Psychometric Testing and Workplace Well-being
Guest Blog from Chris Futcher:
Psychometric tests have become a well established tool in the workplace, particularly in large organisations where 70% claim to use some form of psychometric measure as part of the recruitment process. They are also increasingly used for career planning, team building, management development, counselling and succession planning. Many individuals also use them to evaluate their own attributes and as evidence for potential employers.
Psychometrics also have a function in the area of workplace well-being. The impact of stress on individuals is a major issue in the modern day workplace. It brings unwelcome consequences on health, families and, as our clients often experience, on workplace performance.
There are many causes of stress, but a significant factor is the ‘square peg in a round hole’ scenario, where someone is recruited or promoted to a position where they lack the skills or temperament to perform effectively. This can result in individuals struggling to perform satisfactorily, or finding the work de-moralising because it ‘goes against their grain’.
For example, we all vary in the degree to which we prefer to work on our own or with other people. Some of us prefer a solitary work environment most or all of the time, whilst others are happier when they work in a team or in an environment with other people. Many individuals are able to adapt to either situation, working alone or with others as the situation demands.
Consider the scenario where an outgoing, expressive individual who thrives on spontaneity and social relationships, applies for a position that calls for concentration, attention to detail and maximum accuracy in a solitary environment. Were the individual to succeed in obtaining the position, how effective would they be? Would they find the work stimulating or boring? Would they be likely to remain in the role for a substantial period of time, satisfied with what they were doing? If not, how would that impact on their performance and stress level?
Psychometric tests can be very useful in identifying an individual’s preferences. From the employer’s perspective the test can be useful, as part of the recruitment process, in determining whether an applicant is likely to be suitable for the position in question.
The result should be of equal benefit to the applicant, in helping him or her understand their own suitability for the role. However, to someone having spent a considerable amount of time job hunting, a well paid position in a growing organisation is an attractive prospect. The test can be seen as a barrier to overcome rather than a neutral instrument for assessing suitability. Some individuals, when taking a test, will try to manipulate the result by entering what they consider to be the ‘desired’ answers. In some tests this may have a limited effect, although it is very difficult to influence the final result as many have built in measures to minimise or detect manipulation.
The example above illustrates one aspect of how psychometric testing can support workplace well-being. There are many tests on the market with a wide variety of applications.
Taken alongside other strategies and policies, psychometric testing can provide a very useful tool for promoting all important well-being in the workplace.
What’s your view or experience of psychometric testing?