Overview of Workforce Identity
People are different. Therefore, the prime objective was to develop a user-friendly questionnaire that comprehensively outlines a person’s uniqueness of behaviours, preferences, motivations and feelings – their identity.
It has been developed for the world of work, utilising rigorous psychometric methods in order to ensure that it is both a reliable and valid tool for use in many areas of business and personal development. The questionnaire measures important individual differences between people that affect the way they behave at work. To a large extent, Workforce Identity measures what is referred to as ‘personality’. Workforce Identity is a cost-effective and powerful personality tool that will help organisations to optimise their recruitment, training and development activities.
Workforce Identity has been developed to:
- Measure 36 specific areas of personality related to the world of work
- Provide options to profile a range of Secondary Psychological Models i.e. Leadership Preference, Team Profiles, Emotional Focus, Type Preferences and Learning Orientation.
- Be one of the most versatile and comprehensive personality tools available
- Provide the sharpest and most concise measurement of personality
- Provide a very broad measure of individuals; yet still only takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Dealing with exaggerated profiles
Workforce Identity has several scales to help identify less accurate or potentially ‘faked’ profiles in a recruitment context. As a result, Workforce Identity provides clear instructions to respondents on providing discerning responses and also provides a broader measure of the respondents’ style of approach to the questions.
Candidates can attempt to provide an overly positive impression or may be less open about certain aspects of themselves, particularly in a recruitment context. Where previous instruments have relied on a single measure of response style e.g. Social Desirability, Workforce Identity provides four measures concerning the validity of the respondent’s profile: Self-protecting, Self-reviewing, Reflective and Social Desirability.
Together, these four-style scales allow trained users to determine how valid the responses to the questionnaire are and in what way the responses may have been distorted.
As Workforce Identity reflects the way people see themselves, it is best used only to provide supporting evidence for an organisations’ recruitment and people development activities. It is not recommended that the information provided by any type of self-perception questionnaire be used to make important selection decisions alone. Rather, the power of Workforce Identity is in combining it with other selection methods to provide a more complete and holistic picture of a person.
Benefits of Workforce Identity
Benefits of Workforce Identity
So, what makes Workforce Identity such a powerful too?
Provides a wealth of useful information in a short space of time
Workforce Identity provides a great deal of useful information clearly related to work competence. It is a fast and efficient way to extrapolate information and to understand an individual’s work behaviours and preferences without needing protracted interviews or other lengthy measures. Also, users have options to access additional Secondary Psychological Models i.e. Leadership Preferences, Team Profiles, Emotional Focus, Learning Orientation and Type Preferences. This saves time as there is no need to complete separate questionnaires.
Outputs from Workforce Identity are objective in the sense that they are obtained using a robust and valid instrument that is administered via a standardised procedure. The questionnaire is scientifically designed by experienced psychometricians who also have a whole understanding of business. An important aspect of objectivity is to show that the questionnaire measures accurately what it purports to measure. Workforce Identity has high reliability and is supported by good validity data.
More accurate picture of a person
Related to the above point, the Workforce Identity model of personality has been developed rigorously using psychological knowledge. Everyday models of how people behave tend to be formed on the basis of simpler, broader interpersonal perceptions that we tend to make of people during social encounters. These have been proven in research to suffer from strong effects of bias, stereotyping and many other factors that affect human perception. Therefore, the Workforce Identity model provides a more useful framework to approach assessment. In self-development situations, it provides the respondent with a comprehensive framework to help them achieve greater insights about their own behaviours. The format of the profile should promise a greater understanding of an individual.
As Workforce Identity scores are compared with a large professional group, the measurements are relative to other people. In other words, Workforce Identity can provide information not only on say, how detail conscious people are, but more importantly, on whether they are ‘more’ detail conscious than most managers or a ‘great deal’ more than most – maybe more so than 97% of managers, for example.
Related to work performance
Part of the research undertaken to justify the validity of Workforce Identity focuses on real behaviour in the workplace. This research demonstrates that the profile not only provides an accurate picture of how people behave, but also how this is related to performance, leadership style, role in a team etc. Although Workforce Identity is not forwarded as a ‘test’ in the strictest sense, it does measure aspects of candidates that could be referred to as having different degrees of e.g. ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and thus contribute to effective working.
Fairness and Equity
Workforce Identity provides a platform for candidates to demonstrate a wider range of qualities and attributes. Some of these cannot always be measured by other means and may not be evident at interview. For instance, some people hate being held under scrutiny and may not present themselves well due to a feeling nervousness. The profile will spot this tendency and perhaps highlight how they may behave in a typical situation. Conversely, some people are excellent at presenting themselves, but may harbour more deep-seated problems that do not come across in the interview. Both of these examples provide information that can help pick the more suitable person for the job – the basis of all fair discrimination between candidates.
Precision Measurement of Personality
To ensure that Workforce Identity measures what it purports to measure, the individuals’ scales have been designed with precision and with the objective of relating directly to the label used to describe the scale – unlike other questionnaires.
Applications of Workforce Identity
Workforce Identity should never be used as a stand-alone screening tool and as such core screening should not be based on an individual’s Workforce Identity profile. In some circumstances it might be feasible to use it in combination with other evidence such as aptitude test results. For example, as a screening procedure when a very large number of applicants exists. However, if this is the case then it is essential that the screening criteria has been thoroughly researched and that there is researched validity evidence to support the use of Workforce Identity and any tests as a basis for making screening decisions. It is advised where possible to involve Workforce support in this area as there are implications to how this is professionally achieved in compliance with data protection, employment law, and best practice use of psychometrics.
Workforce Identity should not be used in isolation from other selection tools and as such should not solely form the basis of a selection decision. Typically, personality questionnaires such as Workforce Identity are used to aid the interview process. Workforce Identity provides a lot of information within a short period of time, therefore, the profile provides a wealth of information that can be effectively used to optimise the interview process.
Assessment centres represent a process that comprises a range of fair and objective assessment exercises. Exercises are designed to simulate real work challenges and can be complimented with other assessments such as ability tests and personality questionnaires, thus providing candidates with a wide platform to demonstrate the skills and abilities appropriate to the position being applied for. It also provides an opportunity to gain a more rounded picture of the candidate’s capabilities.
Selection tools and exercises will vary based on the competencies to be assessed. The scales on Workforce Identity are relevant to a wide range of work-related competencies and thus can be easily built into the assessment centre matrix (see below). It is important that it does not provide the sole measure for a competency, but is seen as a more supportive measure of a competency. Very often, it will not provide a quantitative measure but more to contribute ‘qualitative hypotheses’ to check against other assessment evidence. Each competency should be measured at least twice by different tools in the selection process.
It can be seen from the Assessment Centre matrix example below that a respondent’s Workforce Identity profile can typically provide some supportive information on most organisations’ specified competencies. Combined with the other Assessment Centre evidence, a comprehensive picture of an individual can be built up based upon the relevant competencies.
It should be noted that for each competence there are at least two sources of evidence. For example, for Organising and Planning there is evidence derived from the interview – the Written Exercise and Workforce Identity.
First, note that when the ratings differ, in the case 2 and 4, it is not necessarily attempting to establish which of the assessments is providing the ‘more accurate’ measure. Very often, Workforce Identity may help us understand the reasons for the difference. In this case, during the Assessment Centre ‘Wash-up’ discussion it was established that the interview panel found that the candidate has struggled with managing ongoing projects and organising work for others at the operational level; was also getting distracted by more interesting activities and felt stifled by too many rules and regulations.
Whereas in the written exercise the candidate demonstrated the ability to think strategically and creatively thus offered clearly thought-through actions and a long-term strategic plans that were likely to lead to improved overall business performance of the business case study.
Example of a Completed Assessment Method matrix
|Interview||One-to-One Exercise||Written Case Study||Numerical Test||Identity (Brief Notes)|
|Building Relationships||3||2||V.High: Direct, Control.
Low: Consultative, Empathy
Check ‘task’ vs ‘people’ focus?
|Customer Focus||2||3||High: Foresight, Need to Win
Low: Psychological, Adaptability
Might be ‘too pushy’, prescriptive, inflexible with customers?
|Drive for Achievement||4||3||4||High: Determined, Decisive, Self Potency. Risk Taking High self-motivation and career- oriented, but how effective at motivating others?|
|Leading Others||2||1||High: Influence, Independent, Control
Low: Group Affiliation, Psychological, Empathy Prefers tight, one-way control over others?
|Organising & Planning||2||4||High: Variety Seeking, Fore-sight
Low: Completing, protocol following
Prefers taking wider-perspectives, may get bored with detailed planning and sticking with tight rules & procedures?
|Handling Complex Information||4||4||High: Rational, Fore-sight, Decisive, Risk Taking
Likes to weigh things up quickly using objective analysis?
Rating Scale = 0 to 5
As part of a leadership programme, Workforce Identity can offer an analysis not just of a leader’s personality but also the likely impact of this on how leadership style is perceived by others. As effective leadership is primarily having the flexibility to call on a range of leadership styles to effectively deal with different individuals and situations, then Workforce Identity can usefully identify preferred styles, flexibility, and provide a basis for discussion to the individual’s leadership challenges.
A large part of the validation research undertaken using Workforce Identity looked at leadership styles and commercial leadership performance. These are strong links between Workforce Identity scores and work performance in these areas.
Working closely with several organisations in this area, we have also found that by coupling Workforce Identity profiles with a 360 degree process, we achieve an extremely powerful leadership feedback process. The 360 results encompass real work behaviours as perceived by significant others and hence complement Workforce Identity to achieve a rich insight into understanding one’s intended behaviours perceived by others. After all, the behaviour is ‘the reality’!
Mentoring and coaching
The insights that Workforce Identity provides can benefit these processes greatly. They can help form a supportive structure for initial meetings and help gain a better understanding of the individual being coached or mentored. The profile is a good way to break into any ‘getting to know you’ meetings and will offer structure to help discussions move forward.
As effective coaching is very much asking questions to help the individual think and work out their own answers and solutions, then the introduction of their Workforce Identity personality profile matches a coaching style very well in that their personality profile is unique and it is as ‘appropriate’ as anybody else’s. So it is asking questions and inviting them to think about their own behaviours in a non-threatening and non-judgmental manner. The Workforce Identity profile information will allow greater insight into helping the individual explore options for dealing with specifically identified issues.
Also, it should be noted that Workforce Identity Reports and results can only achieve so much, and much of the benefit that can be achieved in the area of development comes from having a dialogue with a trained and skilled facilitator.
The power of a Workforce Identity profile in a Development Centre is in both the information it directly offers the delegate and the insight it provides to the observers and facilitators.
It can help the facilitators have a much greater understanding of the other exercise results and enable them to provide much richer feedback and more constructive dialogue with the delegates by helping them to explore aspects of their behaviours that may be relevant. For example, rather than simply stating, “You didn’t score very well in this exercise because you weren’t able to influence”, one actually has a wealth of information about the individual’s preferred ways of influencing and their view of their need to want to influence others so we can pace with them and explore how they approached it in a non-threatening manner.
Therefore, the observer/facilitators can benefit from understanding the individuals to a deeper level and are able to see the delegates as they see themselves. This information can be invaluable in understanding why people may behave in the way they do and to achieve greater insight into the effectiveness of their particular behavioural styles and approaches.
Team working Development
Greater insight and self-awareness leads to more effective team work and indeed, all interpersonal interaction. This is the premise of most development activities, but in Team Development, one needs to develop a great sense of others, and a wider appreciation of individual differences.
It is a common misnomer that people think that effective team work comes from a group of people who get on well with everybody else, agreeing with everything that everybody says. Wouldn’t life be boring – we might as well be clones! Effective teamwork is about respecting, valuing and effectively managing the differences and diversity. It is in this context that Workforce Identity is invaluable. The more diverse the portfolio of skills in a team, the more effectively they produce work. With the increasing need for multi-skilled and disciplined teams and the further understanding of their value comes the need to effectively manage them.
Workforce Identity reports can provide a well-presented picture of individual team members’ personalities and provide a way of seeing them as they see themselves. Such a process can enhance empathy and understanding, but also offer real behavioural strategies for how teams can build upon the way they work together. The objective of good team interventions should be real behavioural change and Workforce Identity can help focus on the causes and antecedents of behaviour.
As Workforce Identity provides insight and self-awareness of preferences and behaviours, it can be an invaluable tool to support discussions with people who might be considering a career change. Whether a person might be considering promotion, taking on a completely new job, starting training for a new career, starting one’s own business or just wanting to explore how their strengths and preferences might be best channeled, the Workforce Identity profile can provide useful information for discussion.
Workforce Identity Reports to Support Training Courses & Development Workshops
Depending upon the objectives and contents of your training and development programmes there might be a use for Workforce Identity. Whatever the application for Workforce Identity, support can be provided to ensure that the value from any process is maximised and all stakeholders find the process rewarding.