After an engaging conversation with a colleague about engaging coworkers, he told me about how corporations use personality tests to determine what type of person you are. At first I was in disbelief and pictured my coworkers clicking away at BuzzFeed-esque quizzes to let a complex algorithm calculate their answers and provide them with an answer to help the company understand them. But if you think about it, knowing a coworker’s personality can actually help achieve greater productivity and increase solutions-based thinking if everyone just knew how to communicate with each individual.
Corporations of all types have been known to use these tests, such as Sprint Nextel Corp. and Avis Budget Group, Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal. While many of these tests exist, it essentially comes down to finding the office introverts and extroverts.
One well-known test comes from Insights Discovery. In their system, you are given one of four colors that represents your personality.
Fiery Red – the energetic, action-oriented extrovert.
Sunshine Yellow – the human-oriented, friendly extrovert.
Earth Green – the team-based, understanding individual.
Cool Blue – the precise, written-communicating introvert.
So, imagine approaching the new colleague needing spreadsheets with the latest numbers and you know exactly how to best communicate with them in a personalized manner for a smoothly operating business machine. This system may not be the best suited for every business, but it seems to be helping those who have used them.
After some thought, this is not the pigeonholing, dehumanizing tool I initially thought of it as. Sure, in a smaller company it is probably better to get to know the individual personalities on your team. But in a larger one, where people can go years upon years at a career and only interact with a fraction of that office’s population, it seems like a helpful tool to know how to approach someone new to you.
What personality type do you think you are? Could you see this in your company?