Would you like to build a better team in 2015? Of course you would! Poorly performing teams are waaaaay bad for business.
Whether the reason for the poor performance is conflicting personalities, mismatched skill sets, appreciable gaps in knowledge, low morale, low motivation, all of the above, or something else entirely, you’ve got to get to the root and turn things around if you want your business to thrive. One way to do that is with behavioral and skills assessments.
Behavioral and skill assessments provide information that would otherwise take weeks or even years to gather through observation. Who has time for that?
Specifically, assessments can shed light on a candidate’s:
1. Keep the end goal in mind – The purpose of testing for team building is developmental. That means the results shouldn’t be used as the basis for any adverse employment action—ever. Instead, the results should be used as the basis for team building through skills matching, empathy, and respect for differences.
2. Let the team know what’s happening – Transparency is a must here. Your team needs to know why you’ve initiated this process and what you’re hoping to achieve. They also need to know what they stand to gain (for example, greater self-insight, personal development tools, and increased bonding with teammates). Mostly however, they need to know you’re committed to the process and won’t allow their efforts to go to waste.
3. Pick your test with care – Most assessment developers/administrators/sales professionals are only too happy to explain the purpose of their test and how results are measured. Listen carefully and choose a test with a purpose and methodology you can understand. Also, there’s no reason to test anything unrelated to your business needs. Know what problem you’re trying to solve before pursuing a solution. And if you need help determining where your team’s efficiency is breaking down, get it. The world is full of qualified consultants who can guide you in analyzing your team dynamics and developing a plan to address them.
4. Respect what you learn – Why bother taking pains to discover that Laura hates to be interrupted, Jim isn’t big on chit chat and prefers to get right to the point, and Paul isn’t detail oriented if the information won’t produce any changes in behavior or expectations? Instead, use the information to develop better and more productive ways of engaging with and managing your folks.
5. Have fun! – Most people like to learn about themselves and their peers and find that assessments (especially behavior assessments) are fun to do, so have fun with it. Devote a special time to discuss the results, and have a qualified facilitator present if needed. Also don’t forget to serve snacks and play a few games!
6. Allow for some privacy – The assessment results are meant to be shared voluntarily, and for the most part, verbally. In other words, it’s okay for Tim to reveal that he prefers to work alone versus in a group, but you shouldn’t read Tim’s report out loud (or anyone else’s for that matter), although a summary report with the team results is fine.
Assessments are a proven and established way to increase team efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. Cliché or no, knowledge is power, and knowledge of your people is powerful indeed.
However, even more powerful than knowledge of others is self-knowledge, because self-knowledge provides the motivation and ability to change for the better—something people must do for themselves anyway. When you arrange for your team to be assessed, then, you’re not only paving a path to better performance, you’re also imparting your employees a valuable gift that will keep on giving for years to come.