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Understanding Personality in the Workplace

24 Jul


Today’s CEOs, managers, and HR professionals want their employees to bring more to the job than hard work skills. While employees must be adept at the basic tasks necessary to perform their jobs, work-related skills alone don’t necessarily make a great employee. To succeed in this competitive market, organizations need employees who also possess the values and personality traits that help build a loyal engaged team. In a recent Hyper Island survey, 78 percent of more than 500 employees, hiring managers, hiring directors, CEOs in the communications, tech, and business development industries said that personality was more important than a candidate’s skill set. When asked which specific personality traits were the most important, participants of the survey listed open-mindedness, creativity, and motivation as traits they would like to see in a new employee. Understanding the big five personality traits and hiring the right ones for your organization is the key to more profitable business. Engaged, loyal employees succeed and move up the ranks, positively influencing every aspect of your company. Matching employee’s personalities with the right roles in the early stages of your business sets them, and you, up for future success.

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The Big Five

In the early 20th century, psychologists devised a model to measure personality based on five factors called The Big Five. The personality theory has become the most widely researched and accepted model for explaining personality differences. The Big Five personality traits are broad domains, or dimensions, used to assess an individual’s personality. These dimensions are:
Extroversion – Sometimes referred to as assurgency, extroversion is a broad dimension encompassing more specific personality traits, such as assertiveness, talkativeness, and overall energy.
Agreeableness – Include such specific traits as being kind, affectionate, and sympathetic. The agreeable personality is likeable and cooperative.
Neuroticism – Refers to a person’s ability to maintain emotional stability. Neurotic personalities are described as moody, anxious and tense.
Conscientiousness – A productivity-oriented personality trait.
Openness to Experience – Sometimes referred to as intellect or intellect/imagination, this broad personality dimension includes being insightful, imaginative, and possessing a wide range of interests.
Hiring individuals for roles that do not fit their personalities can result in lower employee engagement, according to Gallup. Lower employee engagement leads to a 21 percent drop in productivity, 22 percent lower profitability, and 45 percent higher turnover, on average. A personality assessment can be an invaluable tool for screening current employees for key managerial roles, helping you avoid productivity and profitability losses.
Knowing where a candidate falls on the continuum for the above personality traits (extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness) can give an employer great insight into how the individual will interact with co-workers and supervisors. For example, an accounting position may be best suited for an introverted, conscientious person. If the person is too introverted, however, he or she may not interact effectively with coworkers, clients, and managers. On the other hand, a bubbly outgoing individual may be great for a sales or marketing position.

Personality: They Key to an Affective Work Team

Understanding the big five personality traits isn’t just important in employee retention and team building; it’s essential. Consider what personality traits you would like your employees to possess and how you can take advantage of personality testing technology to build a more effective team. A testing vendor can help you incorporate personality trait assessments into your employee screening process, thereby saving time, energy, and money for your organization.

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