Wanted: All Personality Types

Wanted: All Personality Types | Kathleen Duffy | Diversity & Inclusion

Wanted: All Personality Types

Recruiting for Diversity of Thought… 

I recently spotted an article in the New York Times that discussed an extraordinary strategy implemented at a mining company in South Dakota. Miners who spend their days drilling and blasting wear protective hard hats decorated with a colorful sticker. That sticker shows an icon. The icon indicates the miner’s “love language”. This helps coworkers and supervisors understand how best to demonstrate and express appreciation for hard work or the completion of a successful project. Quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, or even a fist bump or high five will be more meaningful to some employees than others. These icons are a quick clue to the miner’s preference.

It’s a reminder that a successful workplace contains a diverse group of personalities. Each brings their unique skills and ways of looking at the world. Organizations need introverts and extroverts. Additionally, individuals who are creative and those who are analytical. People who can manage today’s tasks, and those who are imagining what’s next. 

Organizations that focus too intensely on “cultural fit” in their recruiting practices can miss the value of adding people to their teams who may think differently. Brainstorming, problem-solving, and innovation all benefit from varied perspectives. If one or two team members disagree with a campaign, a strategy, or a new product launch, that diversity of perspective can inspire elevated efforts to solve the problem or address what’s wrong. Diversity of thought may help you see things from all perspectives, including those of your customers.

At a time when the landscape for recruiting top talent is so competitive, it’s tempting to rely on familiar networks simply to find qualified candidates. But the companies that are driving innovation today take specific actions to ensure that their key contributors did not all attend the same school or live in the same zip code. That’s why I encourage the hiring leaders with whom I work to intentionally recruit for diversity of thought. 

This begins by examining your job descriptions and interview process to assess the types of candidates you are attracting. Are you inviting opinionated candidates to apply, those who may challenge your norms? Does your recruiting process assess problem-solving skills, or is it designed to eliminate candidates who may be less outgoing? Are there opportunities to demonstrate competence creatively and authentically, or is the emphasis on conformity and social skills?

There are many types of personality assessments that can be included in a hiring process to ensure this cognitive diversity. I recommend that you start with applying the assessment internally. Have all members of a department or team take the assessment. Thus, you find out what you might be missing in terms of diversity of thought. Then intentionally recruit to add this fresh perspective to your organization.

Some businesses implement a DiSC assessment to measure four personality traits. This includes dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. If an imbalance appears, we can work together to recruit individuals who can add value, improve productivity, help team members succeed, and alleviate conflict.

Other organizations rely on the Enneagram assessment to recruit for a more balanced workplace. The Enneagram can help pinpoint the “why” behind behaviors via nine personality types. It’s quickly clear why any organization needs a healthy balance of responsible loyalists, pragmatic achievers, and innovative investigators.

There’s a competitive advantage to a workforce that thinks differently. Investing in identifying how your employees think, knowing what motivates them, and learning how best to acknowledge their contributions will enable you not simply to recruit top talent, but to retain your best performers as well.  

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