Welcome to this HR blast. In this Blast, we look at a few of the staffing issues that frequently cause grief in the workplace. We look at how we might better use some of the HR artificial intelligence tools available in order to either reduce or avoid these issues that so often absorb time, energy and of course, money!
Specifically, we want to focus on four areas
- Working with people who struggle to get past resentments and grudges
- Employees who struggle with change
- Staff who struggle with a hierarchical working environment
- Individuals who might struggle with remote working.
And the tools that might help? We take a look at just four that Jaluch offers clients, but there are of course more on the market.
Raising Awareness of behaviours and motivators:
- Behaviour and communications profiling (this is a DISC and colour profile that identifies 4 principal styles: Dominance (red) – How we respond to problems & challenges; Influence (Yellow) – How we respond to people & contact; Steadiness (Green) – How we respond to pace & consistency and Compliance (blue) – How we respond to procedures & constraints
- Emotional intelligence profiling (an insightful tool that looks at 15 areas: Adaptability; Self-Motivation; Happiness; Optimism; Self-Esteem; Emotion Regulation; Impulse Control; Stress Management; Relationships; Emotion Expression; Emotion Perception; Empathy; Emotion Management; Assertiveness and Social Awareness
Structured non-confrontational feedback:
- 360 degree feedback (we use a leadership 360 review tool that assesses 9 competencies: Strategic Awareness; Influence; Team Working; Vision; Communication; Impact; Problem Solving; Drive; Organisation)
- General intelligence testing ( a useful tool from Thomas international that assesses: Reasoning; Perceptual Speed; Number Speed & Accuracy; Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation)
A quick note about artificial intelligence tools
It’s odd that many people choose to not use profiling or other assessments simply as a result of saying that they don’t like putting people in boxes, but those same people have no problem in accepting that artificial intelligence tools are used in every other aspect of their working lives. Algorithms run our lives from supermarket offers, to google searches, to insurance premiums. So why on earth the resistance in using them to support us when it comes to managing the hardest part of our jobs – the other people?
Resentments and grudges
There is nothing in the Managers’ or HR manual about how you handle staff who just can’t get past their resentments or grudges. But if you don’t acknowledge and deal with them, then they can cost you so much time and stress. Those who hold grudges are also the ones who do your organisation major damage after leaving you, often harbouring ill feeling for years, if not decades after moving on.
DISC and colour profiling can give you an indication of who is more likely to hold a grudge. These same tools can give you the information you need to open up a discussion with your employee and talk about why they are feeling, acting or thinking as they are.
As an example of how profiling can give you an insight into how to manage and support an employee here is a quote about High S (Green) profiles: “High S’s are non – emotional. That said they are very emotional, but they have an inherent ability to mask their emotions. …they do not express their emotions…… the strong side of this trait is that the High S can build a great team while going through tough personal events. The weak side of this trait is that internalised emotion is not physically or mentally healthy “
Just knowing that a high S (Green) trait is to mask feelings and internalise emotions provides you, the manager, with the starting point for a discussion in a safe comfortable environment about what your employee is, in fact, thinking and feeling.
Employees who struggle with change
A while ago when advising a client, we suggested that during their intended business transfer, they would find at least 1 in 10 of their directors would resist change at every turn and that this in turn could scupper the entire business transaction. Not surprisingly, a few months later we hear that there has in fact been one director who has worked against the process every step of the way and the huge cost and impact there has been on the business as a result.
An intelligence assessment is one way to know who in your team might struggle with change. A low score across the board might suggest that whilst your employee could learn new skills and ways of operating, they might take a long time to learn those new skills. One consequence of that could be that they become difficult and obstructive in order to divert attention away from what they are in fact struggling with.
Another reason why someone might struggle with change could be down to their Optimism score (as can be found using the EI profiling) if that is low, as this might result in them only seeing what might go wrong with the change you are trying to introduce. but if you know someone has a low Optimism score, that might guide you in how much time you put into team building, communicating and actively supporting those going through change. In this case, the knowledge you gain from the artificial intelligence tools will give you what you need to more successfully manage the challenging issues.
Alternatively, if you looked at using the behavioural profile tool to understand responses to change, you might find that a high C (blue) profile would not necessarily be worried about the change itself, but the effects the change might have. Blues are very facts focused personality so if you wanted to manage them successfully through the change, you need to know that they will need to be convinced of why and how the change will be good or relevant. You will also need to give them to time to reflect on it and time to adjust their daily, highly organised routine…
Staff who struggle with a hierarchical working environment
Whilst many organisations have in recent years moved to a flatter structure, there are still many organisations that maintain highly hierarchical working environments. Whilst these appear to be well understood, perhaps what is not so well understood is what sort of person might struggle in this environment. And of course, when staff struggle, the consequences can be damaging including:
- low self-esteem
- reduced the morale of the whole team
- reduced productivity
- increased staff turnover
- negative impact on succession plans
- staff who resist changing
- a lack of respect for the leadership
Using the profiling tool, you would learn that whilst Red/High D profiles often dominate the upper ranks of organisations, when in a junior role these same people often struggle to ‘take orders’. They will need extra support and guidance in order to keep them in the organisation while they progress through the ranks.
And if you have done an intelligence assessment that has identified they lack the potential to ever progress through the ranks, then they may need significant extra support and guidance as somehow you will need to find a way to make them comfortable in the environment they are in. Often more self-management and control over day to day tasks might achieve this.
Individuals who struggle with remote working
We have written before about some of the dangers of remote working. Whilst it appears to be utopia for some, it is anything but utopia for others, particularly after the initial honeymoon period. But rather than just look at each request for home working on an individual basis and job basis (who is asking and can they do their job from home)it is far better to use artificial intelligence tools such as EI or DISC to help us identify whether the person will struggle with home working and if so, why or how they might struggle.
Various tools can support with this including the EI and profiling tools. But just using the profiling tools, take a look below at how the four different profiles might respond to home working:
“As a goal orientated, self-starter, task focused and a direct personality, a high D (red) profile would enjoy working remotely as they would get their tasks done without any disruptions. Be careful though to keep them focussed otherwise they may be distracted with their own personal goals they want to achieve! A high red values time so remote working could be of benefit.”
“A high I (yellow) would find this excluding, they’re sociable creatures and do not like being on their own for too long. They gain their energy from others and have a need for interaction and verbal communication with others as well as self-recognition from their team.”
“As a people orientated personality a high S (green) would struggle to remote work all the time. A good balance of home/office working would be of benefit as they tend to be people orientated, thriving in a supportive team”
“As a high C (blue) is task focused, rather than people focussed, they may prefer to work remotely and alone, as this will give them the time and space they need to concentrate on their tasks without the distractions of others. Often highly self-organised, remote working is a great option for this profile.”
As you can see hugely different preferences in working environments for different people and understanding this before you agree to a request for a home working could save you considerable time and effort in managing the employee or resolving any grievances or low-performance issues should those arise.
But what are the objections to using artificial intelligence tools in HR:
The £100+ cost of many of the tests is prohibitive.
- actually, the cost is negligible, absolutely minute, in comparison to the cost of sorting out legal or other issues.
I don’t like putting people in ‘boxes’
- actually these tools, when used intelligently, simply allow you to support your staff as individuals and provide you with a huge amount of information and knowledge that otherwise would not be available to you. When we run a Colourwise course at Jaluch, it is so often the course that delegates say has inspired them as no course has ever done before.
Profiling is a waste of time
- actually, it is only a waste of time if your mind is closed and you have yet to learn how to use these tools as a valuable source of information and guidance
There are too many tools on the market and we don’t want to test for everything
- Good thinking! So start with one tool and see if in due course you want to add another one to your tool-kit.
Only a psychologist should be able to assess individuals. These tools are too simplistic.
- These tools provide fantastic information at a very reasonable price. You wouldn’t question the algorithms in the Google search engine, so why on earth do you question whether similar technology can support decision making and knowledge in the HR industry?
Using artificial intelligence tools is a huge topic, but we hope that what we have set out here has provided some food for thought. if you want more information about the different tools that Jaluch offers its clients then please email or call us on 01425 479888.
Sales skills for non-sales staff
On another topic, to support all our clients who are looking to move towards a workplace where all staff understand their role in selling and have developed the confidence to sell – from reception staff, to back office staff, and all customer-facing staff – Jaluch his now delighted to have for sale a new Bag of Learning: Sales skills for non-sales staff. This course is a must if you want to raise confidence and knowledge in order to remain competitive in your market. Extremely cost effective, practical, engaging training tools for you to deliver across your business. Call us now for details – 01425 479888.
The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individual matters.