggregate data to discuss the current culture of the department or organisation with your potential hires during the recruitment process, and carefully select people who can offer what you need while being able to fit into the current environment. The culture may have to shift anyway to accommodate these new people, but by comparing their fit with your current employees you can ensure that the transition is as comfortable as possible for everyone. After all, better fit can lead to greater job satisfaction, improved identification with the company, more loyalty, more commitment, and superior job performance (Kristof-Brown, 2005).
These are just some of the uses that personality data can lend itself to. If you’re looking for examples of personality assessments with diverse uses and reports, make sure to check out Dimensions, the Work Behaviour Inventory, and WorkSTYLE Profiler.
Kristof-Brown, A.L, Zimmerman, R. D. and Johnson, E. C (2005). Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person-job, person-organisations, person-group, and person-supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58, 281-342.