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Why use personality tests in the workplace? Here are 5 reasons they are worth the investment.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Making the business case for using personality assessments can be an uphill struggle. Whether you are using them for the selection of new recruits or the development of existing staff, Business Psychologist Sarah Clapperton discusses 5 ways to persuade your stakeholders they are worth the investment.

1. Get beneath the surface

A good personality ‘test’ tells you more information about an individual than you can ever get in an interview alone; an expert-led discussion with them about the results will give you an invaluable insight into a person’s strengths, preferences, values, drives and areas for development. This rich data is particularly valuable for differentiating between candidates that may have very similar background or experience.

2. Reduce the risks and costs of wrong decisions

Armed with this rich information, you can make informed decisions about whether a candidate will perform well against the critical job criteria, whether your employee is ready for the next level of management or how to best spend your training budget to meet the specific needs of a team or department.

3. Show me the money

A powerful business case will demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) based on identifying the costs associated with poor selection or promotion decisions. Questions to consider include:

  • How much does the recruitment / selection process cost?
  • How much does it cost to train someone in the new role?
  • How much does it cost the business while they are getting up to speed?
  • How much does it cost in re-training or performance management if a staff member is under-performing?
  • What impact does it have on others in the business (e.g. colleagues “carrying” their work or becoming demotivated themselves; managers demotivating their team; a leader setting the wrong direction for the whole business) if someone is under-performing?

Based on the answers to these questions I’ll bet the cost of the questionnaire is a drop in the ocean in comparison. Click here for a useful ROI calculator to get you started.

4. Provide the evidence (and show me the money again)

If you want to add even more weight to your business case, a validation study will link the results of the personality questionnaire to key performance indicators in the role. Take the example of a sales team; if you can identify which elements of personality will drive sales performance then you can show the associated increase in income to the business if everyone was recruited against this profile. Now, that’s powerful. To see an example of how this has been done click here.

5. Show your staff you value them

Using personality questionnaires and feedback for new and existing staff members shows that as a business you are willing to invest in them and their professional development. My experience is that using personality assessments as part of a development process can create a culture of self-awareness and self-development that didn’t previously exist. It’s harder to put a figure against the value of this, but a recent client told me that in using such an approach he had noticed that, “individuals in the team are taking much more ownership for their development rather than expecting us as managers to provide all the answers”. A more proactive and engaged workforce can only be good for your business.