Organisations are now operating in an age where company loyalty doesn’t mean what it used to. Australia’s stagnant wage growth and high costs of living have given millennial employees a reputation for frequently seeking greener pastures in the job space.  

Consequently, the capacity to retain your top talent has become a point of competitive advantage. The retention of your high potentials (HIPOs) – those employees that consistently and significantly outperform their peers - will ensure substantive growth for years to come, based on a competitive advantage.  Successful retention of talent also helps to ensure satisfaction amongst consumers, colleagues, and supervisors, and generates a culture of success.

For an employee to be truly considered a HIPO, they need to a proven performer with three distinguishing attributes:

  • The ambition and potential to rise to leadership roles
  • The ability to be more effective in more responsible and senior roles
  • The engagement to commit to remaining in challenging roles

Conversely, failing to retain these HIPOs can have dire implications, with recent findings suggesting that the average cost of replacing an employee through HR recruitment often exceeds 100% of the annual salary of the vacated position.  This is in addition to the ‘hidden’ costs associated with the loss of your top talent, such as other employees asking themselves ‘why’ high-performing individuals have opted to leave an organisation, and potentially following suit.  This in turn may result in a potential loss of productivity, general disengagement from the company, or even additional turnover.  Furthermore, it is often the case that the new, in-coming employee will be far less skilled than the HIPO worker that they are replacing, which has the potential to significantly impact on the company’s work chain.

Just as your highest performers continue to strive towards excellence, so to must HR managers and professionals when searching for new initiatives to further promote the long-term employment of their high potential employees.  Many practical organisations are striving to ensure retention of their top talent through the implementation of these Human Resource solutions.

1. Ongoing Training and Development

Employees want to have an idea as to how their career can develop/progress while at a company. This presents managers with numerous avenues to help retain their HIPOs. HIPO programs provide employees a myriad of ways to develop the core competencies required to ascend within an organisation.  

Training courses, coaching/mentoring, and online e-learning sessions make it clear to staff their futures are being invested in.  Task HIPOs with the most stimulating tasks that align with their passions and let them put their new skills to work.  This conveys a clear message to your high performers that they are the future of the company, and are able to move into more senior, leadership roles in the future.

2. Flexibility

With the rise of modern technology, gone are the typical 9 to 5 working days, which have instead been replaced by more fluid working practises, such as remote-working, online teams, and flexible work hours.  Such practises have now become so common that many employees have come to expect them as the norm, and may opt to leave a company which cannot make such accommodations.  

Employers should consider implementing more flexible working conditions wherever possible, to allow staff the chance to better balance their working and personal commitments.  Where this is simply not viable, the emphasis should instead be on educating employees as to why this is not an option, ensuring that they understand the reasons behind this, and thereby avoiding issues in the future.

3. Value Employees

Recognising the efforts of your HIPOs is a simple, yet effective means of showing your employees that you value and appreciate them.  When individuals feel as though their managers notice and value their contributions, this can serve to increase their overall motivation and loyalty to the company.  Organisational commitment and engagement are strong drivers that severely decrease the likelihood of turnover.  Wherever possible, managers should reward HIPOs for their hard work by promoting from within, as well as through letting staff know about upcoming roles for which they are ideally suited.  

4. Honest and Open Communication that Encourages Feedback

Barriers to effective communication and feedback between managers and employees are among the greatest contributors to individuals becoming frustrated in the workplace.  In order to retain top performers, managers should strive to do two things.  

Firstly, to provide constructive feedback to their employees (recent findings reported in the Harvard Business Review indicated that over 90% of survey respondents felt that performance feedback from managers was essential for improving performance).  

Secondly, they need to be willing to listen, really listen, to employee concerns.  Allowing time for consistent, face-to-face meetings with your staff, to promote the free exchange of feedback and ideas, can have a marked impact on talent retention.  This should therefore be considered with the utmost importance. 

5. Set Clear Expectations and Goals

Setting goals, and ensuring that your employees know what is expected of them, has been shown to promote greater staff retention.  Paint a picture for your top earners, one which shows what success in the company looks like.  Tailor goals specific to their level of skill and experience, so that they continually have realistic targets to strive towards. Ensure that your employees share your future vision for the company.

6. Link Work to Company Vision

Employees want to feel that what they do is making a difference, be that to the company itself, or to the industry as a whole.  In fact, recent findings suggest that over 40% of employees consider ‘meaningful work’ to be the primary motivator for them considering taking a job.  Your top talent need to know why they are doing the things they’re doing. By linking their roles and responsibilities with the overarching aims of the company, managers can set themselves apart from the competition, and promote greater company engagement amongst top operators.

These HR solutions are simple and easy to implement. Nonetheless they can play a pivotal role in retaining your top talent, ensuring the long-term profitability of your company.  After all, in the words of American business consultant Jim Collins, ‘great vision, without great people, is irrelevant’.

As noted above, a common psychological marker that can signify HIPO employees is Ambition. The use of a psychometric personality assessment can identify those within your organisation that have the drive to succeed.

The Business Personality Reflections® 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 specifically tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more information about the Ambition scale in the Business Personality Reflections®.


Ambition refers to an individual’s desire to achieve.  It is the willingness to obtain success in both workplace and personal settings.  Ambition itself embodies capitalistic and economic growth ideals: it is one of the foundations – and indeed a necessity – for economic prosperity.  Therefore, a business aspiring for growth needs employees aligned with similar motivation. 

A sample item for the Ambition scale that you may see in our questionnaires could be:

“I am constantly aware of the need to be better than my colleagues”.

Research has identified the importance of measuring employee ambition.  Firstly, Huang et al. (2014) conducted a meta-analysis which showed ambition – as an aspect of extraversion – to be predictive of adaptive workplace performance.  That is, ambitious individuals were more likely to easily adapt and thrive in changes within the workplace.  Similarly, Judge and Kammeyer-Mueller (2012) showed ambition to be positively associated with general mental ability (GMA).  GMA is in turn, predictive of job success (Hogan & Holland, 2003).

Oh, Kim and Van Iddenkinge (2015) found extraversion, a higher order factor of ambition, to be positively related to managerial job satisfaction and labour productivity.  They found extraversion to be indirectly related to firm financial performance – this effect was moderated (i.e. strengthened) - through labour productivity.  Most pertinently, however, Hogan and Holland (2003) found high levels of extraversion-ambition significantly predicted improved job performance.

Higher scorers on the Ambition scale are more likely to enjoy challenges and will pursue workplace goals shrewdly, particularly if such goals develop their career further.  
Conversely, low scorers likely value job security and reliability over career advancement and will complete allocated tasks satisfactorily.  However, they will not tend to exceed this standard, whereas high scorers will likely go beyond what is satisfactory. 
You might want to consider using the Ambition scale in your development and training processes if you need employees that: 

  • Are devoted to expanding the organisation
  • Uphold and enforce your company’s ideals
  • Have a willingness to go above and beyond the norm in order to achieve

Organisations consisting of ambitious employees will reap the benefits in workplace culture, employee job satisfaction and business growth.  If you were interested in learning more about the Ambition scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® Personality questionnaire, please simply enquire now for a free trial.

Managing Mental Health through Resilience in the Workplace

In Australia, mental illness severely impacts our society, both socially and economically.  How common is mental illness?  The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that roughly one in every five Australian adults, aged between 16 – 85 years will suffer from at least one of the most common forms of mental illness in any given year, whilst 45% will experience a mental health / substance-use disorder at some point in their lives.  As a consequence of poor mental health, a survey revealed that approximately 25% of employees missed work each year due to stress and related reasons.  In addition to the significant effect that poor mental health plays on the economy, it is also important for employers to realise that an unhealthy workplace environment is likely to cause undue stress and, therefore, contribute or even exacerbate the development of a mental illness.

In many organisations stress is the catalyst behind poor mental health, especially when it becomes excessive.  Managing stress is the key to maintaining healthy employees, which in turn contributes to a healthier business.  Managing stress in the workplace starts with awareness of the illness and the signs that indicate employees are struggling with the demands of the workplace.

Signs of stress in employees include:
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness / a lack of motivation
  • Lack of sleep / tiredness
  • Social withdrawal
  • A decline in work performance
  • Substance abuse
  • Emotional instability (for example, hot temper, uncontrollable laughing or crying).

Managing mental health in the workplace is not as simple as just making a few changes to the workplace environment; it demands a holistic approach. 

Kuntz, Malinen and Näswall (2017) have suggested organisational resilience is essential to mitigate the harmful effects of workplace stress. From their perspective, resilience is an organisation’s capacity to continually develop resources and identify opportunities to increase competitive advantage, not only in the aftermath of a crisis but also in stable environments to ensure preparedness for change and challenges.

With this in mind, strategies to manage mental health need to provide a buffer to stressors and provide enough flexibility to help when an employee’s circumstances make life too stressful. Improvements to both organisational and employee resilience can be easily implemented through workplace initiatives.

Examples of these organisational strategies include:

Limit extra working hours: Statistics show that 5 million Australians are working more than 40 hours per week. It is inevitable that on occasion employees will need to work longer to complete projects, but where possible, keep employees to reasonable hours. 

Schedule meetings only during primary work hours: this helps to put employees at ease knowing that their non-working hours are protected and are free to plan as they please.

Encourage regular breaks: Encourage employees to take some time to walk, stretch and leave the workplace during lunch in order to feel more ‘refreshed’.  A small break once an hour or an afternoon tea break can help recharge staff.

Minimise taking work home: this is important for maintaining that ‘work-life balance’ for overall mental health and well-being.

Encourage flexibility in working conditions: flexible locations, flexible hours, flexible rostering and flexible working patterns all help by tailoring the work to the style which best suits the employee.  

Frequently offer EAP: Employee Assistance Programs can greatly improve mental health and should be provided to employees as an option as much as possible.

Another way to help manage stress in the workplace is through ensuring the physical health of employees. That includes getting appropriate sleep and having healthy and nutritional meals.  Since 2009, research by the Food & Mood Centre concluded that ‘better quality diets are consistently associated with reduced depression risk, while unhealthy dietary patterns are associated with increased depression and anxiety’.

Employers could consider initiatives that take care of employee health such as providing regular healthy snacks, or even free gym memberships. Supplying employees with pedometers, water bottles, and other such items can further support well-being initiatives, and allows organisations to emblazon those items with the company logo.

As for having a good night’s sleep, the Sleep Health Foundation conclude that ‘poor sleep and depression are very closely linked’ and that research shows that ‘60-90% of patients with depression have insomnia’. A lack of sleep can contribute to overall depression and stress, and sometimes it can turn into a vicious cycle, as depression often leads to disruptions in sleep. Sleep is the body’s way of repairing and recovering itself for the next day, as well as allowing time for the brain to process and learn information. Help employees to self-monitor their sleep through awareness of mobile applications that track sleep cycles.
There is a vast amount of information and resources out there to help individuals and employees to cope with stress. 

It is important to encourage employees who are suffering to explore what’s out there and become involved in support groups which assist in maintaining a positive and balanced mental health.  Heads up is a website developed by beyondblue based on helping to assist in delivering ‘better mental health in the workplace’ and has workplace resources targeted to employers, employees, managers, as well as small business owners.  They include a support network and there is an option to register and become part of the Heads up community.

Education regarding these options and other means of improving mental health is vital to the maintenance of employee wellbeing.  An example of an effective program that drew the attention of many Australian organisations last year was the ‘Are You Okay? day which asked employees to discuss mental health with co-workers.

An advocate of this event, organisational psychologist Greg Nathan, wrote an article outlining ways employees could self-manage and maintain a mentally balanced mindset.  His seven simple strategies are listed below:
1.    Identify the types of activities that draw on your natural interests and strengths, and give you a deep sense of joy and satisfaction.  (For me it is learning new things and being creative).  Spend some time each week doing these types of activities.
2.    Before you go to sleep each night, ask yourself “What are three things that went well today and why?”  Tell your partner or write these down.  This will help to put you in a good frame of mind, short circuit any negative thought patterns and improve the quality of your sleep.
3.    Remind yourself why you do the things you do.  Staying in touch with a bigger sense of purpose will help to reduce the inevitable frustrations associated with short term setbacks, and give you the motivation to keep going when the going gets tough.  Your business and your work probably make a positive difference in many ways to the lives of your staff, customers and, of course, your family.
4.    Avoid engaging with people who are negative and cynical, and stay connected with positive people who genuinely care about you.  The people we associate with have a huge impact on our state of mind and what we focus on.
5.    Make an effort to be curious, helpful and encouraging when dealing with other people.  Not only might this help others, the act of being helpful is also beneficial to the brain of the helper.  This is known as the helper’s high.
6.    Do something specific at the end of the day that helps you to separate your work time from your personal life.  For instance, you might change your clothes, listen to or play some music, walk the dog, play with your kids, have a shower or do some exercise.  Put your attention totally into this activity.  This is sometimes called a transition ritual.
7.    Now this may sound corny but it works.  Remind yourself of the things you can be grateful for.  Expressing gratitude to others is also recommended as it puts you and them in a more positive frame of mind, and will encourage them to keep supporting you.  This can be a simple email, phone call or text.  If you have managed a project with my team you may have received a thank you card.  We enjoy writing these cards as much as you enjoy getting them.

Managers can look to encourage employees to take up some of these practices to aid in mental health management, along with our own recommendations, to develop a culture of mental safety and awareness.  Ideally, these techniques will not only reduce stress and the dangers of mental illness in your workplace, but foster emotional resilience, a personality trait that is seeing increasing use in selection and development assessment.
Recent reviews of resilience initiatives suggest that approaches to resilience development that focus on stress and well-being may improve coping skills and other personal resources essential to improving employee resilience, but fall short of addressing the contextual factors that promote or hinder resilience capability.
Unfortunately, some employees simply do not have the capacity to manage stress. Subsequently, ascertaining stress and well-being levels among employees through personality assessment is essential to determining whether they have the personal resources to engage in resilient behaviours for future stressors.

The Business Personality Reflections® is one such 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® Emotional Resilience scale.

Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience is described as the ability to deal with adverse situations and adapt appropriately to these environmental changes.  Additionally, emotional resilience refers to one’s composure, self-sufficiency and calmness through stressful situations.  The Emotional Resilience scale measures an individual’s ability to handle challenging situations, and further, in what manner they handle this.  As workplaces can be unpredictable, emotional resilience is essential in coping with inevitable daily stressors – particularly in high stress environments.

A sample item for the Emotional Resilience scale that you may see on the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire could be:

‘Even when things reach crisis point, I stay calm and collected.’ 

A literature review conducted by Jackson et al. (2007) found nurses high in personal and emotional resilience were less vulnerable to workplace adversity, which in turn improved their overall well-being and workplace performance.  Furthermore, research has shown a significant, negative association between psychological distress and emotional resilience (Kinman & Grant, 2011).  That is, the more emotionally resilient an individual is, the less likely they are to have unpleasant feelings or emotions that impact their daily functioning.  Moreover, McGarry et al. (2013) found levels of depression, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD were negatively associated with high resilience in healthcare professionals.  Lastly, emotional resilience has been indicated as a predictor in improved staff retention (Kinman & Grant, 2011).

Organisations who hire individuals with strong emotional resilience are likely to have clear-thinking, confident and well-rounded employees.

If you would like to learn more about the Emotional Resilience scale or the Business Personality Reflections®, simply enquire now for a free trial.  

As we close on 2017, HR leaders have a chance to look forward and size up the novel challenges of the New Year. Over the next 12 months businesses may find themselves needing to adapt to these trends or risk falling behind the competition. Unsurprisingly technology will continue to drive the future of the work. Data science has made massive strides as of late; consider that over the last few years 90% of the world’s data has been produced. With this in mind, what do we see as the major trends for 2018?

A larger focus on upskilling and retraining of employees

happy holidays

Technology continues to play a larger and larger role in the workforce. Therefore organisations need to move at speed to adjust to a growing skills gap. There are presently 201,300 job openings in Australia that are unfilled, a 14% increase from the previous year. This skills gap has been trending up for the past three years, and will only continue to grow as the roles of the past fall to the wayside. According to researchers John Seely Brown and Professor Peter Denning, the half-life of a learned skill is only 5 years – that is, much of what you learned 10 years has become irrelevant, and half of what you learned 5 years ago is obsolete. As more industries become disrupted by changing technologies, the need to upskill employees to meet demands will become apparent.

Luckily, thanks to those same technologies, upskilling and retraining programs will also become far cheaper to conduct. While the learning domain has been slow to utilise technology, expect a push towards direct and immediately applicable teachings. Big portions of material will be divided into more easily digestible pieces (micro learning), with immediate access as needs arise. Gamification practices will also ensure learning occurs in a more playful and engaging manner. As VR devices become increasingly mainstream, the capacity of organisations to create novel learning practices will only grow.

Flexible working arrangements

happy holidays

Working virtually continues to trend as a flexible alternative to accommodate employees in maintaining a work/life balance. Over the past two decades in the US the amount of employees working at least partially through telecommuting has quadrupled and now stands at 37%. A large driver of this stems from the development of VPN technology that makes it easy to access work systems from nearly any computer. Given the majority of workers have stated they want this flexibility as part of their work week, companies that shift to this approach have a sizable advantage in attracting talent over fellow competitors. We expect more organisations will adopt initiatives such as ‘Work from Home Wednesday’, to break up the work week and enable employees to more easily tend to personal needs and appointments outside of the office.

Wellness outside the office

happy holidays

More and more HR departments are recognising the value of work/life balance. Many are now implementing policies that limit the checking of email and work product while out of the office and/or on paid time off. They are also looking to encourage staff to use personal days where needed to ensure when they are at work, staff are refreshed and effective.

HR departments are also emphasising ways to mitigate stress in the office. Personal and financial stress has always found ways to creep into work, but companies are now looking to create initiatives to better manage employee stress. In many organisations stress is the catalyst behind poor mental health, especially when it becomes excessive. Managing stress is the key to having healthy employees, which in turn contributes to a healthier business. Employee Assistance Programs should see increased use as an option to cope with these demands.

Blind hiring practices

happy holidays

The traditional interview process of the past will continue to transform as organisations become further aware of the dangers of bias. Scandal has rocked several major organisations in 2017, with Google being only one of many companies accused of gender bias discrepancies in the workplace. To protect equality and minimise controversy blind hiring practices should become the norm. In standard screening and interviewing unconscious biases can quickly become a factor in hiring by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate’s background: data such as gender, age, and race. By converting hiring to a blind process, stripping away information that can reveal demographic data, the first waves of screening can be done purely based on abilities and achievements. This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit, and will not only make the process more candidate friendly, but more predictive as well.

Future proofing employees

happy holidays

Politicians often speak at length about the return of jobs in manufacturing and manual labour, but the hard truth is that those positions are going away in the face of evolving technology. Universally, artificial intelligence is going to change the way we work. Over the next 30 years, automation will affect every job in Australia, but the workers whose jobs are the most susceptible to automation work in construction, trades, food preparation and cleaning. Where does this leave the human work force? In 2018 it is up to organisations to re-examine their human resources and determine the best way to pivot employees into future positions. HR professionals will need to be able to identify the staff that are willing and capable of embracing different aspects of jobs, such as management, problem solving, troubleshooting and other areas that require the human element. The long-term savings will be substantial for organisations that plan ahead and maximise the human potential of their current workforces.

With 2018 is just around the corner, it is clear that these technology-driven trends are going to have a significant impact on the HR industry sooner rather than later. Savvy organisations have the ability to invest time and resources now in order to get ahead of the game. Hit the ground running in the New Year and prepare for the future today.

Culture is a primary factor in any organisation’s long-term success; it is one of the main assets of a company that remains stable and consistent in the face of constant change.  A company’s culture includes the policies, systems and processes, as well as, shared beliefs and experiences that demonstrate its values.  Organisational psychology guru, Adrian Furnham, defined cultural fit in an organisation as “congruence between the norms and values of the organisation and those of a person”.  Cultural fit is a valued concept as it ties the values of the individual to the values and vision of the organisation.  Employees hired based on their culture fit with the organisation are found to have increased happiness, loyalty to their company, as well as, higher productivity and levels of commitment when sharing similar values to an organisation.  

Now think about your own organisation. It may be that some of your current employees express characteristics, language and values that exist within the current organisational culture.  However, you may find that other employees do not have the same experiences and attitudes, and may be working towards different goals in your organisation.  Diversity in opinions and people is very important, however, individuals that are not culturally fitted may find it more difficult to become part of the organisational team, may take longer to contribute than others, and may not stay as long.

Employees who fail to fit within the environment are more likely to leave and find an organisation more congruent to their views and beliefs.  According to the Society for Human Resource Management, employee turnover caused by poor cultural recruiting costs half to two-thirds of an employee’s annual salary.  The costs of turnover and importance of cultural recruiting are too significant to ignore.  Thus, it is very important to establish cultural fit as a goal from the beginning to the end of the hiring process for both the employer and the prospective employee.

Not only are costs avoided through successful cultural recruiting; competitive advantage as a company can be gained.  If recruitment and selection procedures can successfully measure an employee’s cultural views and beliefs, you will be hiring people that will fulfil the current cultural environment of your company.  Thus, performance, productivity and profits will increase and value will be added to the workplace; while competitors continue to contribute to higher turnover rates with unsuitable employee recruitment processes.  This was demonstrated in a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where James Collins and Jerry Porras studied eighteen US companies that remained at the top of each of their industries for more than fifty years.  It was found that these organisations placed a large emphasis on hiring, developing and managing employees based on the cultural fit each business wanted to achieve.  Consequently, employees thrived in their environments and retention rates were greatly increased.  Success for an organisation can be confidently attributed to using cultural fit to hire people today that will drive the future for your organisation tomorrow.  

With all this taken into consideration, how can you better identify candidates during the recruitment and selection process that fit the culture of your organisation?  Here are six practices to enable your organisation to continue growing successfully:

Communicate company values
To recruit candidates with similar values to the organisation, it is important to communicate company values as early as possible.  When company values are accessible, candidates have a clear idea of what the company expects and whether they can contribute to enhancing these values as a new employee.  Candidates value an honest and real-world representation of the organisation’s morals and ethics, and can pre-evaluate whether to apply for the role.  This will, in turn, reduce recruitment and interview time for Human Resource managers, increasing efficiency in their roles and lowering unnecessary training and turnover costs that competitors are facing.  Some clients request that Psych Press place their values ‘upfront’ when creating an online recruitment platform, with a checkbox to indicate they have been understood.

Personality assessment
Resume screening is a useful tool in shortlisting candidates.  However, large amounts of evidence, such as from Harvard Business School, suggest the reliability of resume reading as a screening process in isolation is akin to tossing a coin.  Worse, it is seen as a major source of bias and reason for a lack of diversity.  Personality testing can increase reliability and fairness dramatically to help narrow the recruiting focus to only candidates with the required competencies suitable for the company, where they can then be further interviewed.  Results from personality, values and attitude assessments provide concrete and unbiased metrics to judge candidates equally in relation to both a role and the organisation.  Candidate work ethics can be gauged via the results too.  A psychometric scale examining candidates’ level of diligence is much more likely to differentiate people than an interview question that may induce a common answer.  The use of the psychometric assessment in recruitment processes avoids the hiring of unsuitable employees, as well as the turnover costs that come with these unreliable decisions.

Ask alternative questions
Be unconventional and ask questions which help in determining if a candidate is culturally suitable for the company.  Ask questions surrounding their ideal workplace, what problems they have faced in other workplaces, how they resolved them and ways in which they define an employee who would be successful in differing organisational environments.  These unexpected and thought-provoking questions are vital in assessing the candidate’s view, values, and problem-solving skills in an organisation.  Unconventional questions require candidates to respond without practiced, formalised answers and provide a more realistic impression of their capabilities.

Listen to the candidate speak
The right opportunity to allow the candidate to speak and ask questions is by giving them time at the end of the interview.  When the candidate can lead the conversation, this provides a rare insight into their personality, and what interests and queries they hold about the organisation.  For example, candidates who appear more inquisitive and intrigued may value learning and intricate details.  Initiating conversation is more challenging than answering common questions during an interview, thus attributes such as confidence and quick-thinking can be evaluated.  Such information is likely to be a useful gauge as to whether the candidate is a suitable fit for the company. 

Expose candidates to company culture
With a final short-list or with your preferred candidate, it may be possible to present them with the cultural aspects of the company through exposing them directly to the everyday life in the organisation.  Try bringing them around the office, introducing them to managers and employees of different divisions, exposing them to interactions and meetings required throughout the day, allowing them to listen into phone calls, inviting them for lunch and/or even giving them an introductory trial run on the job.  This opportunity allows the candidate to gain a rich understanding of the company’s expectations in its cultural environment, as well as giving insight into how comfortable the candidate is amongst other employees.  This exposure in the last steps of the recruitment process is rare among competitors, and will create good press through exceptional candidate care.  The staff they interact with in this context could also have perceptions of the candidate they may care to share.

Ensure fairness
To enable the accurate identification of candidates that fit the culture of your organisation, the recruitment and selection process needs to be fair and equal.  It is known that aspects of a candidate’s identity, such as their ethnicity, age, gender identity and possible disabilities may shape the expectations and behaviours of the interviewer and the ultimate outcome of the interview.  This is due to reliance on inexplicit criteria and subjective judgements. To ensure objective comparability when comparing candidates, unbiased assessments are crucial.  They enable candidates to be measured without undue interviewer influence, providing reliable and valid results.

Without taking into consideration a candidate’s cultural fit before hiring, you risk damaging the companies’ culture by selecting employees who are inconsistent with current values and beliefs, creating unnecessary costs in turnover and missing out on opportunities to grow.  By ensuring candidates are appropriate for your organisation’s environment, recruitment time and resources are decreased while competitive advantage is gained through the increased efficiency of diligent employees. 

Diligence is a vital personality attribute required by employees on all levels and a powerful predictor of values towards work ethic. The use of a psychometric personality assessment can support the selection process by identifying ideal, dedicated candidates.

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, you’ll find more information about the Business Personality Reflections® Diligence scale.


Diligence refers to an individual’s capacity to set goals and their motivation to achieve these goals.  The Diligence scale in the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire was designed to measure an individual’s industriousness.  Diligent individuals will set high standards and work meticulously to attain these standards.  A diligent person in the workplace will not only produce greater quantities of work, but will also produce work of a higher quality.  Those who are not as diligent are less inclined to set goals and are less likely to complete set tasks by certain deadlines.

A sample item for the Diligence scale that you may see on the Business Personality Reflections® could be:

“I believe one will achieve more if they set higher goals”

High scorers on this scale tend to be individuals who are more likely to be motivated to achieve set goals on both an individual and organisational level.  These individuals are also more likely to continue to maintain their drive to work hard in spite of external challenges.  Low scores on this scale are indicative of individuals who are less likely to have the self-control to continue to strive towards a set goal in the face of difficulties.

Diligence is an important factor in predicting work performance.  Work ethic, or the capacity to work diligently, has been found to be a predictor of salesforce task performance (Ntayi, 2008). Furthermore, diligence was shown to be an important factor in successful work performance for graduates (Quek, 2005).  Employees who are conscientiousness (the higher order factor of diligence) are also less likely to feel job dissatisfaction and psychological distress in roles that have a high degree of ambiguity (Miller, Griffin, & Hart, 1999).  Organisations that recruit a diligent individual can better ensure deliverables due to their hardworking nature.  Diligence should be a staple trait that employers should seek if they require driven individuals who will deliver results regardless of the environment they work in. 

You might consider using the Business Personality Reflections® Diligence scale in positions that have:
  • Frequent time-restrictive deadlines
  • Individually-orientated projects that require personal motivation
  • Minimal supervision demanding individual self-reliance and responsibility
  • Intensive periods of difficult or tedious tasks that demand accuracy

As organisations need diligent employees to ensure deliverables, you can maximise your organisation’s potential by utilising the Business Personality Reflections® either as a standalone traditional assessment, or as part of an online recruitment screening platform developed by Psych Press.  If you would like to learn more about the Diligence scale or the Business Personality Reflections®, please simply enquire now for a free trial.