Would you like to know how to build a strong team that collaborates more effectively and consistently performs at a high level? Of course, you would! Teams that perform poorly and struggle with accountability are incredibly bad for business.
Whether the reason for the poor performance is conflicting personalities, mismatched skillsets, appreciable gaps in knowledge, poor morale, low motivation, all of the above, or something else entirely, you’ve got to get to the root of the problem and turn things around if you want your business to thrive. One way to do that is to use behavioral and skills assessments when building a workplace team.
Behavioral and skill assessments provide information that would otherwise take weeks or even years to gather through observation, which is especially important when you’re trying to figure out how to build a team from scratch. When utilized during the hiring process, they can help organizations select candidates who are a better fit for their job roles and the work culture. They are also valuable as learning and development tools because they provide a snapshot of what skills and competencies an employee possesses and where improvements are possible. When you’re building a team in the business, behavioral assessments make it much easier to predict how different employees will respond to working together over time.
Skill and behavioral assessments can shed light on a few key areas (depending upon the type of test being administered) and guide how to build an effective team. Just a few things they can reveal include:
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 a guide for how to build an effective team through skills matching, empathy, and respect for differences.
Transparency is a must. 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 building a team culture). Mostly, they need to know you’re committed to the process and won’t allow their efforts to go to waste.
Most assessment developers/administrators/sales professionals are only too happy to explain their test's purpose 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 determining how to build an effective team, building a team culture, and analyzing your team dynamics.
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. 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 while building a workplace team.
Most people like to learn about themselves and their peers and find that assessments (especially personality assessments) are fun to do, so have fun with them. 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! These team bonding events are an important part of building a team culture that creates trusting relationships.
The assessment results are meant to be shared voluntarily, and for the most part, verbally. Confidentiality and privacy, however, remain an important aspect of assessments. 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) to the rest of the team, 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 not, knowledge is power, and knowledge of your people is powerful as you explore how to build a strong team. However, even more powerful than others' knowledge 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, you’re not only paving a path to better performance; you’re also giving your employees a valuable gift that will keep on giving for years to come. As your employees explore ways to improve, building a team of high performing members will become even easier.