Using personality tests during the hiring process has become common practice for many organizations around the world. They’re a great way to assess job candidates, making sure you choose the best fitting candidate for the job. In fact, it’s reported that over 88% of Fortune 500 companies use the MBTI personality assessment in their recruitment process.

But the usage of personality tests shouldn’t stop at the hiring stage. Keeping your employees happy and engaged should be a top priority for your company. By understanding your employees personality traits you can find out what motivates them and learn how to retain top talent.

There are many different ways you can use employee personality tests within your workplace. The DISC personality assessment is a versatile tool for analyzing an employees personality traits, making it an ideal solution for use within your business.

What is the DISC personality assessment?

The DiSC Model Theory, which was developed in 1928 by Dr. William Moulton Marston, provides a basis for us to understand different personality types and, consequently, their favored method of work and communication.

No personality is inherently bad for the workplace. In fact, it’s often poor management and a lack of variety that are detrimental. 

By understanding and incorporating various personality types into your company, you’ll have people whose traits complement each other and thus work well together, you can better manage interpersonal conflicts, and you’ll understand how employees learn best for trainings. 

As a result, you’ll have a better motivated, more satisfied organization and stronger teams.

The DISC Model states there are four personality types: Dominant, Influential (or Inductive), Steady, and Conscientious (or Compliant).

Dominant personalities are generally direct and have an air of inner certainty. They may interrupt, ask focused questions, and have a “tell” style of communication.

Strengths: Confident, determined, loves challenges, focused, influences others. On his/her best day, a dominant personality can be competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed, and purposeful.

Weaknesses: Poor listener, can come across as arrogant, may push too hard, and doesn’t wait for feedback. On his/her worst day, a dominant personality can be aggressive, controlling, driving, overbearing, and intolerant.

Influential personalities are generally sociable, enthusiastic, and fast-paced. They also smile and gesticulate more.

Strengths: Quick to build relationships, friendly and sociable, adaptable, imaginative, and a skillful presenter. On his/her best day, an influential personality can be dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, and persuasive.

Weaknesses: May lack focus, too casual for some, poor planning, poor follow-up, and can lose interest. On his/her worst day, an influential personality can be excitable, frantic, indiscreet, flamboyant, and hasty.

Steady personalities are generally slow to approach others. They may show hesitation, pause before replying, are slower in speech, and have an “ask” style of communication.

Strengths: Builds deep, long-term relationships, a natural listener, sincere, warm, and present. On his/her best day, a steady personality can be caring, encouraging, sharing, patient, and relaxed.

Weaknesses: Slow to adapt, may lack enthusiasm in asking for a decision, avoids rejection, and takes difficulties personally. On his/her worst day, a steady personality can be docile, bland, plodding, reliant, and stubborn.

Conscientious personalities are generally reserved and business-focused. They show little facial expression, ask detailed questions, and give thoughtful answers.

Strengths: Knowledgeable and detailed, has an air of competence, asks probing questions, and is thorough in following up. On his/her best day, a conscientious personality can be cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning, and formal.

Weaknesses: Initial interactions may be difficult, his/her questions may seem critical and insensitive, overlooks others’ feelings, and focuses on inconsequential details. On his/her worst day, a conscientious personality can be stuffy, indecisive, suspicious, cold, and reserved.

The key to successful communication between these personalities can be summed up in one word: flex.

The leader who can situate him/herself within this framework and learns to flex (that is, adjust their style to the needs of their employees) will notice a drastic improvement in team dynamics.

So, when do you flex? Whenever you notice a breakdown in communication or cooperation among coworkers, change your communication style to fit theirs. You can generally do this by matching their tone of voice and volume, pace, and body language.

But how do you communicate with each personality type? DISC provides the following tip for each one:

  • Dominant – “Give them the bottom line, be brief, focus your discussions narrowly, avoid making generalizations, refrain from repeating yourself, and focus on solutions rather than problems.”
  • Influential – “Share your experiences, allow I-style people time to ask questions and talk, focus on the positives, avoid overloading them with details, and don’t interrupt them.”
  • Steady – “Be personal and amiable, express your interest in them and what you expect from them, take time to provide clarification, be polite, and avoid being confrontational, overly aggressive or rude.”
  • Conscientious – “Focus on facts and details; minimize ‘pep talk’ or emotional language; be patient, persistent and diplomatic.”

5 Ways to use DISC assessments of your employees

1) Use DISC for employee hiring and promotion processes

The DISC assessment is all about people and relationships: how they interact with one another, work together, lead people and sell to customers. Although the DISC profile is not recommended for use during pre-employment screening, it can be used to optimize your hiring and onboarding processes.

The hiring process can be unfair and biased. When hiring for a job vacancy, hiring managers will often suffer from unconscious biases, including biases that make them more drawn to candidates that are similar to themselves. You can overcome this personal bias by understanding your own DISC style.

If, as the hiring manager, you know your own DISC personality style then you will be able to identify when you might have a bias towards someone of the same style or a bias against someone of the opposing style.

By using DISC to understand your existing team, you can also ask questions that will determine how the job applicant would fit into the existing team structure, or to determine how they may interact with others on the team.

2) Use DISC personality profiles to tailor communication

Within your organization, you can also use the DISC personality assessment to tailor your communication with different employees. By developing an understanding of your DISC style and your team members DISC style, you can adapt your communication method to improve communications within your team. As a result, your team will feel valued. Employees who feel valued at work have been reported to perform better in their roles.

If one of your team members has a high Dominance personality type according to their DISC profile, being direct and concise may be the most effective communication style. Meanwhile, an employee with a high Influence score may prefer personable and conversational communication.

Different communication styles work for different people. If you understand your and your team’s personality type, you can improve communication within your company team by informing your team what communication style works best for you and adapting your communication style to suit what works best for them.

3) Improve team productivity and efficiency with DISC

Team productivity and efficiency is imperative for the success of your workplace teams. By understanding the DISC profiles of each individual team member, you can help your team to achieve better results for your business.

Grouping people with different temperaments together could cause issues in your team dynamic, which in turn could impact the work produced by that team. Using the DISC personality assessment will enable you to prevent misunderstandings, miscommunication and personality clashes within your team.

As you understand each team member’s personality and working style, you will be able to determine how well they will work with other team members.

The DISC assessment will also enable you to identify team members that may have clashing personality styles. You will then be able to advise these employees on the best method for working together as a team.

The DISC profile can also be useful when implementing a team structure. Although DISC cannot be used to select leaders, you could use it to find the most effective leadership development and training for your team leaders. The Everything DISC profile for leaders is an effective tool for helping leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact the success of their department or team.

4) Use the DISC personality test for employee development

Employees value personal development in the workplace. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning.

You can use the DISC personality assessment to further your employees’ personal and professional development. The DISC personality test can be used to help employees’ understand themselves and their own personality profile. Once they understand their personality style, you can then help them learn strategies to improve their workplace interactions and performance.

5) Motivate employees based on their DISC profile

Employee engagement should be a priority for your organization. Companies whose employees are truly motivated and engaged in their role are the most likely to succeed. There are more ways to motivate employees than simply through monetary rewards. By understanding each of your employee’s DISC styles, you can customize your motivation processes to help increase employee engagement and job satisfaction levels.

You can use the DISC personality profile to learn the dominant personality traits of your employees. Once you know their dominant trait, you will be able to customize your motivation processes to tap into their specific strengths.

For instance, employees with a dominant Conscientious personality style will be eager to maintain quality and accuracy in their work. Therefore, it may be beneficial to set them goals that they want to achieve based on their personality type.

Employees with a high Influence score may be more likely to be motivated by social recognition, group activities and relationships. These employees, therefore, may react positively to receiving recognition and praise, or being chosen to organize a social event for other team members.

No one motivation campaign will work for all of your employees. That’s why it can be beneficial to develop a deeper understanding of your employees and run motivation campaigns that suit each of the different personality styles identified by the DISC personality profile.

To summarize, the DISC personality assessment can help you nurture your employees and workplace teams, further their development and increase their performance levels. By developing an understanding of your employees personality styles, you will be able to optimize your workplace in numerous ways.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick