Maximising Team Effectiveness through Shared Leadership

The conventional structure of leadership distribution within organisations has traditionally placed an emphasis on the role of the manager.  Responsible for driving the direction, progress and outcomes of their teams, managers bear the brunt of fulfilling the complex and ambiguous needs of an organisation.  Hierarchical power distribution, often referred to as Vertical Leadership, may no longer be the most feasible solution to meeting the challenging and shifting organisational landscape.  The evolving corporate climate has welcomed the emergence of a more progressive approach known as Shared Leadership.
The shared leadership model has introduced a ‘flattened’ and well-rounded approach to organisational structuring and embodies the evolving modern preference for a dynamic and flexible workforce.  Many organisations remain reluctant to abandon their hierarchies, but research has shown that shared leadership is a stronger predictor of team effectiveness than vertical leadership.

What is Shared Leadership?

In sharing leadership, the authority and decision-making responsibilities are spread amongst teams of individuals, rather than assigned to a formal leader.  Teams determine their collective direction and purpose and are predominantly self-managing. Managers and supervisors no longer offer influence and authority; instead, they are regarded as resources, offering coaching and guidance.  This dispersion of responsibility fosters a feeling of shared ownership and purpose, and encourages individuals to consider themselves as essential parts of a whole.

However, it is important to distinguish that shared leadership differs from simple delegation or teamwork.  Shared leadership places a greater emphasis on the diffusion of responsibility, and is more than collaboration or task distribution.  This approach aligns well with earlier ‘Managing by Objectives’ practices as outlined by Peter Drucker, whereby employees are given broad SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals to achieve but no detailed outline on how best to achieve them.  The subsequent modernisation of this process by incorporating a horizontal leadership structure has placed even greater emphasis on employee autonomy and authority.
A primary objective and pillar of the shared leadership model is the active advancement and expansion of individual strengths and skills.  Within these self-managed teams, individuals are encouraged to volunteer for leadership positions and work autonomously on tasks based on their personal expertise and capabilities.  Different people are encouraged to take control of various tasks, allowing individual strengths to flourish.

Research suggests that in nurturing this internal leadership culture, organisations place themselves at a competitive advantage.  In cultivating strengths and enhancing social capital, shared leadership increases team performance and consequently leads to increased team productivity.

The Competitive Advantages of Shared Leadership

1.    Increased commitment
Each and every team member is held accountable for the collective success of their teams.  Employees therefore tend to invest more into their work and feel a greater sense of purpose and ownership.  Shared leadership instills the same teamwork mentality cultivated in team sports.  If an individual does not pull their weight, they must answer to their peers and coworkers, not a manager.  This sense of team pride and team commitment results in increased output and quality of work.  This effect can be diminished in large teams where social loafing (employees not putting in equal effort) may occur.  Maximise commitment by keeping teams small and focused on the task at hand.

2.    Intellectual resources
With more people involved in internal leadership practices, companies have a broader base of knowledge, experience and expertise to draw on, giving them an intellectual advantage over their competitors.  Individuals are encouraged to view themselves as resources, rather than managers and subordinates.  As team members take the initiative to lead projects and tasks that are in-line with their competencies and talents, this allows team knowledge to grow.  This broader knowledge base also enhances a team’s performance in the face of complex and ambiguous tasks. If subject matter experts do decide to move on to other roles or companies, the organisation can retain more of the intellectual capital that would have been lost during the handover process.

3.    Openness to influence
In shared leadership teams, employees learn to trust, respect and collaborate with each another to reach a mutual objective.  Team members need to rely on developing through others, as extending knowledge is vital for the success of a shared leadership team. In accepting and even relying on the influence and motivation of their coworkers, team members adapt to an environment where they are challenged and supported in the pursuit of a shared purpose.

A Successful Shared Leadership Structure

Whilst shared leadership can, and does, increase team effectiveness and subsequent team performance, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach.  Successful implementation may not be a seamless transition, as this requires collective hard work and commitment to change.  If successful, a shared leadership team should consist of the following characteristics:

  • Active recognition of team member contributions
  • Trusting environment in which team members encourage and challenge one another
  • A self-managed team with an external mentor or supervisor
  • A collectively defined direction and shared purpose with critical reviews of progress and output
  • Team members taking initiative to lead and directing tasks in areas they feel competent
  • Teams and mentors / supervisors outlining the limits of power over decision-making and resources

The shared leadership model is gaining traction within the corporate world, and companies choosing to adopt this more horizontal structure are reaping the benefits of a more effective and accountable workforce.

Finding individuals within your organisation who are suited for shared leadership roles may be assisted through the use of a personality questionnaire.  The Business Personality Reflections® is a personality questionnaire that measures business-related traits to assist in selection and personal development decisions.  Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more information about the Business Personality Reflections® Active Leadership scale.

Active Leadership

Active leadership is described as a measure of an individual’s preference for taking on a position of leadership, as well as their confidence in their ability to lead others.  The Active Leadership scale in the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire indicates the degree to which an individual is likely to take charge of a situation.  Active leadership places individuals at a competitive advantage in the evolving corporate climate because it stimulates individuals to take initiative and seize leadership opportunities to further their own development.  Without it, an individual may find themselves consistently being instructed to complete tasks, and following the directions of others.

A sample item for the Active Leadership scale that you may see in this questionnaire could be:

When push comes to shove, I want to be the one calling the shots’.

The results of studies and meta-analyses have shown that confidence in one’s ability to succeed as a leader, also referred to as leadership self-efficacy, is positively related to work performance (Paglis, 2010; Stajikovic & Luthans, 1998).  Paglis (2010) found that leadership self-efficacy is not only related to individual job performance, but is also highly related to the collective performance and confidence of a team.

Individuals who score highly on the Business Personality Reflections® Active Leadership scale are more likely to want to assume responsibility when working within a team, and will prefer to delegate tasks and coordinate others to achieve outcomes.  Employees who have active leadership characteristics are likely to also be decisive, goal-oriented, and confident in prioritisation and delegation. 

You might consider using an Active Leadership scale in your recruiting and development processes if:

  •   You want to encourage shared leadership workplace practices
  •   Tasks require a degree of decision-making or initiative
  •   You don’t have the time or resources to be ‘looking over shoulders’ or ‘hand-holding’
  •   You have roles which require a degree of collaboration and teamwork
  •   Tasks require employees to drive progress and work autonomously

Organisations can greatly benefit from employees with active leadership skills.  Find and develop the right people for your organisational to maintain your competitive advantage.

If you were interested in learning more about the Active Leadership scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® Personality questionnaire, please simply enquire now for a free trial.

In the current market, having a high level of employee engagement can lead to numerous benefits for your business.  Studies have shown that engaged workers display higher levels of creativity, productivity and willingness to go above and beyond for their employers.  They show passion for their work and feel more connected to the company.

However, research indicates that only 32% of employees are considered as ‘engaged’ in their current roles.  Therefore, not only are businesses losing the benefits of an engaged workforce, but may even suffer from the potential harm of disengaged employees.  

Disengaged workers can lead to losses of tens of thousands of dollars in lost work productivity and have a negative influence on workplace culture.  Disengaged employees can also affect a business’ reputation through their disregard of organisational values.

To maximise work place productivity and positivity, here are four management practices that allow you to continue to keep your employees engaged with their work:

1    Develop employee skills

Opportunities for both personal and professional development have been consistently linked to employee engagement.  It is important to set challenging, but at the same time realistic standards for your employees so that they feel stimulated in their work.  Research has shown that job demands such as large workloads, time pressures, and responsibility in the working environment are positively associated with engagement when employees believe that these demands provide opportunities for growth.  Thus, regularly providing your employees with encouragement through challenges can help to maintain engagement and reduce the negative impacts of mundane jobs.  Improvement of employee skills through training workshops is just one such way.

Allowing career mobility within your company is another way to enhance job resources and workplace engagement.  In fact, companies who incorporate career mobility into their workplace strategies were found to have a stunning 42% increase in employee engagement, productivity, and teamwork on average.

2    Foster a values-based, supportive work environment

Establishing a workplace culture where organisational values are strongly adhered to will provide employees with clear boundaries to work within, whilst allowing them freedom to shape the work they’re doing.  This fosters effective communication between employees and promotes engagement through the process of making decisions based on organisational values.

Studies have found that social support and a positive organisational environment are related to work engagement.  Ensuring that your business has a friendly atmosphere whereby employees feel comfortable and share a positive relationship with fellow employees will reinforce the efficiency of the team.  Setting a zero tolerance approach towards negative employee behaviours such as discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying further helps to foster a supportive work environment.
3    Monitor and reward positive employee behaviours

There is a positive relationship between the amount of rewards and recognition directed to employees and work engagement.  It can be as simple as chatting with staff once weekly to see how they have been doing and providing appropriate feedback.  Employees will be much less likely to equivocate when they are aware that their work is valued, discussed and even linked to strategic outcomes.   Additionally, employees are less likely to experience the effects of burnout, exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness, when they feel that their behaviour is being rewarded and appreciated  

4    Prevention is better than a cure: Improve hiring decisions

A good work role fit has also been identified as a contributor towards employee engagement.  When you invest extra time and effort into reviewing your hiring processes, aided by appropriate tools, you are more likely to find employees with an appropriate organisational fit.  Improving hiring practices with engagement in mind helps you identify in candidates the desirable attributes that are well suited to your business’s ethics and values.

Utilising psychometric assessments during the recruitment screening process is a great way to identify those who fit well into the organisations standards and values, as set by you. Ensuring that employees recruited will be genuinely interested and passionate about their work will not only reduce the likelihood of hiring disengaged people, but will also reduce turnover rates and the considerable amount of associated costs.  Long-term, objective, qualitative recruitment assessments provide the statistical data needed to evaluate which attributes make a difference within the organisation.

With a range of short and long-term benefits, having an engaged workforce proves to be beneficial for organisations.   It provides a good indication of the organisations’ internal management, and aids in achievement of organisational goals.  
When engaged employees feel valued by their organisation, this recognition can contribute to increased levels of self-regard, a vital personality attribute that all employees should possess.  This relationship is reciprocal. Hiring employees who have high levels of self-regard are likely to engage with work and the required organisational outcomes more easily.      

The Business Personality Reflections® is one personality questionnaire that measures business-related competencies like Self-Regard to assist in selection and personal development decisions.  Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more researched based information about the Business Personality Reflections® Self-Regard scale. 


Self-regard measures an individual's attitude toward and confidence in their own abilities.  Self-regard encompasses a freedom from doubt in one’s beliefs and confidence in expressing these beliefs in front of peers and managers.  It is the extent to which individuals perceive themselves as important, effective and meaningful.  This scale also assesses an individual’s ability to receive feedback and criticism and how they manage and respond to others' views of them.
Self-regard has been understood as both a driver and result of higher levels of engagement in the workplace (Bakker, 2011).  Employees with high levels of self-regard have been shown to cope better with stress (Oginska-Bulik, 2005) as they have the sufficient self-assurance to believe they can solve most problems.  Self-regard also reduces turnover, as employees with confidence in their work are more likely to continue at an organisation (Arshadi & Damiri, 2013).  Self-regard is even a strong predictor of counterproductive work behaviours. Acts such as theft, abuse, lying and unwillingness to co-operate are much less likely in confident employees (Arya & Khandelwal, 2013).

A sample item that might be seen on the Self-Regard scale is “I have a concern about my abilities to achieve things in life”

You might consider using self-regard scales in your recruiting and development processes if your employees:

  • ·         Work in a stressful environment
  • ·         Present signs of counterproductive work behaviours
  • ·         Demonstrate low organisational commitment
  • ·         Display signs of burnout

Organisations that prioritise self-regard in their employees are reaping the benefits of confident, engaged, and effective workers.  By placing an emphasis on self-regard in your recruitment and development processes you enable your organisation to potentially outperform competitors.

If you were interested in learning more about the Self-Regard scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for a free trial.

Appointing the right leaders for your organisation may be one of the most difficult and important decisions that you make.  Select the right people and you will have set your organisation up for years to come.  Make the wrong decision however, and the consequences could be severe.  It is estimated that for the world’s largest 2,500 companies, forced turnover at the top-level costs shareholders an estimated $112 billion in lost market value annually.

Not only do leadership changes cost significant time and resources, they can also become a public debacle, generating negative press that reflects badly on your organisation’s public image.  The recent controversial departures of Travis Kalanick from Uber, and Alex Malley from the CPA proved to be costly for their respective organisations.  Both ex-CEOs displayed qualities that led to a toxic and unsustainable workplace culture, which eventually resulted in their departures.  Identifying the right leaders through a selection and recruitment process can prevent these sorts of situations from occurring and allow knowledgeable organisations to set themselves apart from the competition.

So what are the essential qualities of a great leader?

1.    Decisiveness.  Decisiveness, especially in the face of incomplete information, is essential for a great leader.  Being decisive doesn’t necessarily mean always making the correct decisions, rather it means making decisions earlier and with conviction.  In today’s fast-paced world of corporate business it is not always feasible to make decisions with absolute certainty.  While risks do exist, C-suites and management teams tend to fare better when they commit to a decision, as opposed to making no decision.  Mistakes are rarely so severe that they cannot be resolved, but a lack of decisiveness may result in an opportunity lost forever or ‘decision paralysis’ enveloping the organisation.   

2.    Integrity.  Ethical standards of behaviour are often overlooked or underestimated as an important quality for successful leaders, but in this day and age have never been more crucial.  Value-driven behaviour is extremely important to millennials who now make up the largest group in the workforce.  By abiding to appropriate standards, leaders can set the tone for the rest of the workforce to follow, creating a sustainable, productive and pleasant workplace culture.  Time and time again, integrity appears at the top of any survey about required attributes, competencies or characteristics of CEO’s.

3.    Passion.  Being able to inspire others is part and parcel of being a great leader, and there’s rarely anything more inspiring than a leader who is passionate about the goals of the organisation and the people within it.  Passionate leaders effectively build momentum and motivate the team to see and achieve his or her vision.

4.    Adaptiveness.  The ability to strategically adapt to novel situations is crucial for successful leadership.  The rapidly changing technological landscape requires leaders to be able to agilely deal with unforeseen shifts in the playing field while staying aligned with the overall strategic objectives of the organisation.  The key to being able to adapt strategically is having a strong focus on long-term perspectives.  This allows leaders to sensitively pick up on subtle changes in the business landscape and proactively capitalise on the opportunities that are presented. 

5.    Strategic Thinking.  Being able to take a broad, long-term approach to problem-solving and decision-making is critical to success as a leader. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, and determine what needs to happen right now, in six months, and in a year, to get to where the organisation wants to go. In taking this systematic approach within an organisation, great leaders can identify the impact of their decisions across differing segments of the organisation, including other departments, personnel, suppliers, and customers.  This is the basis of the Balanced Scorecard approach to management.

6.    Composure.  Almost every organisation will face substantial challenges that may propel the future of the company into uncertainty.  During these times having a confident leader that acts with composure is essential.  Teams will naturally take cues from their leader and any sign of distress or unease can be infectious.  In times of crisis a leader that projects calm confidence will help the team to maintain composure and work effectively.    

7.    Engagement.  A great leader understands the importance of inspiring engagement from employees.  Research shows that employee engagement begins by creating a connection between the employee’s values and those of the organisation.  To do this, leaders need to instil confidence in others by showing that they are willing to do what is necessary to succeed.  In addition, they need to show that they are willing to listen and solicit different viewpoints that do not default to the consensus.

8.    Delegation.  A great leader must be skilled in the art of delegation and collaboration.  It is not feasible for any one person to carry the entire work load, therefore successful leaders learn to trust their team with their vision, and delegate responsibilities.  Leaders that can delegate effectively understand the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and assign tasks accordingly.  An issue that is wisely delegated by a leader is a development opportunity for a direct report.

9.    Consistency.  The ability to reliability deliver results day after day is a highly desirable quality in all leaders.  Studies suggest that 94% of strong CEOs are consistent in producing results.  From the perspective of the board of directors, leaders that deliver reliable results are far preferable to those with performance that fluctuates.  The key to consistency is in setting realistic expectations up front and having strong organisational and planning skills. 

Recruiting and developing leaders based on these nine essential qualities ensures that knowledgeable organisations find individuals that can maximise their potential.

Understanding the qualities of a successful leader is only half the job done however; it’s important to have a means of assessing potential candidates for these qualities.  One possible means to evaluate candidates is through assessment tools that can quickly and effectively differentiate the leaders from the managers.

The Business Personality Reflections® is one personality questionnaire that measures business-related competencies to assist in selection and personal development decisions.  Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more information about the Business Personality Reflections® Strategic Orientation scale. 

Strategic Orientation
Strategic Orientation is described as a focus on the big picture, an attention to defining the future direction of an organisation, and using this definition to direct and guide the efforts of others.  

The Strategic Orientation scale in the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire measures the ability of individuals to focus on the big picture, as well as the amount of time an individual is likely to spend considering the outcomes of their choices.  Employees who score low on the Strategic Orientation scale are more likely to make fast decisions without considering wider organisational objectives, whilst high scorers prefer to deliberate over their options and consider the potential consequences.

Organisations that operate in a strategically orientated manner have been found to bring in stronger economic return through the development of responsible products, mitigating potential risks and building enduring stakeholder relationships (Wang & Bansal, 2012).

Research suggests that employees with a long-term (strategic) orientation value hard work and planning for future benefit.  Nepomuceno and Laroche (2015) found that individuals with strategic orientation in conjunction with self-control are more capable of restraining impulses for short-term goals, as they strive for long-term goals.  Therefore, these people are highly motivated and are better able to resist corruption.  This is associated with the individual being less materialistic, having greater well-being, and behaving more ethically.

A sample item for the Strategic Orientation factor that you may see in our questionnaires could be: “I have no problems making quick decisions without considering the consequences”.

You might consider using the Strategic Orientation scale in your recruiting and development processes if:

  • ·         Your company lacks direction and wants employees who will work towards key goals
  • ·         You need leaders who prefer to consider the potential consequences of actions
  • ·         You know where your organisation would like to be but your employees are unsure of the actions to get there

Organisations need leaders with a strategic orientation to see the bigger picture of work. The Strategic Orientation scale can assist you continue to find and develop the right people for your organisation to maintain your competitive advantage.

If you were interested in learning more about the Strategic Orientation scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® Personality questionnaire, please simply enquire now for a free trial.

Employees are at their desks on average for over five hours every day, and organisations are paying for that time.  A consistent problem with these hours is that they are often unproductive.  Employee productivity is determined by how well an organisation takes piles of raw materials, stacks of paperwork, or groups of employees, and turns them into useful goods or services.

Practical businesses strive to increase employee productivity, as it results in sizable benefits to the bottom line.  The return on investment for policy changes that encourage productivity can be enormous. 

In some sectors, a five percent uptick in productivity can lead to up to a fifty percent increase in total shareholder returns. 

Implementing just six key management practices can be all it takes for employee productivity to increase and give organisations that additional competitive edge.

1.               Foster interpersonal relationships
Within a large company, employees run the risk of becoming little more than numbers on a piece of paper.  A lack of personal engagement between management and employees can leave them feeling unappreciated.  Bring a sense of personalisation to the workplace and get to know your team.  In doing so, employees will want to go the extra mile for the company.  It’s important to remember employees are going to become stressed from time to time and it’s therefore crucial that adequate support is given to maximise productivity.  Research has found that “happy employees have, on average, 31% higher productivity; their sales are 37% higher; and their creativity is three times higher”. 

2.               Set realistic goals
One way to quickly decrease an employee’s motivation is to set unrealistic goals.  Pushing staff to work to their best can set a strong tone, but overwhelming them can be severely detrimental.  Boosting team productivity can be a fine line between the two and finding appropriate and achievable goals within set timeframes is crucial.  An excellent way to combat this is to set sub goals.  Sub goals break down the steps which are needed to reach the end goal.  They simplify what might start out seeming like a massive task.  They allow the goal to become more achievable as employees work on completing smaller steps.

3.               Provide meaningful feedback
Everyone likes to be told that they are doing an outstanding job.  That even applies for those employees who you feel could be working more effectively.  Feedback keeps employees’ work-related activities directed toward desired personal and organisational goals.   Communication is vital for effective, constructive feedback.  Constructive feedback takes the negative criticisms of an employee’s work and offers improvements with a positive spin.  Encouragement here is also vital, as discouraged employees are far less likely to increase their productivity. Effective constructive criticism can go a long way in helping employees learn and understand more efficient strategies. 

   4.               Create incentives
Who doesn’t love to be rewarded for producing excellent quality work? Reinforcement is the key to effectively get team engagement around productivity.  Establishing a reward system for employees who consistently increase their capabilities will promote motivation around the workplace and prompt employees to work harder as they know it will be recognised.  Incentives don’t need to be monetary - employee-recognition programs are a strong method of acknowledging the work of staff.  These can include reward perks such as extra time off, free lunches, or better parking spaces.  Recognition of employees meeting their KPI’s will ensure a higher standard of productivity.  It may even create some friendly competition between employees! 

5.               Provide skill development
Invest in employees through skill development programs.  Being able to master the skills of related roles within the organisation can allow employees to better recognise and embrace wider organisational goals and vision.  Productivity is increased as individuals gain interdepartmental training, which broadens the understanding that employees bring to a larger team who all rely on each other.  This allows employees to realise that they can work more efficiently and keeps them engaged with new challenges as they align their roles within the company.  As a side benefit, employees even become better equipped to progress internally into leadership roles.   

6.       Recruiting procedures
These suggested practices can significantly increase productivity in many employees, however some people are better aligned with certain positions.  This is where the importance of recruitment and selection procedures can come into play and really set your organisation apart from your competitors.  Introducing selection criteria for potential employees based on psychological assessment can help you save time interviewing sub optimal candidates.  This can also reduce costs as you’re more likely to find employees who fit the job requirements, not just in their capabilities but also their personality and values.  Recruiting the right person for the job increases the likelihood of high productivity and results in a better outcome for your company.

Implementation of these six simple steps can dramatically increase employee productivity and ensure greater organisational outcomes.  Placing a greater emphasis on these management practices provides employees with the greatest opportunities to produce their best work.

In many organisations positive thinking is a vital predictor of productivity.  The Business Personality Reflections® (BPR) is a personality questionnaire that measures business-related competencies to assist in selection and personnel development decisions.  Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more information about the Positive Thinking scale in the Business Personality Reflections®.

Positive Thinking
Positive thinking describes an optimistic attitude that focuses on the bright side of life.  Optimistic individuals have faith that their abilities and actions can cause significant positive impact on their future (Kluemper, Little & DeGroot, 2009).  The positive thinking scale measures the degree of positive mood and feelings across the range of happiness, enthusiasm, optimism and joy. 

An example of an item for this scale is, “I feel lots of happiness in my life”.

Positive thinking plays an important role in generating positive mood.  Research has found that emotions and mood are related to success in occupational settings, people who are happy are more creative, see opportunities and tend to be more comfortable in taking strategic risks (Fredrickson, 2001; Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005).  Cable (2017) also suggests that positive emotions help with decision-making and problem solving. 

Organisational leaders who display positive thinking help employees feel included and increase cooperation and task performance (Allen & McCarthy, 2015).  Further, positive actions and emotions enhance the efficiency and the rate of task execution, increasing productivity in the workplace (Anchor, 2011; Cable, 2017).  It has also been found that positive mood and emotions lead to a more amicable communication style and therefore result in lower levels of conflict between employees (Allen & McCarthy, 2015). 

In addition, research has also found that optimism correlates with subjective wellbeing and that it promotes positive feelings during stressful events (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005).  Thus, it is shown that positive thinking leads to better stress coping in individuals. 

Individuals who score highly on the Business Personality Reflections® Positive Thinking scale are more likely to experience these positive emotions such as enthusiasm, happiness and joy, as well as actively express them in the workplace. 

You might consider using a positive thinking scale in your recruiting and development processes if employees often deal with;
  • ·         Stressful situations in the workplace in which positive thinking is required
  • ·         Challenging and complex tasks that may involve setbacks
  • ·         Building and maintaining professional relationships with customers or employees
  • ·         A fast paced work environment where enthusiasm is necessary for task completion and efficiency
Organisations need employees who think positively in the workplace to help breed enthusiasm and optimism and hence maximise productivity.   We hope that the Positive Thinking scale can provide useful information, amongst other relevant scales, about potential candidate performance within your work context or environment.  It can also assist with team construction or team dynamics within an organisation.

If you were interested in learning more about the Positive Thinking scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for a free trial.

A crucial competitive advantage in bringing talented individuals into the organisation can be exploited by successfully avoiding some common pitfalls in the recruiting process.  The leveraged advantage can be quite significant - bad hiring decisions can cost competitors organisations a lot of money.  A mistake made in the recruitment and selection process leading to employee turnover can cost half to two-thirds of an employee’s annual salary. With costs that high, can any organisation afford to make mistakes in recruitment? No business wants to hire the wrong person for the job. We hope these five tips may aid in your candidate selection.

1.       Too much about the money, too little about the brand value
It’s easy to assume that a great salary package alone will attract top candidates. Often however, it is not all about the money. Research shows that a job seekers’ perception of a company’s reputation affects how much they want to join the company. If the company is held in high regard, candidates are less likely to make a decision based on remuneration alone. To achieve a positive brand image among potential candidates, HR managers can add significant value by identifying what is valuable for their target candidates and advertise accordingly. For example: fresh graduates will want to develop their skills and expand their network, therefore graduate job advertisements could emphasise mentoring programs, networking events, and on-the-job training. Senior roles however might emphasise coaching and development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, engagements and involvement in innovation.

2.       Relevant department input into the role. 
Most candidates value contact with or attention from the functional head of the area in which the role sits – so their early involvement can be crucial. Writing job advertisements is usually the recruiter or HR partner’s job, but the relevant department manager can ensure clarity and accuracy around the duties, skills and key competencies. This will prevent miscommunication, especially for highly specialised roles. It can be frustrating for candidates when recruiters aren’t specific enough about the role. Set clear expectations about the position, and utilise the experience of your organisation to present a clear and attractive value proposition. Candidates value a real world presentation of the job and role.

3.       Too much reliance on resumes and interviews, too little on psychometrics
The resume and interview process is a mainstay of recruitment and a useful tool to aid in shortlisting candidates. However there is a significant body of evidence that the predictive validity of unstructured interviews is about the same as tossing a coin. One reason for this is difficult to admit, but the resume and interview can unconsciously bias recruiters about candidates based on race, gender, age, social context, and more. In a perfect world, interviewers would evaluate people objectively; however judging people naturally becomes subjective.
Research has shown that candidates who are different from an otherwise similar group of finalists have a very little chance of being hired, even if they’re the most qualified candidate. Further, candidates who are similar to the hiring manager are also prioritised as we naturally gravitate towards people who are similar to ourselves.

To minimise the risk of bias, psychometric tests can ensure candidates are objectively assessed as much as possible. This can offer a clearer rationale why one candidate is a better fit for your organisation. A psychometric scale examining resilience is much more likely to differentiate people than an open-ended question during an interview process. Furthermore, you are provided with an objective, comparative metric to probe particular competencies in an interview context. The use psychometric assessment in a recruitment and selection process avoids placing the organisation in an uneasy legal position because of unconscious biases, or having to admit that the composition of the staff in general or leadership team in particular differs widely from the general population in terms of gender or ethnicity.

4.       A focus on streamlining
In talent starved markets, failing to make an offer to a candidate in a timely manner will risk losing them to your competition. The best organisations have streamlined their recruitment processes to minimise the risk of losing the best candidates for the role. Organisations need to develop a clear idea of what they need and want, and how they will evaluate this, so that the decision-making is as efficient as possible.

A major achievement in this context is that companies have begun to use online demographic, biographical and psychometric measures in the screening process rather than psychometrics in a post-interview context. Organisational financial and people metrics can be positively impacted through: time to hire, cost of hire, and turnover metrics.

Every minute counts, deliver objective and quantitative data before interviews commence, schedule multiple interviews in a single day, prepare any additional testing ahead of time, and automate your recruitment system to maximise the speed of the recruitment process. If your organisation doesn’t have the capacity to quickly review candidates, you can always outsource recruitment to ensure a speedy hire. Once you have made a decision on a candidate, don’t delay. A lot can happen between 4pm Wednesday and Thursday morning, as your role will almost never be the only role a candidate is interested in pursuing.     

5.       Feedback and candidate care
Recruitment can be extremely time-consuming, but any strong recruitment strategy emphasises candidate care. Updating applicants and providing feedback at each stage of their application can emphasise the recruitment’s fairness. Perception of a fair and efficient recruitment process can generate a positive perception of the company, even for unsuccessful applicants. Feedback can range from letting candidates know that they have been unsuccessful with a short ‘thank you for your time and interest’, to providing a brief explanation on competencies that can be further improved. 

Factual and objective feedback that outlines why a candidate isn’t the right fit for the role is far more likely to leave prospects walking away from your organisation with no hard feelings, as opposed to jarring personal statements of inadequacy seemingly based on personal opinion. Appropriate candidate care increases your good press, and increases the likelihood of access to additional prospects.

In summary, the costs of a bad hire have serious financial implications, but also impact workplace culture, performance, and productivity. Maximise your chances of a positive return on investment by developing robust recruitment strategies, and avoid the missteps of competitors to lower unnecessary turnover from and provide significant value add to your organisation.  

In many organisations resilience is a vital predictor of turnover. The Business Personality Reflections® (BPR) is a personality questionnaire that measures business-related competencies to assist in selection and personal development decisions. Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs. Below is more information about the Resilience Scale in the Business Personality Reflections®

Resilience is described as the ability of an individual to adapt to changes in their environment and bounce back from stressful experiences. It indicates the degree to which an individual can maintain a stable and motivated working mindset in the face of difficult situations. Resilience is vital for success in today’s rapidly changing and expanding work environment because it allows for the individual to maintain their working standards regardless of the challenges they face. Without it, inevitable changes in working conditions will negatively impact personal and performance outcomes for employees.

A sample item for the resiliency factor that you may see on the BPR or other questionnaires could be: “I struggle to find positives when bad things happen.”

Studies have shown that high levels of resilience are negatively related to a number of psychological outcomes such as burnout (Mak et al., 2011), secondary traumatic stress (Mealer et al., 2012), depression (McGarry et al., 2013) and anxiety (Lu et al., 2014). For example, in separate studies Mealer et al. (2012) and McGarry et al. (2013) both found that high resilience was associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. These studies also found that high resilience was associated with lower levels of burnout, which is described as emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal accomplishment in the work environment. Furthermore, resilience has been positively related to work engagement (Mache et al., 2014) and job performance (Er-Xiu & Shu-wen, 2010).

Individuals who score highly on the Business Personality Reflections® Resilience Scale are more likely to work in a purposeful and determined manner to reach goals even in the presence of potential complications preventing their progress.

You might consider using a resilience scale in your recruiting and development processes if employees often deal with:

  • ·         Major and unexpected hiccups that require rapid response.
  • ·         Stakeholders, staff, or clients that have strong opposing views. 
  • ·         Long term-projects that drag on and demand sustained energy and enthusiasm.
  • ·         Crises where remaining calm and optimistic is needed.
  • ·         Intensive periods of work involving long hours, multiple tasks, and tight deadlines.

Organisations need resilient employees that have the capacity to handle a changing, unpredictable or disrupted environment.  We hope that the Resilience Scale can provide useful information, amongst other relevant scales about potential candidate performance within your work context or environment.  

If you were interested in learning more about the Resilience Scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® Personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for a free trial.