Employee Personality: Understand it for Hiring, Retention and More

A conversation with Shanan Fennema, Executive Advisor at Culture Index

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About the episode

Who among us hasn’t been fooled by a shiny resume? A candidate might feel like a sure thing on paper or in an interview. But when that new hire doesn’t work out, managers are nonplussed: What did we miss? 


According to today’s Technically People guest, Shanan Fennema, Executive Advisor at Culture Index, what you missed is personality.  


Culture Index is an assessment (not a “test,” it’s important to note) that measures employees’ and candidates’ work-related traits. It’s designed to help companies make successful hiring decisions and improve retention and team performance. 


In a candidate selection scenario, companies using the tool consider a candidate’s traits against a benchmark of traits that are likely to yield success. Shanan emphasizes this is not about a candidates’ “passing” or “failing,” and the assessment doesn’t trump experience and expertise. Rather, it’s one more tool in your arsenal for making smart selection decisions.  


Employees who take the assessment answer questions not just about their personality but about the extent to which they feel they need to modify who they are at work. If an employee feels they need to change dramatically, they could be stressed or dissatisfied. Knowing this, a manager can triage before an employee is compelled to leave. 


Culture Index also helps team members understand each other. What makes each person on the team tick? Why do they do what they do? When team members “get” each other in that way, even the most dramatically different personalities can work exceptionally well together. 


In fact, teams thrive when personalities are diverse, and some of the best collaborations emerge between people who might be considered opposites.  


“The beauty is that yin and yang,” says Shanan. “That’s where companies really get the benefit from this. It’s not that we want to one-size-fits-all our organization. Rather, we’re going to honor and understand that the different ways we approach things is where we hit home runs.”

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