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The Law of Personalities

Modern business is no longer just about what you can do; it is about who you are as a person.

In recent years, soft skills and attributes have been viewed as increasingly important to recruitment and HR. This is compared to more traditional hard skills, such as technical skills and qualifications, which can be more easily quantified.  Because of this, psychometric testing and personality typing has stepped in to quantify the unquantifiable - what makes people ‘tick’.  Through these tests, employers can receive information not just about the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential employees, but also about how well individuals work together, and what employees value.

As a consequence, personality testing has the potential to revolutionise the way that we do business. Imagine if you could maximise efficiency by accurately organising teams based on who would work well together? Or align psychometric recruitment testing to company values so that you could hire employees who share your ideals?

This is set against the backdrop of personality differences being the third most common cause of workplace conflict. Irreconcilable differences in personality is a potentially fair reason for dismissal.  For instance, in the case of Perkin v Healthcare NHS Trust, the Court of Appeal considered the dismissal of an executive lawful because, although his conduct was not in question, there was an irreconcilable clash of personalities between him and the senior management.  The executive had an abrasive manner, and a leadership style that did not fit well with the organisational culture.

However, although there are many obvious benefits to some sort of personality screening, there can potentially be legal implications if psychometric tests are not used by employers in a mindful way.

Firstly, certain testing criteria could be indirectly discriminatory if people from different cultures, age groups or genders approach them differently. This could become a legal issue if promotion or recruitment decisions were ever based on these test results.  Secondly, employers should never base redundancy or disciplinary decisions on psychometric testing as this is highly unlikely to be viewed as reasonable by a tribunal.  Finally, data protection could possibly be an issue with personality testing.  This is because consent should be given by employees for employers to store the data, and this should be held securely, and for no longer than is necessary.  

Therefore, there are some potential legal concerns with personality testing, but if used carefully, psychometric testing could prove to be a very valuable tool to many businesses. In our current climate, soft skills such as customer service, resilience, and the ability to work well with others can in some cases be more important to businesses than hard skills.  This means that psychometric and personality tests have an important place in modern companies, and they are likely to be used increasingly in the future. 

For an example of a psychometric personality test that businesses use, please follow this link: https://www.jobtestprep.co.uk/personalityfree.aspx

And for a less serious, quick and fun Myers Briggs test please click on this link: http://icould.com/buzz/ so you can find out which animal you are!

Here are the personalities of The Employment Team:

Hannah is a Barn owl: http://icould.com/buzz/barn-owl/

Debbie is a Koala bear: http://icould.com/buzz/koala-bear/

And I am a Dolphin: http://icould.com/buzz/dolphin/

If you have an HR or employment issue, or would like to find out more about our Holistic HR service, please contact myself and Hannah on 0845 345 5004 or fill out our online contact form.

 

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