Are we ignoring dark traits of employees?

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Assessment tools give weightage to positive traits. How about assessment tools that track dark traits of individual. CHROs share their wish list.

Employees today are smarter, authoritative and never leave a chance to make themselves heard. But how do you tackle their dark traits? In a turn of events, for HR head of Mitsubha it had nearly cost his life after being hit by a bullet from an employee sacked for alleged unprofessional behaviour.

An organisation’s work culture is solely created and altered by its employees and leaders, and that very fabric of an organisation could be threatened because of undesirable employee behaviour affecting the internal work culture, profits, employer branding, image as well as relations with external stakeholders.

Mostly positive traits and competencies are given weightage in psychometric assessments such as skill assessment, reasoning, aptitude and more. However, positive tests may not encapsulate the need of businesses in entirety.

Now, there are online psychometric tools that are available to track dark traits of individual such as self-obsession (focus on oneself), opportunism (taking advantage of any situation for personal well-being), temperamental (reacting to situations violently), insensitive (being apathetic towards others), thrill-seeking (taking high-risk decisions) and impulsiveness (hasty decision making).

Alok Mehta

Assessment tools may not demystify complex human behaviour. I would like to base decisions on human interaction to understand such traits in employees.

With the advent of machine learning, advancement in psychometric tools and higher accuracy levels such a technology is delivered at scale. They can assist CEOs, CHROs to identify potentially risky behavioural traits in their organisations.

Internationally and in India psychometric test development companies, such as Hogan and Mettl, have developed and used personality test which explores the dark aspect of human personality.

Being dark is unavoidable and HR experts see these tools as a mixed bag. Some believe such tools can value add to the existing method of employee assessment and work as a developmental tool.

These tools give a psychological comfort to support your decision. It is always better to observe people

Paneesh Rao

based on real life situations rather than relying on such a tool. Nonetheless, these tools can track the behaviour pattern or mental health of employees.

“There are ways to check about the person’s behavioural traits through social media habits and referral checks but such tools can give more elements of an individual which could act as an opportunity to reconfirm the decision,” says a senior HR professional.

Interview sessions may not be enough to understand the dark traits of an individual so the assessment tools can validate the red flags observed during the session.

“The success of such tools depend upon the usage whether it is for selection or filtering out candidates. It may not work as a development tool because if such values are under question that the company would not want to hire such an individual,” says Anjali Raghuvanshi, chief people officer, ?Randstad India.

Balachandar N

A tool which measures such extreme dark side or negative behaviour can help the organisation de risk or thwart such negative behaviour in the future. These tools can be useful for high-risk jobs where such negative behaviour cannot be encouraged. They would work at senior level or leadership role to identify the derailers.

“If it’s a high value organisation then the company will put thrust on such a tool and create processes, system in line with their values,” she adds.

Alok Mehta, executive director, human resources, ?Hexagon Capability Centre India, doesn’t want to comply by such a tool and instead rely on personal interaction. “Assessment tools may not demystify complex human behaviour. I would like to base decisions on human interaction to understand such traits in employees.”

Even Paneesh Rao, chief human resource officer – ?L&T Technology Services, believes that such tools can augment employee assessment capability only to some extent. “These tools give a psychological comfort to support your decision. It is always better to observe people based on real life situations rather than relying on such a tool. Nonetheless, these tools can track the behaviour pattern or mental health of employees.”

Anjali Raghuvanshi

It may not work as a development tool because if such values are under question that the company would not want to hire such an individual.

Most CHROs feel psychometric tools can work to understand leadership capabilities based on its efficacy. With respect to senior positions and leadership roles, it can be determined whether the individual is culturally aligned or not. Dark Personality Assessment can also help organisations with such functions as leadership development, High Potential (HiPo) identification and succession planning.

Organisations are conscious and already conducting comprehensive personality assessments at senior level to understand the kind of personality being hired where in such tests are done by a third party.

Vishalli Dongrie

It is important to use a tool that allows one to view the correlation between the dark side and the bright side, in turn accurately highlighting the employee’s strength and development areas

“A tool which measures such extreme dark side or negative behaviour can help the organisation de risk or thwart such negative behaviour in the future. These tools can be useful for high-risk jobs where such negative behaviour cannot be encouraged. They would work at senior level or leadership role to identify the derailers,” says Balachandar N, group director – human resources at Coffee Day Group.

Assessment tools can be a powerful tool used throughout the employee lifecycle. “It is important to use a tool that allows one to view the correlation between the dark side and the bright side, in turn accurately highlighting the employee’s strength and development areas,” adds Vishalli Dongrie, partner & head, people & change advisory services, KPMG in India.

Others believe that results need to be interpreted and analysed in the correct context to make it a workable tool. “Organisations must have the ability to have different levels of corrective action to be able to utilise the test results,” says a senior HR leader.

Such tools won’t work at the bottom of the pyramid because attrition rates are higher in sectors such as retail or hospitality, emphasise experts.

No matter what tests are conducted and tools are deployed, the assessment of an employee has to be objective and holistic to ensure you have the right talent on board.

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