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COVID-19 and the Virtual Workplace: How Can Personality Assessment Help Your Business During Turbulent Times?

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Mar 18, 2020

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*This post was authored by Krista Pederson, director of Asia Pacific business development at Hogan, and Garrett Shaffer, an account manager at Hogan, and appeared on Hogan Assessments.

With concern about the spread of COVID-19, more companies are choosing to allow workers to office remotely; Remote work isn’t a new concept. Over the past couple of years, with the increase in demand for a flexible workplace and the development of more advanced AI technology, many companies are choosing to offer employees the option to work virtually. VR conferencing; communication platforms such as WeChat, Slack, and Skype for Business; and apps for managing remote work and workers make remote work feasible and just as easy to manage as working in an office.

 

Having plans and a policy in place for virtual or remote employees will allow companies to adapt to external threats more quickly. Without such plans, companies can find themselves unprepared and scrambling to react when faced with a crisis. Figuring out how to best manage a workforce with limited mobility can be difficult. For example, some employees might not work as well without direct supervision; how can we know which employees need greater support and which ones can be more independent? When team members are remote, how can they learn to play off one another’s strengths and weaknesses to work more efficiently, both as a team and with other departments? And while many companies are considering ways to cut costs during this time, hiring is still inevitable for many companies. Typically, in-person interviews are part of any company’s hiring process. How can a company hire the right talent without meeting in person? How a company handles these challenges could determine its success or failure, especially during a time when the COVID-19 will have potentially serious implications for the global economy.

Personality Assessments for Remote Employees

 

At Hogan, we often say that there are two elements that make a business successful: people and money. We specialize in helping companies know people. We study the science of personality and know that personality predicts performance, so we also know that understanding personality is central to resolving the challenges of working remotely mentioned previously. Using a valid and reliable personality assessment can tell you everything you need to know about a person’s work style, and it can help you determine the best course for managing a person or team, or decide whether to proceed in hiring someone.

If you know that an employee is extraverted, you might plan more interactive opportunities for that employee, allow her to set her own goals, and provide resources for her to accomplish those goals remotely. If you find that an employee lacks agency, you might need to plan out specific activities and goals for him to accomplish with frequent check-in points since he might not automatically be comfortable driving his own agenda. Making sure he has enough structure working virtually will be the key to his success.

When building and managing a team, consider that a large body of research has shown that selecting team members by functional skills does not guarantee effectiveness. While you might have a team full of people with world-class skills or degrees, the team can still fail to perform as a cohesive unit.  Personality and values are essential for developing that social cohesion and enhancing performance, especially when the team works remotely.

Finally, when considering hiring talent via remote processes, assessments can be your biggest asset. As Darin Nei, director of product and international distributors at Hogan, outlined: Personality assessments add structure to the interview process, are difficult to fake, and are a cost-effective way of gathering equal and fair interview information about all candidates. Personality assessments for remote employees are a great initial step in the entire hiring process because it doesn’t discriminate, so it is an easy way to help promote diversity and inclusion in your organization as part of the hiring process. Additionally, when combined with other assessments, such as reasoning or ability assessments, it can provide a complete, objective, overall picture of a candidate. While interviews with some candidates will still be necessary, using a personality assessment is a great foundation for the entire hiring process and will help any interview, including those that are remote, be much more effective.

While we cannot control many things during the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we should look for the areas we can understand and develop to give our companies the best competitive advantage. Hogan can work with your company to help it gain a huge competitive advantage by helping you understand your talent, ensuring your company is as successful as possible during turbulent times.

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