Hiring people with the “right stuff” and matching an employee’s characteristics to work requirements are two of the most important decisions that organizations make. Making the wrong decisions can cost thousands of dollars in training, reduced productivity, and missed business opportunity.
Identifying the work behaviors, or work styles, of individuals, is key to effective employee selection and development. Research has shown that for many types of jobs, the work styles of employees are far more important than cognitive ability or even proven successful prior experience. But, how do you determine whether individuals have the right work styles for your jobs?
Big Five Personality Factors
Extraversion characterized by a preference for sociability, energy, influence, and a desire to lead others.
- Low Scores are reserved, don’t spend much time socializing, let others lead, avoid debating and negotiating issues.
- High Scores: outgoing, sociable, persuasive, and enthusiastic; take a leadership role; are persuasive.
Agreeableness characterized by concern and con-sideration for others, politeness and tact.
- Low Scorers are not concerned about team morale, don’t spend time helping others, and don’t worry about diplomacy.
- High Scores are empathetic, courteous, helpful, collaborative, diplomatic and tactful.
Openness to Experience characterized by a preference for change, continuous learning, innovation, analytical approaches, making difficult decisions.
- Low Scorers prefer structure and set routine rather than uncertainty and change.
- High Scorers are imaginative, flexible, and analytical; tolerant of uncertainty and trust their own decisions.
Conscientiousness is divided into Achievement, Striving (goal setting, initiative, results orientation) and Dependability (attention to detail, rule following, responsibility).
- Low Scorers avoid setting personal goals, initiating action, and are willing to bend the rules if they have to.
- High Scorers: are motivated, reliable, persistent, and follow the rules.
Emotional Stability characterized by thoughtful consideration before action, not losing one’s temper, resilience to stress and setbacks, confidence in one’s abilities and future chances for success.
- Low Scorers tend to worry more, are losing their temper, at times are unsure of themselves, and tend to be unaware of their emotions.
- High Scorers: are even-tempered, re-silient, self-confident, optimistic and self-reliant; effectively cope with stress.
Key Features of the WBI
- Reliability—WBI scales have markedly higher reliabilities than typically found in personality tests (WBI median reliability of .85 vs. a median of .75 for personality tests).
- Validity—the WBI scales have been shown to be valid for measuring their underlying constructs.
- Correlation with the Big Five—WBI scales are grouped according to research evidence on the “Big Five” personality factors. All Personality In-ventories MUST show correlation with these or they are not considered to be objective predictors of personality. (Correlation .93).
- Correlation with other recognized Personality Tests- the WBI is highly correlated with all other recognized and published tests. (Hogan, OPQ, NEO, CPI).
- Behavioral Competencies Defined by Researchers—WBI scales also assess competencies as defined in Competence at Work (Spencer & Spencer, 1993) and Working with Emotional Intelligence, (Goleman, 1998).
- Emotional Intelligence—it provides a single, overall score of “Emotional Intelligence,” which Daniel Goleman (1998) indicates is related to success at work.
Proven Effectiveness of the WBI
Validation studies have shown that the WBI is effective in:
- Identifying individuals who may be technically suited to the job but are a poor fit with the work environment, company culture or team.
- Identifying the behavioral styles of executives that are effective in leading large organizations.
- Identifying individuals that may effectively make the transition from an individual contributor role to a management role.
- Identifying individuals that will be effective in selling products or concepts.
- Diagnosing “blind spots” and “potential cautions” that may inhibit an individual from reaching their full career potential.
- Focusing career development and coaching efforts on the behaviors that may be most relevant to success or failure.