Liz Sheffield

Conducting Personality Tests for Team-Building in the Workplace

For many years, HR decison-makers and management teams have used personality tests for team-building. Now, prehire assessments and aptitude tests are gaining traction in companies’ recruitment strategies. These quizzes don’t have right or wrong answers — instead, they ask questions that help reveal aspects of an individual’s personality.

When you’re looking at a potential hire, you have to do some guesswork about their strengths and what they’re really like as a person. The ability to assess personality traits, among other skills and abilities, can deepen your understanding of the employees you’re trying to recruit and retain.

Screening Potential Employees

Employers screen 72% of applicants for middle management positions and 80% of candidates for senior roles. More than half of entry-level positions also include prehire assessments.

The kind of assessment they use, however, can vary. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Aptitude tests: These help you understand someone’s ability to learn new skills.
  • Personality quizzes: Personality tests identify certain traits to predict the likelihood of how someone will respond to certain situations.
  • Cognitive assessments: This is a measure of a candidate’s abilities related to a particular task or job.
  • Emotional intelligence tests: These tests gauge a person’s ability to understand themselves and others.

These types of assessments give businesses a wealth of information as they evaluate talent. Keep in mind, though, that they’re meant to improve odds, not dictate outcomes. Prehire assessments also provide a valuable way for candidates to showcase their skills in ways they may not be able to during online applications or interviews.

Using Assessments as Team-Building Exercises

The value of assessments extends beyond recruitment efforts. Your current employees can also glean worthwhile information about themselves from a personal assessment. Results from personality tests can help organizations, teams and managers learn about employees’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the way they process information.

Two of the most popular options for bringing a test into team-building exercises for work are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the DiSC Model. The MBTI, which measures how people perceive the world and make decisions, spans 16 personality types that reflect innate preferences related to perception and judgment. DiSC centers on the theory that people develop a self-concept based on one of four factors: dominance, influence, steadiness or conscientiousness.

Personality assessments are a way to increase both self-awareness and awareness of others in a fun team-building exercise. When people understand each other, they communicate more effectively. Clarifying individual characteristics, preferences and work styles can transform communication across the entire business.

For example, a simple way to introduce personality tests for team-building could involve asking all team members to take a personality assessment. Once they’ve finished the assessments, create a document that explains the various possible results and lists the people who fall within each type. Then, meet as a team to discuss the results and achieve a better grasp of the traits associated with each type. This exercise establishes a common language and gives employees a collaborative and engaging way to learn about each other. To help your employees understand others of different types, break into small groups that include representatives from multiple types. Provide each group with questions about their work habits, such as:

  • How do you like to participate in meetings?
  • What energizes you the most at work?
  • How do you prefer to provide input on a project?

Additionally, giving employees a platform to explain their preferences builds more trust among a workforce — when colleagues work together, they’ll have insight into how they can collaborate regardless of personality differences.

Selecting the Right Tools

If you’re considering using personality assessments in the workplace, be sure you’re careful to choose the right tool. In particular, pick an assessment that limits bias and uses research-based data. As you consider the options for assessment tools, ask yourself the following questions.

  • What is the assessment designed to measure?
  • How will those measurements benefit the organization?
  • Is the assessment reliable, accurate and based on research?
  • How is the screening designed to avoid bias?
  • Does the assessment comply with federal guidelines?

No matter what kind of assessment or personality test you choose, make sure to continuously monitor and evaluate its use in your organization. Not only do you want to ensure legal compliance, but you also want to feel confident that the results of the tests are used to benefit your employees — not to box them into set roles or responsibilities. When used correctly, these powerful tools can help your business foster an environment that supports and understands how to utilize each employee’s unique set of skills and contributions.

Stay up to date on the latest health care regulations and trends for your small business: Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.