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
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.

A brief guide to competencies, what they are, and how to use them 

Imagine you are preparing to interview a candidate, what attributes or qualities are you looking to identify, what skills do you expect to improve your organisation?

Competencies are the behaviours that enable employees to act effectively in their position. They encompass the knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics that distinguish capability. Understanding competencies helps determine and measure organisational success and individual performance.
There are two broad types of competencies: behavioural and functional competencies.

Behavioural competencies are known as the ‘soft skills’. Soft skills underlie many key performance indicators and describe ‘how’ someone approaches a task or problem.  These are innately subjective and built up over time. They can include competencies such as: self-management, communication, customer-orientation, strategic thinking, confidence, professionalism, stress management, and integrity.

In sales roles, the behavioural competency ‘customer-orientation’ is highly valued. This competency ensures that the needs of the consumer are always first in the eyes of employees. However it can be difficult to define whether a person is ‘customer-oriented’.  

Functional competencies are known as the technical skills. Technical skills are specific to departments or types of job, and are required to fulfil employee duties and responsibilities.

A functional competency in an IT role might be to operate pivot tables in an Excel spreadsheet, or to consolidate accounts in a Finance Accountant role.

An effective workforce possesses both behavioural and functional competencies. Both support an organisation’s strategic advantage in achieving its mission and vision against competitors.
Problematically, the modern educational system produces graduates that have academic credentials, but lack the competencies to effectively adapt to the changing world of work. John Taylor Gatto, an educational historian, warned that graduates aren’t taught the necessary competencies that maximise corporate advantage. He cited the Harvard Business School, which provides 10 essential qualities that employees need to succeed in the rapidly shifting work environment.
  1. The ability to define problems without a guide.
  2. The ability to ask hard questions which challenge prevailing assumptions.
  3. The ability to quickly assimilate needed data from masses of irrelevant information.
  4. The ability to work in teams without guidance.
  5. The ability to work absolutely alone.
  6. The ability to persuade others that your course is the right one.
  7. The ability to conceptualize and reorganize information into new patterns.
  8. The ability to discuss ideas with an eye toward application.
  9. The ability to think inductively, deductively and dialectically.
  10. The ability to attack problems heuristically.
Organisations should strive to identify and foster these qualities in their employees. These abilities are examples of the ‘soft skill competencies’ that drive organisational value. For instance, ’The ability to work in teams without guidance’, aligns with the conscientiousness self-management competency described below, and predicts organisational success. Paired with more functional role training, the organisational benefits of these soft skills skyrocket.

Understanding competencies is the first step that allows savvy HR managers to get the best out of their staff. It is however, only half the battle. We also need to how to effectively use them.

Now that we know what competencies are, how do we use them?

Before you can begin to use competencies in your organisation, a competency model needs to be developed. A competency model is a diagnostic tool designed by selecting the core skills that are required for someone to be successful in their organisation and position.

The scale model approach is a popular method that organises competencies on a scale. This can help hiring managers better discriminate between individuals’ relative strengths and weaknesses. To do this we select competencies to test and rate individuals on a scale of how well they appear to possess it. Possible scales might rate competencies from 1 to 10, or compare candidates to company averages. For the 10 behavioural competencies we just outlined, we could easily create a competency scale model that compares candidates against employees, or averages across the organisation. A comparison with a company’s average ensures organisational growth, as candidate competencies can be aligned with organisational goals.

How would a HR manager use competencies at work?

HR managers should use competencies to align future candidates with the business’s strategic objectives. Matching competencies and roles allows the measurement of performance and productivity, and the development of a human resource strategy.
  • Recruitment, Training, and Development
Using diagnostic tools in the recruitment, training, and development of employees is a means of ensuring staff are capable workers. An early assessment of competencies will identify the areas where a candidate excels, and has room to improve. This helps to ensure consistency in recruitment, and provides objective measures of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. It also provides a legal defence against recruitment processes being challenged when they are not linked with required standards and are not consistently applied across candidates. When new employees are on-boarded, HR managers can develop training schemes designed to improve specific competencies.
  • Setting Clear Behavioural Expectations
Knowing employee strengths and weaknesses means that they can be directed to areas in which they can best contribute their skills within an organisation. A smart HR manager will promote and reinforce positive behaviours that are consistent with the organisational mission and culture. Employees are likely to become more consistent and are more likely to adhere to the behavioural expectations presented by management.
  • Simplifying HR Operations
When competencies are measured, HR can quickly react to organisational demands, such as skill-gaps and development needs. Organisational programs can be devised to maximise their return on investment.
  • Happy and Valued Employees are Productive and Cost-Effective
Employees are generally happier and feel more fulfilled when their competencies match their positions, ensuring that they are more engaged with their responsibilities and goals. Likewise, the feelings of value and recognition are improved in positions paired with a person’s competencies, acting as a further motivator for performance.

Using competencies within the workplace provides numerous advantages for HR managers. Their appropriate use will ensure more productive, efficient, and co-operative organisations.

Sometimes competencies are clearly personality based. For example, in health-care environments, empathy and compassion will clearly positively impact the patient experience.

When competencies are personality-based, a personality questionnaire will efficiently and inexpensively provide a scaled competency assessment.

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® Self-Management Scale. 

Self-Management or Conscientiousness

Self-Management is described as the ability to work in a productive, efficient, and goal-orientated manner. It requires persistence, self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility. The Self-Management scale in the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire measures the capacity of individuals to adopt and work towards organisational goals. Individuals who score highly on this factor are likely to be dedicated, proficient, and organised. Employees who have self-management characteristics present a sizable competitive advantage as they will multi-task, show self-discipline, and strive harder than others to help the organisation succeed.

The results of various studies and meta-analyses (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Hough, Eaton, Dunnette, Kamp & McCloy, 1990; Salgado, 1997; Tett, Jackson & Rothstein, 1991; Vinchur, Schippmann, Sweizer & Roth, 1998) showed that various big five personality dimensions are related to job performance. Barrick and Mount (1991) and Salgado (1997) found that conscientiousness is one of the best predictors of job performance in the USA and Europe. De Fruyt and Mervielde (1999), Tokar and Subich (1997), Schneider (1999) and Vinchur et al. (1998) concluded that Extraversion and Conscientiousness predict job performance in various occupations. (Bolding added) (Cited from Rothmann & Coetzer, 2003).

Self-management can also counteract the effects of social loafing, which damages team performance. Social loafers put in less effort on group tasks because they believe they can hide laziness within crowds, but self-managed employees have the skills to compensate and ensure deliverables arrive on time.
A sample item for the self-management factor that you may see on our questionnaires could be “I make decisions quickly and effectively.”

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

· You don’t have the time or resources to be ‘looking over shoulders’.

· Tasks require a degree of quick decision-making or perfection.

· New employee should be delivering value shortly after being hired.

· You have several tasks with ‘ambiguous’ goals, time frames or boundaries.

Organisations need employees with self-management skills to perform well. Find and develop the right people for your organisational to maintain your competitive advantage.

If you were interested in learning more about the self-management scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® Personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for a free trial.
offboarding employees


The right way to say good-bye...

It’s never easy saying goodbye to an employee, is it? While the recruitment process is all positivity and good first impressions, the off-boarding process can suffer from awkward emotions, (and possibly) fiery tempers, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Off-boarding is a somewhat new term which describes how to effectively manage the process of departure for an employee exiting an organisation. 

An effective off-boarding strategy involves more than processing paperwork and logistics. When you off-board employees properly, you are aiming to create brand ambassadors that will improve your ability to attract the best employees in the market now and into the future.

Most people think of the employee life-cycle as linear, but it is in fact circular. Your off-boarding strategy will impact your recruiting strategy directly, so you’ll want to make sure that it is seamless and stress-free so you and your employees get the best experience possible.  Here are 9 steps to a successful off-boarding which you may find useful:

1.     Use the ‘12 stranger litmus test’. This test is a philosophy which gives you an outside perspective on your organisation and processes. To do this you must consider what 12 strangers would think about your off-boarding experience. This can often be an important first step in understanding how individuals’ with no insider understanding of your organisation would judge the fairness of your off-boarding strategy. This test is a useful strategy to help you evaluate your current off-boarding procedures to make sure they are fair. 

2.     Don’t panic or give in to emotional reactions. The employee has their reasons for leaving so engage them with respect and understanding – this will encourage employees to feel more comfortable in providing honest feedback in the off-boarding process. If employees feel that their opinions and recommendations are respected and acknowledged by your organisation, then they are more likely to spread positive word of mouth. The off-boarding process can be an emotional time for you and the departing employee, so remain calm and collected. DON’T make impulsive counter offers to keep them at your company by any means, and DON’T accuse them of disloyalty. 

3.     Construct a timeline. Here is your chance to lay out a plan that will best suit you and the departing employee. Establish a clear timeline in advance which details: who will be replacing them, and what strategies can be applied to make their exit process a smooth transition.

4.     Set up an apprenticeship learning program. If you have constructed an effective timeline, you will be able to have the replacement working with the departing employee as an apprentice. This cross-over means that valuable training, intellectual property, and know-how can be passed onto the new recruit. Professor Dorothy Leonard of Harvard Business School notes that many departing employees have critical business and experienced based knowledge, so it’s important not to lose that knowledge in the off-boarding process. Although you cannot “clone” an employee, an effective apprenticeship program will allow the replacement to identify what is required of the job and how the previous employee matched those requirements.

5.     Set up a Q & A. If you are short on time and cannot appoint a replacement, Professor Leonard recommends a Q & A meeting between the departing employee and the rest of the team to allow the employee a chance to share their experience with your company.

6.     The exit interview. The exit interview is your best chance to understand whether there are, if any, ineffective procedures within your workplace. To discover any ineffective procedures, engage the employee in a positive atmosphere that allows the employee to be candid about their feedback towards the company. Focus not only on why the employee is leaving, but on what improvements could be made to the company from the former employee’s perspective. By granting the employee a chance to speak honestly about their time at your company, you allow closure for the employee, and a higher likelihood of them becoming your brand ambassador.

7.     Remove access to company assets. Following the exit interview, make sure you remove the departing employee’s access to any company assets. Failure to do so may lead to theft of intellectual property and assets. Remembering this step is an absolute must.

8.     Create an alumni group. Creating an alumni group can cultivate positive employee relations and job opportunities. Leonard also notes that departing employees are taking the next step in the careers – this increases the likelihood of them feeling good about the place they’re leaving from. If departing employees are thought of as ‘alumni’, there is a greater chance that they will have positive feelings about the place that they have left.

9.     Provide additional outgoing services. By providing career workshop sessions, mock interview sessions, and outplacement support teams, employees will leave the company knowing they were treated fairly and with respect. Showing employees that you are willing to support their career change will increase the likelihood of them promoting the procedures of your company.

An effective off-boarding strategy aims to benefit you and the departing employee. Remember, the employee lifecycle is circular and just because an employee is leaving, it doesn’t mean it is the end.


By following these steps, you are giving your company the best chance to improve your brand reputation, and attract talent later down the line. If you ever get stuck, just keep this final thought in mind: if you were the departing employee, how would you like to be said good-bye to?