March 23, 2016

Work Values, Working From Home, and Personality Tests


Remember the excitement you felt as a kid when you had a snow day? If you live in an area with four seasons, you may have even experienced something similar as an adult. It’s a wonderful feeling! Even though you know you’ll have plenty of work to catch up on when you get back, there’s still that thrill you get when you have an unexpected day at home.

As days at home become the new normal, thanks to the proliferation of telecommuting arrangements, it’s time for us to look at how working from home can be combined with personality assessments in order to help employers build better remote workforces.

Not every position or industry has the luxury of extending remote work options to employees (think of doctors, lawyers, and construction workers), many employers have embraced telecommuting because it can boost employee productivity – plus, reduced travel costs and commute times are employee benefits in their own right! Employers appreciate lower overhead, happier workforces, and, in some cases where remote workers are spread across time zones, longer workdays.

However, working from home does have its challenges. Here are the biggest struggles that employees face when working from home, as well as some information on how personality assessments can help employers determine which of their employees have the potential to thrive in telecommuting arrangements.

1. Everyone’s Talking – But No One Is Saying Anything

Communication is said to be one of the biggest problems employees face when working remotely. In a 2014 survey, Software Advice found that 38 percent of respondents said that communication was their top concern when it came to virtual projects.

Technology is great, but it’s not as reliable as in-person communication. It is generally more difficult to interpret or a convey a tone via technological communication. It’s easy to misunderstand what someone is trying to say, and that can be very frustrating for the person who is on the other side of the computer.

Beyond that, memos, tasks, and important reminders get lost in the shuffle. Twenty-three percent of respondents in that same Software Advice survey said that long email threads were their top communication challenge. Fifteen people going back and forth on a topic can leave the remote employee on the other end wondering just what the heck is going on.

HatHow to Fix It: A company intranet, a private Facebook group, or a healthy chat platform can help employees easy access and read important communications. Whether in the office or working from home, quality-oriented, introverted employees who value feedback, structure, and support can especially benefit from company intranets. These systems allow employees to easily refer back to feedback and guidelines from management, which, in turn, helps them do better work.

2. No Two Snowflakes Are Alike

There will always be that coworker who rubs you the wrong way. Maybe it’s the booming voice that constantly distracts you, or the perfectionist tendencies, or the way they insist on reading everything out loud! We can all think of that one person we work with who just knows exactly how to make our eyes twitch.

According to an infographic from Officevibe, 70 percent of employees say working with someone they consider a friend is the most critical element of a happy work life. Employees who get along communicate better and can easily understand the joys and stressors of one another’s specific work situations.

That same infographic also notes that 74 percent of women and 58 percent of men would turn down higher paying jobs if it meant not getting along with coworkers. This goes to show how important the process of hiring is. You have to know who you are hiring and what their personality tendencies are in order to successfully blend them into your company culture.

How to Fix It: After assessing your employees, swap notes! See which employees share values and which shouldn’t work in the same department to save you from workplace havoc. For example, an employee who is heavily reliant on quality of work and pays close attention to detail will drive the commerce employee, who sees the bottom line and wants it now, out of their mind. Try pairing an employee who seeks challenges with a creative-minded employee and watch what blooms!

Learn Who Your Employees Are!

Don’t let communication and personality differences hinder your organization from achieving excellence. Put on your analyst hat and get to assessing your workplace. Take a look at personality assessments that can effectively gauge your team and collectively identify who should be teamed with whom in order to create a well-oiled machine. Personality assessments can not only make hiring easier, but they can also help you better understand your employees once you’ve brought them on board. This is critical when it comes to remote work arrangements.

FlowersAre you hesitant about using personality tests? Some estimates suggest that 60-70 percent of all job applicants go through personality tests during the hiring process. Employers are seeing the benefit of knowing who works for them and how these people can make the best teams.

If you want to weave an intricate web of productive talent both in and outside the workplace, you’ll need to start by assessing your employees’ personalities. The struggles of remote work most certainly won’t disappear for your employees, but better understanding between employees will bring the company closer to excellence.

Read more in Personality Test

Ryan Mead is the CEO and founder of Vitru, an employee assessment tool that provides recruiters, hiring professionals, coaches, and managers with the insights they need to manage their teams and make better hiring decisions. Powered by science, yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams, Vitru works for organizations of all sizes. Want to learn more? Visit our blog or sign up for a free team-building personality test account to assess your team today! Tweet me at @GoVitru