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  • AJ Cheponis

Why behavioral fit matters to engagement

Last year, The Predictive Index conducted a survey of 3,000 employees across 20 industries to understand which factors had the greatest impact on employee engagement and turnover. Here are a few takeaways to enable you to hire the right people.


When we're helping our clients hire employees to drive their business strategy, it’s always tempting to focus on filling roles fast to solve for immediate needs. But the downstream effects of hasty hiring decisions extend beyond performance. Engagement takes a hit as well.


The good news: Hiring for behavioral fit can pave the way to better employee engagement while also improving time to hire metrics. Here’s how.



For those organizations that don’t use a behavioral assessment in their hiring process, your employees are likely to be less engaged.



While studies show a predictive link between behavioral fit for a particular role and job performance, how successful an employee is in their work does not necessarily guarantee they’ll be highly engaged while they do it. It’s possible for employees to do their jobs well without being bought into your business or mission.


According to PI’s study, respondents who answered yes when asked if they had been assessed as part of the hiring process showed an average engagement of 84%. For those who answered no, engagement was only 62%.



Why introduce behavioral assessments into your hiring process?


When employees are in roles that leverage their natural strengths and abilities, they’re better able to focus on the task at hand instead of the stress of flexing (or flattening) themselves to fit the demands of the job. This also frees employees to seek opportunities on other projects and initiatives outside their day-to-day, bringing them closer to their employers’ business results and the mission. The more involved and bought-in employees are, the higher their engagement.


As an added bonus, behavioral assessments allow employers to create an interview shortlist; this decreases time spent sifting through resumes and screening candidates by phone.




When your employees know their behavioral assessment results, they’re more self-aware—and more engaged.


Assessing candidates in the hiring process isn’t enough. New employees should have access to their assessment results for two reasons:


  1. To ensure employees understand why they’re behavioral fits for the job

  2. To build self-awareness


In the same study, PI found overall engagement scores for employees who knew their own behavioral assessment results averaged 87%. In a staggering 23 point drop, the study found employees who were unaware of their behavioral assessment results reported 64% engagement.


It makes sense. Transparency breeds trust, and when employees are aware of why they’re in the roles they’re in—when they understand they were thoughtfully hired—they’re more likely to feel good about their teams and employers. And when employees are given the tools they need to build self-awareness, they can focus on professional and personal development to become even more impactful to the business.



How do you share behavioral assessment results in a way that promotes understanding and self-awareness?


Sharing the results document itself is a start. But to make it stick, consider visual aids or tools designed to be easily understood at a quick glance, so employees can instantly identify themselves.


As a best practice for many PI users, employees have their behavioral results displayed on their desks not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of those around them. They also have Reference Profile stickers on their laptops.





Engagement isn’t just tied to individual behavioral fit. It’s tied to team dynamics, too.


Just as sharing assessment results is important to individual engagement, the data can also be interpreted to show the more self-aware employees are, the more likely they are to result in higher engagement scores across the following four categories: job, manager, people, and organization.


And here’s where it gets really interesting: The study also found companies using assessments to improve collaboration and communication among team members see an engagement score average of 87%. For companies who don’t leverage behavioral data in this way, engagement scores average at a low 62%.


Self-awareness and awareness of others’ needs are integral to team success. When employees understand and accommodate each other’s communication styles, they’re more likely to collaborate effectively. Better communication and collaboration leads to business results. And when results are achieved and employees feel impactful, engagement is inevitable.



Engagement may seem like a down-the-road issue to tackle. But it starts with hiring.


When working on your talent strategy, remember the full impact of making the right hire. Having the right employees in the right roles that leverage their natural strengths and abilities eliminates obstacles to engagement. And when employees are engaged, there’s no telling where your business can go.




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