loader image

How to leverage workplace personality tests

by | Apr 22, 2019 | Articles

There’s something about a magic trick: the curiosity surrounding the method, the build-up of anticipation throughout the performance, and then the thrill of “Now how did they do that?” Workplace personality tests can sometimes feel no different.

Like magic tricks, personality tests are fun but don’t seem to serve much purpose outside that instant gratification at the reveal. The truth is: some workplace assessments provide much more than just an ah-ha moment.

When used to assess employees, workplace personality tests generate behavioural data points. These provide valuable insights that empower self-awareness, enable us to understand each other better, and help managers build high-performing teams.

Ultimately, leveraging this data will be the differentiator that gives your company a competitive advantage.

Self-awareness is a byproduct of workplace personality tests.

When it comes to working, you probably have a good pulse on your capabilities, from your ability to perform tasks to the speed at which you learn. When it comes to your personality, you may lack full awareness.

Workplace personality tests can bring to light aspects of your personality you may ignore. As the MIT Sloan Management Review reported, “People often differ more from themselves than they do from one another.” We can find ways to be everything to everyone if the occasion calls for it, but we don’t always take the time to step back and examine ourselves.

Workplace assessments provide data on employees’ behavioural drives. Companies can administer these behavioural assessments to employees and allow everyone the opportunity to read their results and self-reflect.

As a business leader and people manager, self-awareness is critical to your success, so this is an eye-opening exercise for execs, managers, and individual contributors alike.

For example, there are plenty of times when you need to be extraverted at work, whether you’re looking to connect with a client or persuade others to gain buy-in. But if you feel exhausted by the end of the day, there may be a reason for that.

In reviewing your behavioural data, you might discover you’re not naturally driven to be extraverted. While people with a low amount of the extraversion drive can interact well in social situations—and may even enjoy them—they don’t get energized in the way an extravert would.

And that’s okay. When we examine our personalities in the workplace, we learn about our strengths so we can put our best selves forward. Not only does that make us happier as individuals, but it can also make it easier to navigate our relationships with others in the workplace.

Workplace personality tests help us better understand each other.

Once you’ve learned more about yourself, you can start to focus on learning more about others. The workplace can be a minefield for communication breakdown and misunderstanding. But what if you could avoid potential conflict by referencing a quick snapshot of someone’s workplace personality?

When working with our clients using The Predictive Index, it’s standard practice to display their behavioural Reference Profiles at their desks so that others know what to expect from them when they show up at work. We can quickly look at someone’s desk placard and know, “This person values precision and detail, so I’d better come prepared for any follow-up questions.” Likewise, if we’re self-aware enough to know we’re not naturally detail-oriented, we may take some extra time to prepare for the meeting, knowing that the other person values that.

In understanding ourselves and others through data collected via workplace personality tests, we’re better able to co-exist at work. That personality data can also help us turn co-existence into something greater: high-performing teams.

How to build high-performing teams using workplace personality test data.

High-performing teams aren’t just made up of employees with the right set of complementary hard skills. They’re also made up of diverse and complementary behavioural skills. As Carol Fulp, president and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., noted in The Boston Globe, according to a McKinsey & Company study, “[D]iverse organisations significantly outperform their industry peers.”

Business leaders who review data gathered from workplace personality tests can better assemble teams based on the unique behavioural traits required to execute strategic goals.

For example, when a major cross-departmental project needs to be rolled out, staffing the right team is critical. The team will need visionaries who are undaunted by failure, but also executors who have a healthy fear of risk and can keep the team on track.

Without data from workplace personality tests, it can be difficult to make sure a project team comprises those complementary behavioural traits.

Workplace personality tests can help you optimise your talent.

In talent optimised organisations, workplace personality tests provide the right data to align people strategies with business strategies. And a good people strategy has the right employees in the right roles.

When organizations build high-performing teams, they create opportunities for employees to bring their best selves to work. In leveraging their strengths, employees can also find ways to pursue assignments that better utilize their skills and align with their interests.

When they continue to perform well in those assignments, there may even be opportunities for them to move into roles that fully utilize those skillsets on a full-time basis, further empowering them.

And when this happens, engagement skyrockets. Not only do employees feel more connected to the work that they’re doing, they also feel more impactful.

People are more than test results, but leveraging workplace personality data is a start.

At the end of the day, we’re more than just plots on a graph or words on a page. What we discover about ourselves may surprise or embolden us. What we learn about others may make us more empathetic and appreciative. We may even open career doors we didn’t know were there in the first place.

And we can be confident that no, it’s not just a magic trick. It’s science.