Welcome to Week 6 of the SOS Leadership Blog Series:
Creating a Positive Organizational Culture
Each Friday for the next 2 weeks, we’ll be blogging about engaging employees, boosting morale, and creating a dynamic culture. We have an awesome lineup of guest bloggers, some of the best and brightest HR folks around! Come back each Friday to hear their words of wisdom. If you need to be reminded, followSOS Leadership on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and we’ll let you know when the blogs are posted! Happy Friday!!!
Today’s blog post, entitled Using Attitude Tests, Behavioral Interviewing, & Personality Assessments to Positively Impact Corporate Culture is by Angie Cartwright of Potentiality Coaching.
Corporate culture influences the way individuals think and act, how they work, and what is acceptable and not acceptable within the company environment. Organizational culture is bigger than any one individual, and it impacts everyone within the organization.
Based upon various readings, it seems there are several components that influence the culture of an organization, including beliefs, attitudes, values, vision, size of the organization, processes, leadership style, management style, power structure (central or decentralized), rewards systems, stories, symbols, and rituals.
Attracting and retaining employees who are a best-fit and are aligned with the company’s culture is paramount. We have all read and calculated various numbers concerning turnover costs. The fact remains, turnover is very costly. I believe improving the outcome of a company’s hiring process positively reduces turnover expenses by selecting the right applicants for the job and alignment to the company culture.
For example, consider information sharing and knowledge management as an element under corporate values. If a company culture is one of hoarding and information is shared on a need-to-know basis only, instead of transparently and openly, there is quite a difference and consideration when choosing a candidate. Another example is the difference between a culture where empowerment and accountability is key, versus a polar opposite culture where decisions are made from the top-down.
There appears to be an ever growing trend of using pre-hire assessments during the hiring process. There is a significant difference between job-focused and company culture-focused assessments. In my opinion, having a combination of the two is ideal.
Job-focused assessments measure habits and preferences and predict job performance, whereas culture-focused assessments predict an applicant’s predisposition independent of the job. If you only utilize a job-focused assessment and learn that the applicant is a great fit for a sales job and job performance is predicted to be high, you only get a piece of the puzzle with which to make a hiring decision.
Let’s say the company culture is one which is very competitive and the decision making is not of empowerment but top-down. In this case, if the applicant has different values (empowerment and autonomy) than the company’s culture, which is very rules based, then he/she may not be a best-fit overall and thus possible retention issues and performance concerns could appear on the horizon.
Behavioral interviewing is another great technique which can improve the outcomes of best-fit with job and culture. As a Human Recourses professional and consultant, I am extremely passionate about behavioral interviewing. It is also a great tool to assess for cultural fit. The technique does, however, require training to ensure that the recruiters and managers have key questions directly suited to the job competencies and culture. We have all heard that adage, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
For example, if commitment to growth and mutual collaboration are cultural values, as well as learning, and you were trying to assess for sales coaching as a skill, then a great behavioral interview question might be, “Describe a time when, as a sales manager, you helped your sales team be responsible for their own development and sales improvements to enhance the individual, team and organizational performance.” Long sample, but you get the idea.
Another important tool in creating and sustaining a positive organizational culture is personality assessments. It is not just a great tool for selection but a fantastic team building tool! I am curious about how many employers utilize personality assessments – I saw a recent estimate which indicated 40+% of employers are currently utilizing personality assessments, and it appears this number is growing.
Just a few weeks back at a reception, several young professionals sat across from me in discussion about their firm’s utilization of personality assessments. They revealed they used personality type in their signature lines, and displayed their type on their hard hats and name badges. When I asked about their organization’s intention behind rolling out team personality workshops, a few shared their belief that it was to foster openness and trust and increase awareness of strengths, while others felt it was for insight to individual and team preferences and to reduce conflict. As a practitioner of MBTI®, I reinforced the value I feel personality assessments bring to individuals, teams and organizations.
I am interested in current trends among companies utilizing personality assessments to enhance and sustain culture. Knowing an individual’s preferences helps with not only individual insight, but job alignment and job best-fit as well as cultural fit. Type provides everything from fostering exchange of views to discovering individual and team strengths and preferences, as well as improving communications and reducing conflict. Leadership, problem solving, and conflict resolution are important elements in creating a positive team culture.
I agree with the many experts who assert that utilizing various attitude tests, behavioral interviewing, and personality assessments can save candidates as well as companies time and money. I personally believe these tools can be very valuable in creating a positive organizational culture.
What are your thoughts about attitude tests, behavioral interviewing, and utilization of personality type? Do you see these as ingredients to positively shaping and sustaining a positive organizational culture? Or do you have an alternative view or experience you would like to share? I look forward to your comments.
About Angie Cartwright
Angie Cartwright is the owner of Potentiality Coaching & Consulting. She has been a practicing HR professional for over 10 years, including both international and domestic experience. She has worked in multiple industries including retail, health, non-profit, real-estate, and telecoms. Angie has consulted with retail, non-profit, and the government. She has a Masters in Human Resource Management and a Bachelors of Science in Marketing. To learn more about Angie, visit www.potentialitycoaching.com or LinkedIn.