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.  

According to 2016 statistics by the Australian Government, women constitute a total of 46.2% of all employees; however, when looking at the number of employees who are in full-time positions, only 36.7% are women.  Women, unsurprisingly, comprise a total of 71.6% of all part-time workers.

Given the growing awareness of societal inequalities, consumers are raising their ethical standards and are more critical than ever towards organisations. In addition to businesses showcasing the services they offer, they must also reflect twenty-first century values in the way they operate.  At times, this can seem as though economic and practical functioning are at odds with achieving societal ideals.

However, are these ideals truly at odds?  Are organisations required to make a choice between equality and the bottom line?

Gender diversity is one of many examples where there is a strong business case for gender diversity in the workplace.

So how can gender diversity continue to benefit your organisation?

Let’s begin with a global view and consider how gender diversity influences the market in which your business operates within:

  • Workplace gender equality is associated with improved national productivity and economic growth.  If businesses increased total national female employment by 6%, this would boost Australia’s GDP by 11%. 
  • When companies increase the diversity of employees, the amount of people with disposable income expands.  This provides an opportunity for significant growth in new markets, where women are increasingly the consumers.  Businesses have the capacity to tap into these new markets.
… Zooming into your business now, what can you get within the walls of your organisation?

  • Gender diversity can lead to increased organisational performance.  In a study of 21,980 firms in 91 countries, having more females in top leadership positions was positively correlated with increased financial profitability.
  • Diversity in boards, including gender diversity, leads to better problem solving.  Improved problem solving can significantly impact how well a company can handle unexpected events or changes to the market.  This is increasingly relevant as technological developments and globalisation change how companies operate.
  • Creativity and innovation are also bonuses that arise from gender diversity in the workplace; especially in industries, companies or departments where novel solutions need to be generated.  By having a homogenous group, this limits the range of innovative ideas.  Creativity generated through diverse teams can help businesses surpass their competitors by going in directions that competitors have not yet considered.
  • Workplaces that foster gender diversity have improved retention, which prevents loss of specialist knowledge, increases productivity and reduces hiring costs.
  • Businesses also have a reduced risk of workplace discrimination cases when they have gender equality policies and strategies in place that address sex-based harassment and discrimination against employees.

… Gender diversity also affects the people in and out of your business. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Gender diversity enhances organisational reputation.  Corporations with higher percentages of females on their board, were more likely to be named as one of the ‘100 best companies to work for’, and one of the most ethical organisations.
  • The Diversity Council Australia and the Society for Human Resource Management noted that gender diversity through inclusive culture and flexible workplaces can lead to an enhanced capacity for companies to attract high-quality candidates from a larger talent pool.  By attracting all genders to a role, you have considerably more available applicants. As of 2016, a greater proportion of women (64%) than men (61%) were engaged in formal studies.  This demonstrates that not only do employers have greater options when practicing equality, but these options are likely to be more skilled and educated. 

The importance of promoting gender diversity in the workplace is evident as shown from these benefits.  But while many managers may understand the importance of improving equality, it can often be difficult to accomplish.

A recent pamphlet, by VicHealth, provides a series of fantastic strategies to better achieve gender equity in the workplace.  They encourage organisations to shift towards a flexible mindset to adopt new strategies and procedures, which requires open-mindedness.  Having open-minded employees can help increase gender diversity, as well as, create an accepting workplace culture.  A diverse and inclusive culture can help create respectful relationships and benefit performance (as discussed below).  Workplaces that actively encourage diversity can potentially reduce interpersonal conflict at work that women are particularly prone to facing.

Below are some tips proposed by VicHealth to support gender equity in the workplace:

Build a supportive workplace culture

1) Involve workers.  Engage employees and give them opportunities to participate in events and initiatives, to help them understand the role they can play in shaping a positive environment and boosting gender equity.

2) Engage leaders.  Having visible role models and support from the top to implement initiatives is vital for driving and sustaining change.

3) Involve women and men.  Highlight women’s voices whilst considering the role of men in the issue of gender equity, to better understand the complexities of workplace gender imbalance.

Educate staff to understand and take actions to support gender equality

4) Staff training.  Provide purposeful training to enlighten workers on understanding the impacts of gender inequality, being a bystander, addressing unconscious bias and supporting colleagues who experience family violence.

5) Information sessions and events.  Holding events to promote equal rights can go a long way in demonstrating an organisational commitment to gender equality and can further engage the workforce.

6) Clear communication.  Ensuring clarity in communication channels is vital to spread a consistent message throughout the organisation.  Ensure language and examples are tailored to be accessible, and provide practice advice for employees to take away in their personal and professional lives.

Embed gender equity into organisational systems

7) Integrate gender equity into existing strategic plans, policies, and practices.  Focus on integration, multi-year commitments, and be cognizant of key processes, time frames and necessary consultation to have the capacity to promote gender equity.

8) Embed gender equity within Human Resources.  Ensure Human Resources are trained and equipped to support staff and issues surrounding gender equity and family violence.   

9) Establish supportive workplace structures.  Committees and working groups can act as a consultation mechanism to embed gender equity in an organisation.

The importance of equality in society cannot be overstated, and we have made some noticeable strides removing inequalities of the past.  When considering equality of opportunity and gender diversity within the workplace, it is clear businesses still have further to go.  Gender diversity must be achieved by not only increasing female employment to create gender-balanced workplaces, but also through ensuring this balance is maintained; even at the top tiers of business.  When this occurs, organisations are at a significant advantage through increased profitability, enhanced reputation, and improved recruitment and retention.  The next time you hire, consider these advantages and strive for diversity when selecting the best candidate.

To embody a supportive and diverse culture, open-mindedness is required from employees on all levels. Recruitment procedures can be lengthy and biased. With the use of a psychometric personality assessment, these procedures can fine tune and support the selection process to identify ideal candidates with open mindsets.

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® Open-Mindedness scale.


Being open-minded in the workplace can be understood as the readiness to consider a wide range of ideas or suggestions from other individuals, along with the willingness to accept the values within the organisation.  It indicates the degree to which an individual can challenge their own established values and ideals and, therefore, evaluate and understand the perspective of others.  As our society is diverse and workplaces are filled with many differing individuals and cultures, open-mindedness is vital in creating a cohesive environment for employees.

A sample item for the Open-Mindedness scale that you may see on the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire could be:

‘I consider myself open-minded about other people's lifestyles’.

Substantial evidence has also shown that open-minded and diverse workplaces can have sizable performance advantages (Cox, Lobel and MacLeod, 1991; Cox and Blake, 1991). They attract and retain the best talent, due to the skills and abilities from women and minorities which open the organisation to a wider pool of employees.  This can give an organisation a competitive advantage and they may be better suited to reach a larger and more diverse clientele group (Mazur, 2010).  It has also been found that open minded and diverse workforces are better at problem solving and generating ideas, which is due to the multiple perspectives that are available.  In addition, they may demonstrate more organisational flexibility and be better at adapting to changes (Mazur, 2010).

Consider using the Business Personality Reflections® Open-Mindedness scale in your recruitment and development if:
  • Your organisation supports gender equality and equal opportunity.
  • You require employees with flexible mindsets that can work with any type of stakeholder.
  • Your organisation values a supportive, diverse and inclusive culture.

The future of work demands employees that are open-minded.  You can maximise your organisation’s potential by utilising the Business Personality Reflections® questionnaire.  If you would like to learn more about the Open-Mindedness scale or the Business Personality Reflections®, please simply enquire now for a free trial. 

Maximising Team Effectiveness through Shared Leadership

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

What is Shared Leadership?

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

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

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

The Competitive Advantages of Shared Leadership

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

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

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

A Successful Shared Leadership Structure

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

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

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

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

Active Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1    Develop employee skills

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

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

2    Foster a values-based, supportive work environment

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

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

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

4    Prevention is better than a cure: Improve hiring decisions

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the essential qualities of a great leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.    Delegation.  A great leader must be skilled in the art of delegation and collaboration.  It is not feasible for any one person to carry the entire workload, 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.