How to Harness Personality Tests to Motivate Staff

Vicki Mann

Posted 10/01/2022
by Vicki Mann

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How to Harness Personality Tests to Motivate Staff

What are personality tests and how can their results be used to boost motivation, engagement and productivity in your workplace?

Personality tests are the workplace equivalent to dance videos on TikTok - increasingly on-trend and exploding in popularity. With workplace stress levels rising and staff motivation plummeting since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it's never been more important to invest in your team's happiness. Personality tests offer you guaranteed engagement and motivation with just a few simple tick-boxes, and that's why more and more employers are loving them. In fact, in the space between 2001 and 2013, the number of large companies using personality assessments shot up by a staggering 31% - from 26% to 57%. When you consider the level of insight into an individual's personality, behaviour and traits that these assessments offer you, it's not hard to see why everyone is jumping on the personality test bandwagon. 

The Psychology Behind Personality Tests 

Human personality and behavioural traits have intrigued psychologists for centuries. Why do people behave in certain ways? What makes an individual tick? What triggers someone's personality to evolve in the way it does? 

There are countless psychological theories about personality; what it is, where it comes from and which factors shape it. Those in the field of psychology refer to personality as being the set of personal characteristics and traits that make someone who they are. Some believe that personality is driven by an individuals' unique biological impulses (genetics) while others consider social and environmental factors to be the main motivation behind an individual's unique set of personality traits. However, most psychology professionals and enthusiasts nowadays identify with the view that personality is more complex than simply nature vs. nurture, and lean towards the holistic theory that both genetic and environmental factors influence our personality. 

A famous psychologist called Hans Eysenck developed one of the first theories of personality and subsequent personality profiles. The Eysenck Personality Inventory (1947) theorizes that personality can be divided into two spectrums: Introversion - Extroversion and Neuroticism - Stability. Extraverts tend to be sociable, excitable and impulsive, whereas introverts are quieter and more reserved with higher levels of conscientiousness and self-discipline. On the opposite spectrum, a neurotic individual is prone to self-consciousness, lower self-esteem and intense emotions and will shy away from risk-taking behaviour, whereas an individual with a stable assessment will often be more laid back. Eysenck later added a third personality dimension called Psychoticism. Someone with a psychotic personality type will often display aggressive behavioural styles and troublesome character traits such as low empathy, impulsivity and reckless self-determination. 

Eysenck's dimensional personality factor model continues to shape and motivate personality tests to this day, alongside other landmark psychology theories. Some widely used personality tests include:

The Big Five - a five-factor assessment model that measures how an individuals' personality traits fall into one of five different personality profiles. A test-taker can score high to low on each of the five dimensions:

  • Openness to experience (measures one's creativity and curiousness)
  • Conscientiousness (measures how organised, responsible and goal-oriented one is)
  • Extroversion (measures a person's sociability and gregariousness)
  • Agreeableness (measures traits such as compassion, warmth and consideration for others)
  • Neuroticism (measures how emotionally content, stable or self-aware an individual tends to be)

Myers Briggs Type Indicator - makes an assessment of one's personality based on how they answer a series of questions geared towards eight subtype dimensions: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); Sensing (S) or Intuiting (N); Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). The final result provides a four-letter personality profile, with each of the four letters corresponding to a personality trait dimension. For example, you could identify as an ENTJ or ISFP personality profile. The Myers Briggs personality assessment is most often used by businesses and workplaces to perform employee evaluations or encourage interactive team-building exercises. 

DiSC Assessment - similar to Myers Briggs in that it is most widely used by employees and organisations as a workplace personality test, however, it instead divides personality types into one (or a mix) of four profiles: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C).

At Skillsarena, we use something a little different. We incorporate colour psychology into our psychometric tests. Our Character DNA tool compares a user's answers to a series of questions with a database of traits, behaviours and personality features. This results in the user being given a colour profile that best reflects their personality: either Red, Yellow, Green or Blue.If you're interested in finding out what colour best represents your personality, head to our meet the colours page to find out more.

As you can see, psychometric assessments offer extensive insight into a person's personality, behaviour and relationships. The results of these personality assessments can identify and shed light on the factors that motivate, drive and encourage an individual as well as their personal strengths and weaknesses. Not only are personality tests fascinating for the individual themselves, but as an employer, they can be a great way to understand your employees better, strengthen the employee-employer relationship and make workplaces more motivational and rewarding for everyone involved. 

Why Motivation is Important for Every Workplace

According to workplace experts LinkedIn, higher employee motivation can lead to:

Maximised productivity - just like nobody wants to tear themselves away from their warm, cosy bed first thing on a Monday morning, nobody wants to work when they're not motivated. Being motivated encourages staff members to perform well and produce top-quality work. 

Higher employee engagement - if an employee is motivated to work, they're likely to show greater engagement with their company and colleagues. 

Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover - if a workplace keeps you content, motivated and happy and has a positive effect on your well-being, employees are more likely to want to show up and stay in their roles.

High-performing and empowered teams - a group of motivated staff members can achieve anything! This is amazing for productivity and profit as well as company culture. 

Reduced costs for example from high staff turnover, low productivity, unnecessary mistakes and delays, and employee absenteeism. 

Improved employer-employee relationship through being a boss that understands and supports individual traits, skills and needs. 

How to Use Personality Tests to Boost Motivation in Your Workplace

Personality assessments are an interesting and effective way to identify your employees' individual personalities and celebrate and accommodate the individual differences in your workplace. However, they can also be a powerful motivational tool in the workplace. By building a greater understanding of their individual characteristics when it comes to working styles, an employee becomes more motivated to adapt their behaviour to suit their needs - often leading to enhanced productivity, work ethic and morale.

So, how can you reap the rewards of personality testing in your organisation?

Revamp Your Recruitment Process

Incorporating personality testing into your recruitment process can entice people to apply by keeping job applications fun and interesting rather than tedious and demoralising; all whilst still drawing insightful information that can help you employ the right people for your company. 

Anonymous personality testing can also reduce unconscious hiring bias, leading to increased workplace diversity. This can motivate more people to apply for your job posting because they know they will be treated fairly. Moreover, the benefits of a diverse workplace are endless, including greater creativity, varied perspectives, fresh ideas, innovation, improved decision-making and greater cultural awareness. 

In addition, personality testing in the pre-hire stage of employment can make for smarter hiring decisions. The feedback from a job candidate's personality test can tell you whether or not that person's personality would be a good fit for the organisation. It can also help prevent different personality types from clashing between co-workers, something which frequently leads to employee tensions, tarnishes company culture and ruins motivation. 

Similarly, the profile or result of a personality test can give you an idea as to whether a job applicant would suit the role they're applying for. Degree qualifications can only do so much; if someone's personality and behavioural traits aren't suitable for the job, it's unlikely that their time at the company will have much longevity. Avoid wasting time, money and resources on unsuccessful new hires - give personality assessments a go in your next recruitment process or pre-employment checks. 

Enhance Your Current Workplace

A workplace personality test can help you to find suitable roles for prospective and current staff by taking into consideration their unique traits, skills, strengths and weaknesses. For example, an extroverted employee may flourish in people-oriented roles like sales or marketing whereas a more introverted team member may be better suited to administrative or managerial work where conscientiousness is key. If a role is well-suited to an employee, you not only enhance motivation, engagement and productivity, but you avoid them feeling overwhelmed, stressed and demoralised. It can also lead to more effective, well-rounded teams which increase motivation because everyone feels involved and that their individual strengths are being both valued and utilised. This is extremely important for the motivation and longevity of your team, as feeling underutilised and unchallenged are some of the biggest reasons why people quit their jobs

Use workplace personality tests with current staff to allow them to understand themselves better and skyrocket their self-development and self-efficacy. The final profile of a personality test gives you an extensive run-down of all things you - your strengths, weaknesses, communication and learning styles. If a profile tells you that an employee's personality type means they're highly sociable, loyal and creative but prone to procrastination and disorganisation, then you and your employee can discuss what factors to implement to increase their motivation and productivity at work. These day-to-day factors could include a flexible schedule, office or home-based working, reduced hours, regular breaks throughout the day or trying different learning styles to complete tasks. Or, it could involve bigger changes such as completely switching job roles to one that is better suited to their personality type!

Desirable incentives enhance job performance, boost morale and increase team solidarity. Uncovering the personality types of your team can help you find out what factors motivate your staff and play to these to set desirable rewards and incentives that enhance motivation, engagement and productivity. Not everyone is driven by monetary goals (although this is rarely a bad idea) - if your team is full of sociable, extroverted characters why not reward them with a staff party, drinks or meal out on the company card? Conversely, if your team members are quiet, introverted and feedback-driven, try personalised incentives and feedback-related rewards as your motivational tools. 

Finally, use personality questionnaires as a fun and interesting team-building exercise, such as our fun and interactive Character DNA Discovery workshop, that doesn't involve having to go round in a circle sharing your dream holiday destination or secret talent. Nobody enjoys that, but they'll love finding out what personality type they have! 

Inject Motivation Into Your Workplace with Skillsarena Personality Tests

By now, we're sure that you're convinced to give workplace personality tests a try, and not just for how powerful an impact they can have on employee engagement and motivation. 

Luckily, you don't have to look far to find an effective personality testing tool for your organisation. At Skillsarena, we offer a range of personality tests to suit all your needs, including assessments for personal use, remote workers, hiring managers and team managers

Our Character DNA personality assessment tool matches an employee's personality type to a corresponding colour profile; either Red, Yellow, Green or Blue. Each colour gives a powerful insight into what makes your employee tick and can be effectively used to boost motivation within your workplace. Meet the colours today!


Get started on your personality test journey with us today and watch your staff's motivation skyrocket. Simply contact us today to see how you can improve the morale of demotivated and motivated teams alike. 

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