Hiring & Recruiting, Training

Personality Assessments During Onboarding Set Stage for Effective Workplace Interactions

Some employers spend years trying to learn what makes their employees tick, but Employer Flexible zeroes in on that shortly after they are hired.

Personality Test

As part of the onboarding process, new hires complete a DiSC® personality profile assessment to “identify the strengths they bring to the workplace,” says Mandy Brock, HR consultant with Employer Flexible, a professional employer organization headquartered in Houston.

The assessment, which she says is given during the first week or two of employment and takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete, reveals information about each new hire’s personality and behavior. A detailed report is generated for each individual, and then Brock or another DiSC-certified facilitator sits down with new hires to discuss the results.

“It was scary accurate,” Brock says of the report from her assessment. “I felt like someone had been following me around for 2 weeks with a hidden camera.”

The assessment identifies which of four categories each new hire falls into: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. “Every single one of us is a mixture of all four, but we each have a tendency to lean more toward one than the other.”

“There’s no good or bad or right or wrong style,” she says. “They are all important to helping our organization succeed.” And that message is conveyed to new hires up front. “It’s usually one of the first things we say.”

Not only do new hires learn about their own predominant style but they are also given tools and tips on how to work optimally with all of the styles, Brock explains. Interactive refresher training is provided annually to cross-departmental groups of up to 25 employees.

Employees’ styles are displayed with their name plates on their office doors or their cubicles. This helps facilitate communication among employees. “You know how to tailor your message to make sure you are communicating in an effective way,” she says. “People know what they need to bring to the table. It’s been an invaluable tool for us.”

“This is pretty ingrained into our culture,” she continues. “It really is something we live on a daily basis.”

Being educated about employees’ different styles has resulted in numerous benefits for the organization, Brock says. Those benefits include improved interactions among employees, stronger customer service skills, a better understanding of employees’ motivations and priorities, and improved morale. “This is part of personal development for our employees, which is extremely important to us as a company.”

How do you ensure success when implementing a similar initiative in your organization? Here are some tips to consider.

First, “make sure you’ve got buy-in from leadership,” Brock says. “If it is not something that’s practiced and visible on a daily basis, it is not going to reach its potential.”

Second, “implement this during the onboarding process,” she says. Make sure new hires understand why you are conducting personality assessments and how the results will be used.

Third, develop a mechanism for employees to see their coworkers’ styles—for example, displaying their styles with their name plates on their cubicles or making a database available online, Brock suggests.

Fourth, provide refresher training, and “keep it fresh and exciting,” she says. Refresher training not only gives you an opportunity to reinforce positive ways for employees to interact with their coworkers and customers but it also serves as a valuable tool for teambuilding and morale boosting.