Run These 3 Tests to Help Improve Team Alignment

How do we work best? It’s a question on every manager’s mind, but it can be difficult to answer. There are lots of remedies, solutions and workarounds floating out there, but it’s not always easy to see what methods work best for your own staff. However, conducting the right tests can help you make key decisions while hiring and training.


When it comes to creating teams and hiring employees, it helps to know how people think. Teamwork is fundamental to success, and 97% of executives, employees and educators responding to a recent poll said a lack of team alignmentimpacts the outcome of tasks or projects. Psychometrics, which we’ve discussed before, measure a number of things about employees including; skills, knowledge and personality traits.

These cognitive tests are important to creating collaboration companies want to see. In fact, 60 to 70% of workers take these aptitude tests. Many large companies, from Xerox to McDonalds, like to ask their employees about a number of aspects that could define how they work. Traditionally available only to larger companies, now psychometrics have pervaded the small-to-medium sized workforce as well. However, psychometrics can’t be the only method of evaluating whether an applicant is fit for the job. Lauren Weber (@laurenweberWSJ) and Elizabeth Dwoskin (@lizzadwoskin), writers for the Wall Street Journal, tackle how these sorts of personality evaluations lead to potential hazards if implemented incorrectly:

“The Equal Employment Opportunity commission is investigating whether personality tests discriminate against people with disabilities. As part of the investigation, officials are trying to determine if the tests shut out people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression or bipolar disorder, even if they have the right skills for the job, according to EEOC documents.”

Cultural Fit

It may not always be kosher to use personality as the one trait to determine whom you hire, but there are definitely reasons to test for cultural fit. 

43% of hiring managers rank cultural fit as the most important factor to hiring someone. Despite how much importance hiring managers place on culture, only 10% of companies actually create winning cultures in their workplace. Though being able to do the job or grow into it is a key aspect for any prospective hire, companies would do well to offer culture tests for employees who may not be sure about their place in the company. These tests don’t have to be formal; they could be anything from a walkthrough of the office, an extended discussion about work-life balance and long-term goals during interviews, or discussions about interests. While cultural fit is important, keep in mind it can vary from team to team. Cultural fit tests can help you train better, customize onboarding and manage your team alignment to reach peak performance.

Needs Assessment

Determining cultural fit and using psychometrics can help you get better hires and create a better workplace. But at some point, you just need something you can fix in a very real, tangible way. This is where a needs assessment comes in. Needs assessments asks employees, clients, or anyone you’d like what’s missing from their current position. With a needs assessment, everyone can come clean about what’s keeping them from working better and being more productive. The method is often conducted in the nursing and hospitality worlds, but there’s no reason it can’t be applied to the workplace.

Does someone need a second monitor to keep an eye on multiple things at once? Would creating less rigid teams for projects, then adding and removing people as necessary lead to less waste? With a needs assessment, you can find out what your employees are missing. It can also determine what problems are easy fixes and which need training to solve.

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. From students and nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies Vitru works!

Great organizations, regardless of size or mission, understand that powerful team chemistry is impossible to force; but when it happens, it’s magic.

Vitru allows team leaders to create and assess teams virtually and in doing so helps quantify what makes an outstanding team outstanding.

Want more? Visit our blog and sign up to automatically receive our fresh-weekly articles.

Tweet me at @GoVitru

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