I recently tweeted about psychometric assessments (if you don’t already follow me on Twitter I’m sure you can’t wait to now!) and was flooded with responses about what tools different business prefer and what they use the tests for. Evidently, some people are very passionate about why their test of choice is considerably better than another. I’ve used a number of different assessments over the years so thought I would share some of my insights on what to consider when looking to use psychometric assessments or feedback reporting with your team.
Like in all areas of business it is important to be clear on your why. Why you are looking to introduce an assessment tool into your team or recruitment process? Is it for self-awareness generally, or awareness of our behavioural preferences, personality, cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, or other’s perceptions of us and our performance in our job? Depending on your answer it will impact on the kind of assessment you utilise.
It is crucial to ask yourself if the introduction and follow-up of this assessment as a learning and development activity, or as a part of the recruitment process, align to your overall business goals. If your reason for the introduction is not aligned, there may be confusion by your team or candidates. They won’t have an opportunity to utilise the skills or information they learn from the assessment into their role because it is at odds with what is expected of them.
Some tools are very useful to find out more about ourselves, highlighting our strengths and development areas or giving us the words to articulate how and why we do and think the things we do (e.g., emotional intelligence measure or 360-degree feedback). Other tools are more interesting to look at as an individual and also as part of a team. By encouraging your team to be open about their own results, and sharing them with their team, these tools can create a common language where we seek to better understand ourselves and others in a variety of situations in the workplace (e.g. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or DISC Behavioural Assessment).
The various tests require differing investment of time from your team members (or prospective candidates) and they also differ in complexity or how challenging they are to complete, and to receive the feedback/results for.
Mid level - Other tests might take a bit more brain power to complete and then compare the results to a societal or test norm (which means people are put into categories or percentiles based on their answers). Finding out you don’t sit in the top 5% can be a hard pill to swallow for some.
Advanced- Lastly is the trickiest category that are quite difficult to complete and also hard to digest which are things like Life Styles Inventory or 360-degree feedback reports that ask those close to us (manager, peers and direct reports) to reflect on our behaviour and performance.
Not all assessments are appropriate for everyone and, again, it is important to have strong rationale as to why you are asking your team to complete them so that it is a safe space without threat of negative repercussion. 360-degree feedback in particular requires a high level of maturity and trust from all respondents involved.
An assessment as a standalone activity is about as useful as telling someone you like their outfit on a singular occasion. It might give them a little pep in their step for the day, but there is unlikely to be a lasting impression. To be successful at creating real awareness and behavioural change assessments should be coupled with detailed interpretation and ongoing coaching or exposure.
If utilising a team style tool, for example, you could reinvigorate the learning and awareness of the assessment by introducing each new team member to the assessment and encouraging them to discuss their results with their new team (again if the individual and team are mature enough). This can help to speed up the onboarding of a new team member relating to their preferences, motivators etc and demonstrate your investment into your team straight off the bat!
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