Use of personality / behavior assessments have been in existence from 1920. They were primarily used to facilitate recruitment in the armed forces and screening for mental illness. MBTI, MMPI, 16 PF and various tests based on the big – five model have been used extensively for a range of purposes.
It is interesting to follow its evolution in response to changing work environments. In the journey of an employee, personality and behavior assessments play an important role at crucial stages.
Employee development, happiness, health, and work–life balance now receive serious attention along with a marked emphasis on employee productivity.
A major catalyst to this wide application of personality / behavior assessments has been technological advances, trends in the modern workplace including increased globalization, virtual work, and technology-enabled platforms that drive recruitment, selection, and training.
The specific advantages of using behavioral assessments in the organizations:
- Personality / behavior assessments are extensively used at entry level hiring. After the initial round of abilities assessment, which most of the test takers are learning to master, behavioral assessments are becoming a critical factor for selection.
- Every job role has unique behavior traits that are required to perform the job efficiently. However, most job roles have an overlap of some of these behavior traits. Accurate competency mapping for each job role has ensured that the candidates are measured for behavior that are most important for the given job role.
- Availability of behavioral / personality assessments online, which provide a user-friendly environment for the test taker to complete the test and provide immediate reports that reflect the profile of the candidate, have ensured quick selection of best fit employees.
- These reports are most often based on a scoring logic that ensures capturing of the tendency of the candidate to portray a socially desirable image and/ or inconsistent responses.
- The reports also showcase the individual responses in comparison to the larger pool of test takers which help the organizations to understand the data trends in the test taker population.
- Personality/ behavior assessments help collate a 3600 feedback. This facilitates appraisal activities and helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses as seen by self and others.
- Identifying the right training programs for the employees have been made easier by personality / behavior assessments that clearly point towards behavior traits / tendencies that are trainable or non-trainable. Personality assessment reports indicate how trainable or stable a personality trait is, basis which the employee/ organization can decide to undergo training. Unlike a few years back where the training was provided to one and all without knowing how relevant or impactful it might be on the employees undergoing training.
- Personality / behavior assessments also shed light on the emotional well-being of the employees. Stress – inability to cope with pressure, inability to adhere to timelines, lack of cohesiveness with the team, lack of motivation, etc., when brought to light (to the notice of the HR) can be countered with intervention by in-house counselors.
- Employees’ motivation for the job, commitment to the organization and her/his perception of job fitment is understood through personality / behavior and necessary steps are taken to retain or motivate employee morale.
- Experience alone cannot make one a leader. Assessment center activities which measure the leadership traits at its core are employed to identify potential leaders and top performers.
With new age assessments such as simulations and gaming introduced in personality & behavior assessments will define the future of recruitment, performance management, identifying leaders, training and development.