Thursday, June 25, 2015

Personality and Prosperity

A lot of employers are using personality, cognitive and behavioral assessments to help select the 'best' candidate for employment. Apparently, the percentage has doubled in the last five years. The objectives, according to some, are that employee turnover and dissatisfaction will be reduced while 'happiness', customer satisfaction and productivity will increase.

Productivity has increased 5 or so percent since 2010. Yet corporations have spent an extra $1 billion in hiring assessments in that time.
Even with this effort, nearly a third of new employees leave within the first six months. Half of those leave within the first two months. The third, fourth and fifth reasons they leave: boss, poor training and not fun. The number one reason is that the work is different than they expected. Perhaps we should spend more time with the candidate explaining the expectations, and making sure the boss knows how to manage this rookie's personality.

 Nearly half don't survive the first 18 months. More than half are dissatisfied at work, which has grown from 4 out of 10 in 1987 according to the Conference Board. It's barely ticked up since the end of the recession in 2010. 

So if these candidate assessments are supposed to be doing something for us, they don't seem to be. If half of the non-testing organizations (i.e. going from two-thirds not testing to one-third) are now doing the assessment to make some improvement, you'd expect the metrics to be improving substantially. However, that's not the case.

They problem may be the assessments or it may be the use of the assessments. If bosses don't know how to manage diversity in personality, cognitive and behavioral styles, organizational prosperity isn't going to improve because employee 'happiness' isn't changing. It's not enough to get the right person in the door, you have to help them. Check out other posts regarding Wiseman's work (Multipliers), Amabile's work (Progress Principle) and related.

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