By Erica Osmundson, AgCareers.com
I’m a Blue, a Yellow Hat, an ISFJ. I rank high in responsibility, self-awareness, and conscientiousness. You guessed it – results from a few of the personality assessments I’ve taken in my time. Assessments aren’t for everyone, but personally, I find them intriguing and have experienced both personal and team advantages from the intel several have provided.
There are so many personality assessments on the market and consultants ready to share the next greatest thing. I do think there is a lot of value in pairing assessments with guidance from someone trained to help you interpret and take advantage of what the results are telling you. However, I think assessments can offer plenty of value outright. The following article will answer the What, When, How and Who of personality assessments.
Personality Assessments – there are so many to explore. From True Colors, Thinking Hats, Myers-Briggs, Strengths Finder, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and more; you have your pick.
My best advice is to first determine why you feel there is a need – is it personal, department driven or company-wide? What would you like an assessment to provide as an outcome? Things like personal reflection, team dynamics, uncovering team gaps, management tips; those are all attainable outcomes. Determine your approach. Do you want a formal evaluation with a consultant review? Do you want to have a collective book read and then discuss the results in small groups? Is the assessment for each team member’s own personal understanding?
By setting your objective and answering these questions, you can then evaluate several different assessments and determine what you think will work best for you or your team. Choose an assessment that you believe will resonate with your intended audience. They aren’t for everyone!
The timing of administering an assessment and approach can be everything. When things are in disarray and problems are striking, it may seem like the ideal time to try to assess. However, this usually isn’t the best time. Avoid peak business seasons so that you aren’t adding something else to an already stressful time. Assessments should be held when participants have the time to take the assessment in a calm state of mind and then have the time to reflect on the results. If company culture or employee engagement needs a boost, assessments can provide a boost. Sometimes companies just want to provide an opportunity for continual learning and assessments can provide a fun and interactive way to accomplish this.
There are many ways assessments can be delivered. I believe online assessments with reporting tend to be the easiest to implement within a business. Taking the results a step further, many assessments provide a book or ideas on how to take your learning and apply it within your work and personal lives. The AgCareers.com team recently did an update to our Strengths Finder assessment. It had been a while since we had done it and we had quite a few new employees who had never taken it. I found that our small group discussions by department and in casual water cooler conversations with others have been insightful on what we have learned about ourselves. We have plans for a few additional activities with our findings throughout the year just to re-engage and use our investment a bit more. When I say investment, it was buying a book for each team member and giving them the time to take the survey and discuss. I think that is important – this type of tool doesn’t have to be costly to be valuable!
This is really determined by your objective. Sometimes it is a personal assessment, other times it may be for a particular department. I’ve found that most often, all members of an organization can benefit from assessments. The more relevant factor is timing. If you have a problem employee or conflict among staff, assessments can be viewed as a poor attempt to modify behavior and may not be taken seriously. However, depending where they are on the spectrum, assessments can move a problem employee out of the slump. Managers should use intuition and judgment to determine when it’s right for whom.
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