We receive several questions from our clients, prospects, HR friends, and other business leaders about assessments. Questions like:
Which assessments should we use?
What should we use them for?
When should we use them?
Should we use more than one assessment?
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this week, Patrick Lencioni’s At the Table, and they were discussing their relatively new assessment tool, The Working Genius. One of the co-hosts mentioned that “assessments typically confirm what you already know, but articulated in a way that is different, but still makes sense to you.”
That comment really stuck with me, and I also think it’s true. I have to laugh when people tell me, “That assessment was spot on.” I think, “Well, you filled it out, so it should be spot on.” They seem to think it was like a Magic 8 Ball and the answer truly predicted them.
Organizations should use assessments to identify and develop their people’s strengths, improving overall morale and productivity in the workplace. Assessments like Working Genius and CliftonStrengths® are designed to help individuals recognize their own talents or genius, allowing them to maximize their potential in order to achieve better working performance. I highly recommend either of these assessments for team building and understanding each other, as well as a leadership tool to assist in understanding what drives and is frustrating for us. These tools were not designed to be used in recruiting; people with many different strengths and genius can still be successful – in their unique way – in the same role. You can discuss these results to better prepare or converse about in their interview, but one style/strength should not be used as a requirement or style for the position. In my opinion, CliftonStrengths® and Working Genius are the best tools for their purpose.
DiSC is an assessment you can use to measure an individual’s working style and personality traits. This tool focuses on four primary dimensions – dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness – to create a personal profile of their working behavior. DiSC is best used as a team building or leadership tool. If not careful, people may feel pigeonholed into one of the four styles and may also “label” others by their styles. As is true with most all assessments, leaders and teams should be well trained on the assessments so they are using them most effectively. Several people on our team love the DiSC model as it is relatively simple to understand and remember.
Organizations should be aware that assessments can come with some risks. The information and data revealed through assessments may not always be accurate or reliable and could lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Additionally, the results of an assessment could be used to label people or create false expectations. This can lead to diminished working morale and unfavorable working conditions. When used correctly, assessments can be a powerful tool to identify and develop the strengths of individuals working in an organization. Assessments like Working Genius, CliftonStrengths®, and DiSC are designed to help people recognize their own talents so that they can maximize their potential for better working performance.
It is important for organizations to understand when the right time is to use these assessments to reap their benefits without incurring any negative consequences. Do some homework, research, and training to understand the benefits and best use before jumping into one, or contact us to help guide you.
Assessments can also have a wide price range, so make sure you understand the true costs of the assessments and the training. If you are not doing the training yourself, ask facilitators or trainers if they are certified in the tool and/or how much and what kinds of training they have been through.
As mentioned above, many organizations ask us or decide to implement two different assessments. I caution against this as I think assessment results and styles should be well-trained and used as a common language. It takes a lot of work to stay up with one tool and language, and very difficult to use both.
There is no right or wrong tool for an organization. Just understand the why and the intentions and be consistent in their use. Training on CliftonStrengths® one year, for example, and then on DiSC the 2nd year is likely very confusing for team members.
The Purple Ink team trains and facilitates the following assessments: