In completing any university degree, the main outcome for most graduates is employment. The current statistics in Australia bode well for achieving these graduate outcomes, with just under 72% of new bachelor’s degree graduates who were seeking full-time employment finding a position within four months after completing their course. While this is a fairly high number, it still means that around 1 in 4 graduates are unable to secure a position after graduating. As well as this, full time employment in graduate roles has dropped by almost 20% in ten years, creating an oversaturated employment pool.

So, how do employers decide which three graduates they will hire and which one they won’t?

Employability Capabilities

Employability refers to the set of skills, understandings and personal attributes which can improve the likelihood that graduates will gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupation. Also referred to as ‘soft’ or ‘transferable’ skills, employability describes skills that develop outside the academic knowledge learned through completing a degree yet are still considered extremely important by employers.

As digital practices push employees towards a gig economy, graduates have to ensure they possess the necessary skills to thrive in this competitive marketplace. Current graduates are expected to have at least 5 different jobs over their lifetime, two of which don’t even exist yet. In the past, the technical skills taught at university could set graduates up for their career. Presently, the half-life of any learned skill is 5 years, meaning that the majority of content taught at universities is obsolete 10 years after graduating. In fact, it is predicted that 40% of university degrees will soon be outdated.

As employees are only likely to spend an average of 5 years at one job, it is important for employers to assess their soft skills quickly, to determine whether they will create a positive change in the environment in a much shorter timeframe.

These 9 core behavioural competencies have become a staple of many capability frameworks, with organisations placing a greater emphasis on their presence in biodata, interviewing processes and psychometrics, than grades or even prior experience.

 Graduate Employability Capability Framework

·         Communication – this is the ability to listen to and understand written and verbal information, as well as being assertive and able to establish networks. A good display of these skills is being able to adapt one’s writing to the varying needs of different audiences.

·         Teamwork – this involves successfully working with a variety of different people and developing productive working relationships and outcomes. Graduates with these skills can define their role and strengths within a team and are not afraid to give feedback to other team members.

·         Problem-Solving – this is the ability to apply one’s skills and develop innovative, practical solutions to a range of problems. It involves the initiative to independently identify problems, as well as solving them.

·         Openness to change – this denotes a candidates ability to adapt to new work environments with ease and confidence. This factor is becoming more important as the workforce develops technologically.

·         Self-Management – this is a graduate’s ability to evaluate and monitor their own performances, and to develop personal visions and long-term goals for their future. It is taking responsibility for their career trajectory and having confidence in their ideas and vision.

·         Planning and Organising – this involves both short-term and long-term planning of one’s workplace or project goals. It is the ability of a graduate to manage their time and priorities and coordinate tasks for themselves and others, as well as adapting resources to cope with any possibility.

·         Technical Acumen– this refers to both a graduate’s range of basic IT skills, and a willingness to learn new IT skills where needed. It involves being aware of how technology impacts their field of work and ensuring their skills with key technologies stay up-to-date.

·         Learning Orientation – this skill refers to an enthusiasm to continue learning new knowledge beyond the completion of a degree. It involves acknowledging that there is always a need to learn more, being open to new ideas and techniques, and being prepared to invest time and effort into learning new skills.

·         Strategic Thinking – this final skill involves the ability to develop a strategic, creative, long-term vision for a project. This can include generating multiple options and innovative solutions, translating new ideas into action, and adapting to new situations where needed.

Why these skills are important

In today’s market, simply having a degree is not enough to guarantee graduates a job. Instead, it is a box on application that is ticked off, and thus is no longer differentiating the good graduates from the subpar. Given how education (and its consequent debt) is becoming more expensive (exacerbated by the recent changes to FEE-HELP repayment thresholds), it is more important for graduates to obtain a rewarding job and make their university debt money well spent. Fostering employability skills has become the most important priority for students and is one that they do not feel is achieved enough in the classroom.

As universities struggle to keep up with the needs of employers, candidates are tasked with developing these skills themselves, which makes accurately analysing them in the employment process all too important for long term gain for the organisation.

Which universities do it best?

Most of the top ten universities in Australia have higher employability than they have employment rates – that is to say, universities are perceived to be able to produce a far greater number employable people than they do in reality. The best universities are taking charge of this by encouraging students to learn more soft skills while at the institutions. Research universities have access to highly regarded alumni networks to establish connections with old students, while technical universities have strong ties with industry leaders and mentorship programs.

Overall, Australian universities are some of the best in the world for employment, regardless of whether the institution is technical or research. Employment and employability are growing, as students and institutions realise the value of promoting and endorsing these skills. There is still a way to go, but the results are positive, and the future is bright.

The need to grow and adapt in the modern workforce is placing an increased emphasis on the transferable soft skills that graduates possess. If universities wish to ensure their graduates employability, matching their learning outcomes to modern competency frameworks is a must. 

Psych Press’s Business Personality Reflections® (BPR) questionnaire is a key way to deduce which skills a potential employee has, and how they will suit the work environment. While employee longevity becomes shorter, it is important to find a candidate who can make a positive change, in a shorter time.

The BPR measures a multitude of relevant, modern competencies for the growing workplace, and allows employers to predict their effect from square one.

Employability skills make a huge difference to both individuals and organisations and discovering whether this person has the drive to change is the key to finding the right fit.

One of the most relevant and demanded skills that the BPR measures is Openness to Change. You can read more about this scale below:

Openness to change measures an individual’s ability to adapt to varying situations, and their capacity to adopt new and different ways to manage tasks or solve problems. That is, individuals’ willingness to accept new ideas or procedures as opposed to those which are familiar. The openness to change scale identifies individuals’ ability to be flexible in their thinking and solve problems effectively.

Due to the ever-changing and increasingly innovative workplace, an employees’ ability to adapt and change where necessary is vital to an organisations prosperity.

A sample item for the Openness to Change scale that may be seen on our questionnaire could be: “I enjoy pushing traditional boundaries”.

Openness to change improves various workplace outcomes. Studies examining employee openness to organisational change found that job satisfaction was found to be positively associated with openness to change. Additionally, meta-analyses in other studies showed various tests (106 effect sizes, N= 28,402) that found job characteristics such as complexity, autonomy and task significance were predictive of change-orientated behaviour in the workplace, which in turn produced better workplace engagement. Interestingly, it has been found that staff retention is positively associated with openness to change. That is, those high in openness to change were individuals who held longer-term job positions than those low in openness to change. Indeed, lower job turnover has endless benefits for organisations, such as cost cutting on recruitment. Employees high in openness to change had higher levels of organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). OCB denotes the extent to which employees commit to their organisation beyond that of their contractual tasks. Simply put, it is the ‘above and beyond’ workplace attitude that is predicted by openness to change, which thus improves individuals long term contributions to the organisation.

Individuals who score highly on the Openness to Change scale are likely to think critically, drive innovation, and perhaps question, challenge, or offer improvements to established procedures. Also, highly scoring individuals will likely experiment and develop new and different methods of problem-solving. 

You may consider using the Openness to Change scale in your recruiting and development process if you want to identify candidates that:

·         Are flexible, open, and critical in their thinking
·         Effectively problem-solve
·         Strive for innovation
·         Challenge convention and improve the status-quo

Organisations can greatly benefit from employees that are open to change. Such workers will likely think critically, remain at their job long-term, and contribute to their organisation in ways beyond the average employee. 

Thanks to our ever-increasing reliance on digital technologies, it has never been easier to implement feedback into organisational practice.  Businesses are now well aware that constructive feedback helps employees improve performance, decreases turnover, motivates self-improvement, and builds trust.

Despite this, 65% of employees say that they don’t receive adequate feedback at work, and many employers say that they just don’t like giving feedback at all.

While in the past there was considerable lip service paid to its use, 360-degree feedback systems have become an industry standard, with 90% of Fortune 500 companies using some variation of this approach.  Psychological research1 has demonstrated that feedback received from multiple sources, like supervisors, co-workers, and direct reports, has a significantly larger impact on performance outcomes than supervisors alone.  External stakeholders such as customers are an extremely valuable addition to such internal resources.

360-degree feedback has become an easy way create a wealth of information from employees that can be compiled into a meaningful and comprehensive report.  The process of 360 lends itself to offering numerous strengths if effectively implemented, but also runs the risk of sizable downsides if not utilised appropriately.

So, what are the benefits?  Why should every organisation be investing more into 360-degree feedback processes?

1.    More Input Equals More Output
When standard one-on-one performance reviews are conducted, employee performance information is being given from a single angle.  Despite the best intentions of managers, they often only have part of the picture when it comes to employee performance.  In contrast, 360-degree feedback draws from not only supervisors, but peers, subordinates, others outside direct work circles, and the employee themselves.
Each source of feedback can consequently put their spin on strengths and areas for development, which can be presented to the employee as trends.  As this feedback is received from multiple people and groups, employees are far more likely to take actions.  This is because many employees believe 360 is a more accurate, more reflective of performance, and more validating than feedback from a supervisor alone. 

2.    Unconscious Biases are Mitigated
360-degree feedback reduces the risks of discrimination.  When feedback is drawn from a range of individuals across functions and levels, unconscious biases due to race, age, gender, or perceived slights are mitigated.  Common cognitive biases such as the halo/horns effect (one negative or positive aspect of performance clouds overall performance appraisal) are also reduced.  In the 21st century diversity and inclusion have become extremely important factors in the workplace. Reinforcing these behaviours across departments and processes like 360 makes clear to both employees and consumers your organisation’s stance on equality.

3.    Workplace Relationships become Stronger
A flattening of organisational structures, and an increased pace of delivery, in part due to digital disruption, has predicated a need for employees to spend more time in interdisciplinary teams.  In this dynamic, maintaining and strengthening positive workplace relationships is vital to sustain a competitive advantage.  360-degree feedback helps team members learn how to work more effectively together.  Employees understand that their colleagues will be involved in the feedback process and are therefore more accountable to each other.  Teams that use the 360 processes tend to therefore communicate more effectively and have stronger connections.

4.    Reviews are Both Up-Down, and Down-Up
The 360 Review is conducted by everyone – this means that when it’s time for management to be reviewed, their own employees can also input, with a decreased risk of repercussions.  This breaks down any hierarchical work structures that may exist and unifies the relationship between employers and employees.  An equal and balanced workplace has proven to be extremely beneficial, especially for the younger workforce.  In organisations where employees received regular feedback and could input into manager actions, turnover rates reduced by as much as 15%.

5.    There is No Reason Not to Follow Up
HR managers that work in delivering employee feedback have a comprehensive means of ensuring effective behaviour change in the workplace.  The wealth of knowledge provided by the 360-degree process gives clear areas of development for employees to pursue, and data to use when the employee isn’t taking the advice to heart.  The 360-process lends itself to the modern, continuous learning style of development, as it can be easily revisited.  Taking time out each quarter to conduct 360s, or even just a pulse survey, can quickly ascertain if employees are working towards their goals.  The comprehensive nature of 360s allows an employee to see what everyone wants them to change and gives them the ammunition and drive to do so.

We at Psych Press acknowledge that people will still have concerns about how to best implement this feedback, thus we have created a streamlined system to conduct the assessments. Psych Press’ 360 Performance Review puts every facet of the system in one place, and automatically compiles all the information to save time for you and your employees. We would be very happy to chat about whether the 360 review, or one of our other services, is right for your organisation.

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We’ve noticed that typically organisations have a wealth of data about their customers, competitors, and market trends that they use to optimise their operations.  However, it is surprising how little data they have on their most valuable asset, their people.  At Psych Press, our organisational psychologists have utilised their backgrounds in human-centred design to develop an advanced 360-degree system which can be set up for you your company within just a couple of minutes.

Learnability is an indispensable capability for employees the modern business world. It is an aspiration and capacity to improve new in-demand skills quickly to meet the needs of a constantly shifting employability marketplace. Over the last decade, learnability has become one of the most important soft skills required to stay relevant in organisational environments. The advent of the internet, subsequent globalisation and technological innovation has profoundly changed the professional landscape we operate in. The increased pace of change associated with these factors has highlighted learnability as an indispensable trait that employers need to search for during the recruitment / selection and employee development processes.

Do you have a learning mindset? 

Take the Psych Press Learning Mindset Quiz to find out. 

Why is Learnability Important?
Continuous professional development is critical for employees wanting to remain attractive to employers. In fact, the critical employee success factors of efficiency, agility, job satisfaction and performance are determined by an ability to learn and adapt to change in the workplace. This ability is a major determinant of promotion and career advancement. Learnability is also critical from a management perspective. A workforce that can adapt to new technologies and industry standards is more likely to remain significant in their market.
HR managers that emphasise learnability are putting their organisations into a win-win situation, with the benefits of recruiting employees who possess learnability being two-fold. For the employee, a learning mindset promotes new skills and experience that can further their career. For the employer, the organisation benefits from increased employee knowledge, experience and engagement which increases productivity, profit and industry relevance.
So, what should you consider when implementing a learnability mindset in your organisation?
1. Prioritise learnability as an employee trait in the recruitment process
Eager employees that want to learn are more engaged, satisfied and productive in the workplace. This has a flow on effect which is evident in reduced staff turnover. Some of the personality traits that have been most associated with learnability are personal development, innovativeness, openness to change, ambition and divergent thinking.
Personality questionnaires like the Business Personality Reflections possess the ability to assess these key competencies early in the recruitment cycle. These attributes make certain individuals easier to train and should be considered when hiring new staff. In the recruitment process, the use of reliable psychometric assessments and behavioural interview questions can ensure employers fill available positions with personnel that have a high aptitude for learning.
2. Encourage the desire to learn
Organisations should set aside time for employees to develop skills and learn new things through attending seminars and professional development. This behaviour must also be modelled by managers if learnability is to be normalised as a central part of the workplace culture. Information about rival industries, areas of the workplace outside one’s specialty field or challenging one’s routine can all be areas where investigating new ideas or alternative ways of doing things is an opportunity to learn.
Creating an ethos within the organisation that embraces new knowledge can have a positive effect on motivation, productivity and morale. It also provides an opportunity to bring new ideas into the workplace and serves as an avenue for employees to question ‘why’. The freedom for employees to question and be involved in developing new ideas and procedures demonstrates that their opinions are a valued within the organisation. This is central to increasing employee retention and job satisfaction.
3. Reward employees that display the ability to learn
In order to build an organisation with a learning mindset, it is important to reward employees that do so. This is a way of reinforcing learning behaviors and setting an example to other workers that are reluctant to take on professional development opportunities. Good managers are not only responsible for their own self-development, but the development of their employees. Rewarding modern professional learning behaviours is fundamental to streamlining work processes and increasing productivity because it creates a culture where improvement is part of the everyday organisational routine.
These three points highlight that it is the responsibility of management to provide a framework that promotes an innovative culture as the norm. Moreover, a top-down system of rewarding employees that embraces service, routine or product development with learnability as a focus is crucial. This does not happen quickly or by accident. The process of ensuring an open learning environment is the product of planning, reflecting and gathering feedback over a sustained period of time in all areas of the company. The use of periodic organisational self-assessment tools is a way of creating a positive feedback loop that can drive the strategic planning of the business.
Unfortunately, despite research touting the benefits of learnability, many organisations still over-emphasise hard skills and qualifications in recruitment. This is a common mistake as academic results do not ensure a graduate employee is equipped with the skills required in today’s business market.
The ability to learn has been identified as one of the top predictors of high job performance and success over the course of one’s career.
Conscientiousness, interpersonal skills and adaptability are also important as they are linked learning. Furthermore, the priority placed on convergent thinking at university indicates whether a graduate is fit for work on paper but gives no indication of whether they are fit to learn. This disconnect is illustrated in the ‘real business world’ where learning is less structured than in university institutions. In the workplace, divergent thinking is required and employees must manage short-term job goals as well as long-term goals for career progression.
Employees will always show individual variation in their curiosity, drive and desire to learn. It is the responsibility of management to prioritise learning as a trait in recruitment and training
Managers should provide an environment that encourages and rewards learning in the organisation. If executed correctly, an ethos that promotes learnability provides a win-win proposition for organisations. It allows a business to build a more productive, talented workforce while providing individuals with professional development that gives them skills to advance their careers.
To assist management in the recruitment and development of an organisational learning mindset, many organisations are utilising bespoke personality questionnaires like the Business Personality Reflections®. Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs. This includes scales related to learnability like the Divergent Thinking scale, which evaluates an individual's tendency to consider innovative approaches to work problems.
Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking can be briefly understood as the ability to push boundaries of established thoughts. Research suggests1 that divergent thinking tests can predict an individual’s creative achievement significantly better than IQ. Individual divergent thinking skills include openness and potential to generate new ideas, ability to move efficiently from divergent to convergent thinking; and a passion for cognitive challenges2. It is a useful personality trait for learning-orientated employees working in a business environment that is innovative, fast paced, and requires thinking outside the box.

"Working life is impermanent and unpredictable, and will only become more so. That is daunting, but it is also liberating. We are increasingly willing to take control."
Attitude towards divergent thinking and openness to experience is positively associated with employees’ creative performance. It was also found that attitude towards divergent thinking is likely to be influenced by the amount of structure that supervisors initiate for their subordinates3. Organisation-level antecedents of divergent thinking include an innovative culture that encourages idea freedom and diversity2. Additionally, divergent thinking across middle and senior managers increases with experience4.
A sample item that might be seen on one of our tests is:
“Describe a time you had a big decision to make. Did you ask for/consider other people's suggestions or decide independently?”.
A high score on this scale reflects an individual who is more likely to be very open minded in their thoughts and ideas. The individual is likely to be good at examining problems from all angles and considers others’ ideas along with their own but may often becoming bored if methods of thought are stagnant or routine. They can value alternate modes of thinking and will often use techniques such as brainstorming to generate new ideas. They are often more innovative, resourceful, and inventive.
Organisations that prioritise divergent thinking in their employees can benefit from the range of possible solutions generated in a short amount of time. Instead of relying solely on existing knowledge base for a solution, unexpected connections could be drawn to propose a solution that works best. Employees displaying divergent thinking can influence others in the work environment to exert more cognitive effort through increased engagement in divergent thinking and develop more original products and qualitatively better decision5. Firms reap the benefits of confident, innovative, and efficient workers.
You should consider using divergent thinking scales in your recruiting and development processes if your business operates in an environment that is:
  • Innovative
  • Fast paced
  • Creative
  • Requires strategic thinking
  • Highly-efficient
Organisations that prioritise divergent thinking in their employees are reaping the benefits of confident, innovative, and efficient workers. Stay ahead of the game by acting on improving your recruitment and development processes today!
Do you have a learning mindset? Take the Psych Press Growth Mindset Quiz now to find out!

Questions about our Divergent Thinking Scale?
Contact us to find out how we can make it work for you and your business.

In the modern world of work there is now a constant pressure to do more with less.   Agile work conditions are increasingly becoming commonplace as organisations realise the benefits.  Paired with an explosion of global business practices, this has given many employees the capacity to work anywhere at any time.  Employees are now being asked to be adaptable to changing circumstances, autonomous, and capable of self-managing their teams.  Too often however, organisational development can occur to infrastructure and processes, and yet fail to engage employees.

This is why employee empowerment is so important to success during organisational change.  It is a critical element for any organisation committed to development and change in the digital age. Shifting circumstances need an aligned change culture, or risk critical failure. Given the costs typically associated with restructuring an organisation, it is reasonable to question organisation and individual benefits when it comes to promoting an empowerment mindset.  Business leaders and human resources academics have frequently made note of the many key workforce issues that can be addressed through employee psychological empowerment strategies.

Turnover Intention
Employee empowerment has been shown to have negative direct and indirect effects on turnover intention.  Empowered employees are far more likely to care about the work they produce, as well as their organisation.  This loyalty and commitment has enormous implications.

A recent report by the Australian Human Resource Institute revealed an average turnover rate of 16%, a notable increase given the turnover rate was 12% only three years prior.  It is no secret that increased employee turnover has detrimental financial implications for organisations – it can cost anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to double an employee’s annual salary, just to replace one individual.  This is before factoring the intangible costs of employee turnover on organisations, such as added stress, tension, reductions in employee morale, and disruptions to group synergy and productivity.

The benefits increase even further when considering the features of the digital age, where smaller talents pools have created a shortage of quality candidates.  David Brown, a Deloitte partner in Human Capital, noted that in Australia “we spend almost twice as much on recruiting people as we do training and developing them”.  Reducing turnover intentions through empowered employees allows organisations to invest less on recruitment and more where it matters: development.

Leadership Development
For years organisations have proclaimed the importance of cultivating leaders from within their organisations; executives frequently posit that succession management is their most critical human capital priority.  While leadership development programs have come a long way, they are far from ideal when equipping employees with the necessary skills to manage within their functions.  Far too many training initiatives tend to assume one size fits all, and that the same styles of leadership will produce consistent results across areas of work, indefinitely.

In enacting an employee empowerment strategy, employees can be given a sizeable chunk of the decision-making function, alongside a small number of key competencies that will make a sizable impact on performance.  Instead of throwing high potentials into a sea of capability frameworks and organisational value statements, the impactful aspects of leadership - such as decision-making and coaching skills - can be fostered on a daily basis.  With the right training in place to aid employees to develop these core capabilities, today’s sales representative could be tomorrow’s empowerment leader.
Productivity & Performance
Greater productivity arises at the operational level when employees are empowered, as they have a superior ability to resolve problems without added delays in contacting front line managers.  At a more strategic level, employees who feel as if they have a say in the decision-making process work harder.  Understanding that they have additional autonomy over their work, and that managers are going to back their decisions fosters a sense of ownership.  This feeling of ownership leads employees to feel more committed to producing quality work, leading to higher productivity and performance.  

In the digital age department budgets are growing exceedingly smaller as margins thin.  Having employees that are able to do more with less ensures sustained, competitive advantages in the market.

Giving employees more autonomy over their environments and consumer interactions provides additional insights into management decisions and service innovations.  Front line employees can often see problems that behind-the-scenes executives won’t.  Being empowered gives these employees the capacity to share their insights in a far more effective manner.  Organisations that value innovation (which should be all of them) get access to a wealth of employees who can bring new ways of thinking to existing practices.  This employee feedback provides the opportunity for practical organisations to develop their business strategies and cement their role in the market. 

Beyond these significant business advantages, empowered employees also promote effective culture change that aligns with modern continuous and iterative change practices.  It appears evident that when seeking to implement role restructuring, employee empowerment ensures sustained buy in.

With an understanding of the numerous long term organisational benefits, the next question is how to implement the required changes to foster a culture of empowerment – the how to.

Foster Frequent Communication Practices
Transparent and frequent communication should be, or should become, the norm.  Not only does this aid in building trust and creating a collaborative culture, but empowered employees need as much information as possible to ensure informed decision-making in critical situations.  Share any relevant information as immediately and effectively as possible.  Employers should also put in place systems that allow employees to have their voices heard.  Empowered employees should feel as if they can express themselves and that they will be listened to.

Provide Clear Vision and Objectives
The organisation’s long-term vision and objectives need to be salient to all employees.  Empowered employees have greater flexibility in their need to rely on management for guidance.  In this dynamic, managers should be able to provide a clear vision of the organisation’s future.  Acting as transformational leaders as opposed to transactional ones gives empowered employees a resource they can turn to when required but won’t interfere with every decision made.  Further this ensures decisions made by employees align with consumer demands and the movements of the market.

Remain Accepting of Mistakes
Providing additional responsibilities to employees comes with a natural risk of blunders, especially for those that lack experience.  While offering resources and providing agency, be ready and willing to allow employees to make and learn from their mistakes.  Berating employees for trying something novel only serves to deter others.  The long-term benefits of an innovative culture far surpass these risks.  Remain cognizant of the big picture and the myriad of other satisfied clients when it comes to mistakes.

Even further, create an environment that celebrates not just the success stories, but the failures as well.  Applaud employees that were willing to take a risk but didn’t quite get the intended results.  These are opportunities to learn valuable lessons and maintains a freedom to innovate novel business solutions. 

Position Teams to Transition into the New Hierarchy
As employees start to feel empowered within their work functions, slowly and carefully transfer further responsibilities from managers to teams.  Role restructures towards a flatter organisational hierarchy should occur over time as an iterative process, ensuring that key functionally and managerial responsibilities don’t fall to the wayside, or are taken on by employee’s incapable of immediate delivery.  Easing into this process with a lot of support from employers can make or break a successful change management strategy.

Practical organisations have the chance to foster a sizable competitive advantage through an empowered culture.  In saying this however, some employees are much better suited to empowerment than others.

Personality questionnaires offer organisations an opportunity to identify those employees who are the most capable of excelling in this environment.  One vital personality attribute we at Psych Press have observed makes all the difference in these types of endeavours is Autonomy.

Autonomy measures the extent to which an individual feels comfortable acting with independence, and whether they can perform in a situation with little or no supervision.  Autonomous individuals are likely to enjoy and succeed in empowered environments with minimal guidance, where they have the freedom to work through business problems independently.

An item that you might see on our Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire measuring Autonomy is:

“I make decisions quickly and effectively under minimal supervision”.

Employees that enjoy autonomy at work have been shown to have higher work engagement (Christian, Garza, & Slaughter, 2011).  As stated in the Job Demands and Resources Model, the job resource of autonomy helps to mitigate the undesirable aspects of work, including high stressors and psychological strain.  Individuals who can work autonomously also bring organisational advantages, increasing performance and organisational commitment (Spector, 1986).

Moreover, as noted by Ryan and Deci (2000) in their Self-Determination Theory, autonomous employees possess higher levels of motivation, contributing to better performance and high-level execution of tasks.  This demonstrates how an autonomous employee in your workforce, could require less supervision, yet perform tasks to a higher quality.  Employees who have a high level of autonomy over their work have a better sense of pride and accomplishment, and are more resistant to job burnout, reducing turnover intention (Kim & Stoner, 2008).

You should consider using an Autonomy scale in your recruiting and development processes if you:

  • ·         Intend on implementing an employee empowerment strategy
  • ·         Want to improve employee motivation and satisfaction
  • ·         Have increasing levels of employee turnover
  • ·         Want to improve workplace performance without constantly providing guidance

Organisations that hire high-scoring autonomous individuals are reaping the benefits of more motivated, satisfied and empowered employees.

If you were interested in learning more about the Psych Press Autonomy Scale on the Business Personality Reflections® personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for access to an exclusive free trial, or to see how this menu-driven system can work for you.