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I was wrong about personality quizzes – why they work!

Anthony Coombes discusses why personality quizzes actually work, despite his misconceptions, after The Team got 45,000 RBS employees to stop, take notice and participate in an exercise that would tell them more about their face of determination.

I was wrong about personality quizzes. At first, I thought they were just a bit of fun but a terrible idea for businesses to use. Why would customers or employees engage with a profiler? Who wants to be labelled or be disappointed by their own personality traits? And when people get their result what do they do with it? How is it useful? Why would people share it with others?

The first profiler I’ve seen answer these questions and prove me wrong was for RBS Group. It was part of an internal communications campaign created at The Team.

The aim was to help strengthen the resolve of employees. The profiler, called the many faces of determination, helped colleagues live RBS’s values and connect with their bold ambition to become number one for customer service, trust and advocacy by 2020.

The profiler opened up conversations with managers for learning and development. It gave people confidence in themselves and a better understanding of their strengths.

Over 45,000 employees have completed the determination profiler and found their face of determination.

What surprised me most about the outcome for RBS was the social impact. Individuals embraced their type, they printed out and pinned up their profile. They added it to their email signature, it became part of their identity.

It’s a human truth that the thing that interests us the most is ourselves.

The Team worked with Cambridge University to get the psychometrics right. I shared a link to one of their generic tests with my wife. Within an hour our mates had been hooked in too. Each attempted to guess the other’s type. We didn’t always get it right, but similarities were acknowledged, and couples made fun of their differences.

Here’s a profiler demo made at The Team. Answer 12 quick questions about how you prefer to work to find out what kind of a team player you are.

I also stumbled upon a quiz specifically for designers – ‘What kind of designer are you?’

My type describes me as: “… fascinated by people, endlessly curious about what they do and why they do it, trying to work out what makes them tick. Through your natural empathy for others, you’re able to work out what people want and need, and then propose lots of new ways to help them lead more productive and fulfilling lives.”

Talk to us to find out about how to playfully capture the attention of your employees. Give them an insight into themselves and show how they fit into the story of your company. We’ve done it for RBS and we’re doing it for a major US airline.

And if you want to read more about personality archetypes this is something else we have been thinking about. Brands use personality traits to offer reassurance and attract like-minded people. Read how designers and businesses use brand archetypes to define personality traits and inform decisions.

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