Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), was speaking to HRD
about DISC personality tests
and their usefulness to HR practitioners.
This type of personality testing can be used to develop current employees, move them into positions where they’ll be happier, motivate them in their work, and improve communication, he said.
“When used for development purposes, these tests help gain insights that can put employees in the right job, keep them moving forward and help them through their career. If you understand what truly drives employees, you can tailor a motivational process to them.”
A question of personality
Not only do people enjoy their work more when it is aligned with their personality but they tend to excel at these tasks as well, Tan explained.
“Personality is not a reflection of what they’re doing now but what they naturally gravitate toward.”
Through tests such as DISC, HR can determine how staff members operate and what their salient personality traits are, he added. By using this information to better assign tasks and projects, employee job satisfaction as well as performance and profitability will be improved.
DISC personality tests
can also help HR work out how employees will react to certain situations and how to improve relationships with bosses, peers and clients, Tan said.
“DISC can be helpful in revealing an employee’s response to stress, leadership potential, criticism threshold and red flags.”
Taking the step to understand employee personalities can help an organisation function more effectively and efficiently, he said.
“People are just different and personality tests are all about capturing, in a systematic way, the ways that they’re different and using the findings for the greater good of all concerned.”
Taking self-awareness to new levels
These types of tests can also boost self-awareness amongst employees, Tan said. This can contribute to greater efficiency and better internal communication in the workplace.
“Self-awareness and knowledge of other’s personality traits can contribute to teamwork. If you understand where people are coming from – and that every individual has their own story, hopes, needs, fears and worries – there is a lot less conflict.”
Getting the most out of DISC tests
However, Tan warned that there can be some limitations to these types of tests, especially since people usually act in different ways to different groups. For instance, a worker may act one way around their boss and another around customers.
“Putting too much weight on personality test results can be problematic. If a person gets a certain reputation or is button-holed with a certain personality type, others can over-rely on it.”
Furthermore, people can still succeed at a certain job regardless of their personality type if they know exactly what it takes. This kind of knowledge can be taught, he said.
“Organisations must use personality tests intelligently, and not be overly reliant on the findings which may not necessarily be fool-proof,” Tan said. “They must have realistic expectations of the analysis and recommendations, and apply them smartly according to the needs of the department or organisation.”
Used properly, personality tests can indeed be helpful for attracting, motivating and retaining staff, he added, especially in times of talent shortage.
A free DISC personality test is now available on HRD Singapore – click here
to find out more.
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“When personality testing is used in conjunction with other assessment tools, such as cognitive ability tests or business simulation, you can get a better sense of whether someone is going to thrive in a workplace.”