Crossing Borders for Effective Team Building

When a region in the United States is mentioned, a few defining traits of an individual from that area probably come to mind. Think of the mannerly southerner or the hard-working midwesterner. Of course environment is a huge factor when it comes to the formation of personality, but just how accurate are those assumptions? One company decided to explore the idea of what location and personality have to do with each other and what their research found could help recruiters and hiring managers find the talent that their team is missing.

Critics, Characters and Producers, Oh My!

Personality is such a broad subject, so there are quite a few ways to define what it is and how it is characterized. Because of this, there are many psychometric tests and ways to analyze the results. Truity Psychometrics used 5 “dimensions of personality” to organize their findings:

  • How the individual engages with the world (Introverted vs. Extroverted)
  • How the individual gets along with others (Competitive vs. Cooperative)
  • How the individual responds to stress (Resilient vs. Neurotic)
  • How the individual uses their mind (Concrete vs. Abstract)
  • How the individual organizes their mind (Flexible vs. Focused)

What the above shows is just how much of a balancing act finding cultural fit can be. In some aspects, a competitive individual who challenges processes might cause unproductive ripples in an otherwise smooth moving office; however, that same person who is prone to challenging old ways might be just what the team needs to start thinking outside its box.

The Balance in Cultural Fit and Diversity

Hiring the right candidate for the right job is a difficult feat.  Sometimes, the person with the needed skills marches into the interview, sweeps the hiring team off their feet, but lasts only a short time in the actual position. Training went well, concepts were understood and yet this star hire still failed. It’s as though something within the person was just not right for the tasks at hand and when the skills weren’t all that was being tested, things went sour. Whether it be the talent to manage a team or the ability to take initiative on solitary projects, personality is almost as much of a deal breaker as inexperience , sometimes even more so.

A majority of new hires will fail within the first 18 months  and 22% of those unsuccessful employees are leaving because of attitudinal conflicts while 14% aren’t able to fit the corporate culture. Both can be attributed to the personality of the individual. Though there is not one number agreed upon by all, no company reports a small monetary loss to a bad hire. In fact, some report anywhere from 20% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary. Effective team building requires a balance between hard and soft skills.

 If You Always Do What You Always Did…

“Organizations require employees who ‘fit,’ but how that is defined is often problematic. At the extreme end, consider the organization seeking an individual who is a motivated self-starter who is given a job with no opportunity for individual discretion or decision-making. Or imagine the person recruited because of their great team skills who finds themselves working alone on a project.” – Keri Spooner, Senior Lecturer in Human Resources Management, University of Technology, Sydney

There’s something to be said for how often diversity is mentioned in hiring strategies. If all members of a company were the same type of people with similar habits and annoyances, projects would stall, growth would stunt and collaboration would be mostly ineffective. In fact, 48% of respondents in a survey by Forbes said personality diversity and inclusive workplaces are crucial to driving new ideas and innovation. It’s pretty impossible to find a team of people who are exactly alike, but take a second to consider the people who work around the office. There are enough similarities in a few individuals that when projects call for teams, immediately it is obvious who will not work together well and who will actually get the job done and impressively.

Bio: Ryan Mead, CEO/Partner

Vitru is an online application that provides tools to evaluate and build better teams. Powered by science yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams. 

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