Psychometrics: Behavioural tests are a secret weapon for any business

Are you a dominant employee? Do you work better under pressure?
Behavioural tests are vital to productivity.
In the world of work, success comes from the crucial combination of individuals having the right skills for the role, and also a working style that matches their business environment.
While a CV is useful for determining the former, how can businesses gain an additional understanding of a person’s working style – are they assertive, communicative or process-driven? And what about their underlying motivators, levels of emotional intelligence, or even their fears?
UK businesses need to wise up to using psychometric assessments to gain this knowledge – because doing so will ultimately help improve workplace performance.

WHAT ARE THEY REALLY THINKING?

Psychometric tests can show businesses what their staff are really thinking. Are they happy? Is their working environment most suited to getting the best out of them? Behavioural assessments provide an insight into aspects like an individual’s preferred working style and their behaviour under pressure. Our test measures four factors: dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance.
Using it enables businesses to maximize their learning and development budget, and better understand where staff morale can be further supported. And staff can evaluate their behavioural preferences and development needs. For example, those who score highly on “dominance” tend to be assertive, competitive and driven by results, so are likely to respond to autonomy and challenges in a role.
Critically, employers are given the opportunity to appreciate that we all possess different working styles, each of which brings its unique value to an organisation.
From here, managers and staff can be trained to modify and adapt their behaviour to better connect with colleagues and clients. For example, individuals displaying high “influence” traits may be prone to speaking too much, so potentially need to be more concise with colleagues who respond better to clear direction.

THE NATIONAL PICTURE

Assessments can also give insight into the working population at large. For example, we recently conducted a study examining the working behaviour of 477,188 UK workers, and found that between 2011 and 2014 there has been a 17 per cent decrease in “dominance” as a lead trait in the population.
This attribute is often seen as the working preference for entrepreneurs – it teases out competitive tendencies, perseverance when challenged and the drive to achieve results. But the recent fall suggests that, as a workforce, we are now less likely to be assertive or selfstarting.
Interestingly, another of our studies revealed that twice as many young people report a preference for being competitive and assertive self-starters than the current working population. We suggest this indicates that, despite the entrepreneurial boom the UK is currently seeing, even more drive may lie with the next generation.
Martin Reed is chief executive and chairman of Thomas International, a global provider of people assessments.

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