Running Your Business

Measuring the Strengths of an Employee Using Personality Tests

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Posted by January 13, 2017

As a manager, knowing the strengths of an employee can help you manage them more effectively, boost their performance and build stronger teams. By evaluating your employees’ personalities and strengths, you’ll be able to understand more about what motivates them, the management style they prefer and how they can add value to your company. Having access to the right tools to evaluate employees can make this effort more successful. But, with a number of different personality tests available, where should you start?

Which Personality Test Should You Choose?

Two popular tools for measuring employee strengths are the Clifton StrengthsFinder and DISC personality assessments. While there are others out there, these two tools are useful in their own right and the tool you choose should depend on what you’re trying to achieve in evaluating your employees. Is the goal to match the right people to the right tasks? Or do you want to learn more about motivational drivers in groups of employees? It’s critical to understand the goal of the assessment before choosing your tool and asking your employees to participate.

A Comparison of StrengthsFinder and DISC

Both the Clifton StrengthsFinder and DISC assessment tools have valid uses in the workplace. It is up to you to decide which of the two is most appropriate.

Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment

The StrengthsFinder test, as the name suggests, is focused on the strengths of an employee. It uses a survey to identify an individual’s five key strengths. A report is then generated that indicates what skills and talents can be built upon for future success. The assessment is based on an employee’s actual awareness of his or her strengths. As an employer, you may find the StrengthsFinder data useful in assigning job placements or developing additional learning opportunities based on real employee strengths.

DISC Personality Test

The DISC assessment takes a slightly different approach—it focuses on an employee’s personality and behavioral style. Individuals answer a series of questions (around 100), choosing from five possible answers. The test measures how strongly an individual displays four different characteristics: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness.

It’s important to note that an individual may display these characteristics without being consciously aware of it. The theory is that people are not always clear about why they behave in a certain way, get along with certain types of people or thrive under certain circumstances. The DISC assessment provides both you and your employees with useful insight into their behavioral styles, preferred work environments and strengths and weaknesses.

Benefits of Using StrengthsFinder and DISC Assessments

Each of these assessments can be used together or separately to gain insight into the strengths of your employees. The most beneficial aspect of the StrengthsFinder tool is that it focuses on an employee’s awareness of their own strengths and each employee must look deep inside himself to identify these character traits. Insight from the DISC assessment is useful when team building as it may help you successfully match the right employees with the right project and ensure team members have complementary strengths and personalities.

Best Practices for Using Assessments

If you do decide to use personality assessments in your workplace, here are some best practices for managing the process:

  • Be transparent about the process, and keep employee participation voluntary
  • The assessment process should be managed by a third-party assessment agency or certified practitioner
  • Results should be shared with both employee and supervisor
  • Records of assessment should be kept in a secure file and never shared outside the company

Personality assessments are a useful way to identify the strengths of your employees, but they shouldn’t be the only facet of your management strategy. Job observation, performance reviews and employee self-rating systems can also provide valuable information about your employees’ strengths, weaknesses and interests.

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