We Are Who We Are

July 30, 2001
The importance of defining styles and behavior traits

Once you walk through your employer's door, who are you, really? Are you motivated or a motivator, managed or a manager, organized or an organizer? Do you work well in a team or prefer the Lone Ranger scenario? Are you high strung, even-tempered, or hardly moved?

The personality or behavior you bring to the workplace plays a major role in living up to your job description and working with others. Knowing how to read yourself as well as the rest of your team can not only eliminate questions about performance but will benefit greatly in accomplishing the end-result - helping your company succeed.

If you're married, it is highly likely that you and your spouse took a compatibility test during pre-marital counseling sessions. If you've landed a new job within the last five years, you may have taken a personality test as part of the interviewing process. And if your company has undergone a merger, downsize, or reorganization, you may have taken a skills assessment exam to help managers decide what job is best for you.

Whatever the circumstance, testing is becoming more and more popular for employers during the hiring process, as well as for retention purposes.

"Personality testing is more important now than ever," says Chuck Roe, general manager, Cambridge Careers, Cedar Rapids, IA. "In fact, we give a test to everybody we consider employing (and placing)."

Personality tests are not given to pass or flunk a person, Roe clarifies, they are to find the correct profile. Cambridge Careers is a nationwide recruiting company that specializes in placing professionals in various fields, including engineering and facilities management. The company employs staff certified to counsel and train in the areas of career assessment, personal profiling, organization and personal transition, retirement readiness, survival training, spouse relocation, and outplacement.

Personality testing has played a vital role in providing successful outplacement services as well, Roe adds. "We're better able to match them up with an employer and conduct an interview with them when we know their skill level."

Cambridge recruiters have relied upon the D-I-S-C profiling system, one of the most widely used personality and personal training systems, which measures a person's dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness and helps match a candidate's talents with an employer's needs. The test identifies a person's style, productivity, sales, and communications strengths, as well as analytical, listening, and expressive skills.

"Anyone can have a real good phone call, good credentials, and a college education, but that doesn't mean they will stack up and do the job," Roe says. "Employers are looking for the best person they can get and this test is key for them."

An organization's employees have always been a key asset, say the experts at Development Dimensions International (DDI), Pittsburgh. But today, more and more organizations are realizing that their people are, by far, their most important asset. Not only is it getting harder to recruit talented individuals, but also retention efforts in many companies are just now being implemented to curb the turnover rate. Because of the market, many skilled workers know they can find another job, without too much effort, that will pay better and provide quality benefits. Reaching these employees before they leap is crucial.

Employee retention is the single most critical workforce challenge leaders face today. And DDI has developed retention strategies that create an environment where employees want to stay and performance thrives. For more than three decades, DDI has helped thousands of organizations achieve superior business performance through selecting, developing, and retaining extraordinary people through behavior-based interviews, to selection and assessment software, to cutting-edge web-based hiring.

DDI has established a broad spectrum of activities that help companies in the selection, leadership, professional growth, and culture and environment phases of the hiring and retention processes.

There is a rumor going around that employees with a solid work ethic are a dying breed. The reality is that today's workers are more skilled, trained, enthusiastic, and willing to work harder than ever before. The experts will tell you the key is finding the right niche for these employees and creating an environment that is conducive to their energy level and their motivation to succeed.

Andrea L. Geddes is a former online editor at Buildings.com.

For more information on professional development and career-related issues, visit
the careers channel at (www.buildings.com).

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