Why Bother Using Psychometrics in the World of Employee Relations? Conflict is Expensive

Claire Vane
May 23, 2023

I had such a stimulating time this week speaking at Daniel Barnett’s HR Inner Circle Annual Conference. It was good to hear Antony Sendall talking about workplace mediation and why grievances don’t work. More on that in due course. The topic I spoke about was the broad use of psychometrics and how they can help in workplace conflict resolution. The content was well received and I thought you would like to hear the essence of what I said, especially in relation to building perfect teams and resolving conflict.

Having been involved in both the hard side of HR (industrial relations, employee relations) and having grown into the soft side (leadership development, coaching, individual and organisational growth, and so forth), I’ve come to realise that we can empower ourselves enormously by using psychometrics in the world of employee relations, both from one's own point of view and for the organisation as a whole. Psychometrics can be used to help us with understanding:

• Neurodivergence

• The changes COVID-19 has made to the workplace and that different ways of working suit different people

• Gender differences and personality in leadership roles

• Conflict resolution and being able to articulate behaviours robustly

• Hiring more successfully and scientifically by reducing the gamble and probing areas of concern

• How to be better coaches

All we see day-to-day is behaviour and we certainly need to establish a language to talk about behaviour as well as a competency framework. Psychometrics can help to measure the unmeasurable and use language to describe behaviour in detail. This leads to us to all sorts of useful activities in conflict resolution and also to build the best team we possibly can out of individuals who have different strengths and hot spots. Though none of us wish to be accused of neurosis, the five-factor model on which most good tools are built looks at:

• Neuroticism

• Extraversion

• Openness (to experience)

• Agreeableness

• Conscientiousness

Of course, we are all on a spectrum and it's not a matter of being accused of a particular trait. We might score zero on some things and a hundred on something else. Even the most resistant clients have become fascinated with Lumina Spark which is the tool we have been using built on the ‘Big Five', which gives so much more value for money by looking at three personas:

The first of these personas is the underlying persona: you at your most natural, the real you. It may not be the one you show to others but is the most authentic you.

Secondly, there is the everyday persona: how you present yourself to others, which people think is the real you, but is the one you operate with in order to get the job done. It is how people see you in the workplace.  

Then there is the overextended persona, which is presented very positively and dwells on what happens when matters get tense, when events are coming close, and emotions are running high.  

If you would like to discuss the application of psychometrics for all of the purposes above and beyond then please do get in touch.

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