How to choose the best psychometric profiling tool for your team

How to choose the best psychometric profiling tool for your team

Many large organisations use psychometric profiling tools nowadays. If you’re an employee you might have been asked to complete a number of them on different occasions!

But if you’re in control of your company budget and responsible for people outcomes how do you choose the best one?

We’re very clear that the worst profiling tool is the one that gets left in a drawer the day after it’s used.

The insight you obtain from these tools can be a real accelerator in the performance of your team. If you invest the time and money in a programme of profiling your team the worst thing you can do afterwards is let that insight wither and die.

Keeping those conversations “live” through ongoing conversations helps to keep people aware of what they learnt and how their preferred style interacts with others in the same team.

It’s how you and your people get the best return on that investment.

Emergenetics+ psychometric profiling tool

Emergenetics+ psychometric profiling tool is our preferred choice for a number of reasons and there’s a great video explaining the tool on the Emergenetics website.

The approach goes back over 30 years and is based in a deep understanding of brain science. Yet the profile itself is easy to understand and immediately applicable to your workplace.

Helpfully, Emergenetics have recently published a short document summarising the 9 key questions you might ask when choosing a psychometric profile.

We’re summarising that document here with our personal experience of how it works with real teams in the UK. You can download the full pdf report here via the Emergenetics website.

So what are the nine questions you should consider?

1. Original Research and Population

What population size and make-up informed the original research upon which the tool was based?

Most psychometric profiling tools of this nature will have some form of scientific research. Yet the sample size of this can vary widely.

The original Emergenetics research was derived from a statistical review of over 10,000 individuals from a broad and diverse range of industry sectors.

Yet some approaches out there are based on way fewer than this, bringing into question how valid the conclusions might be.

2. Reliability and Validity

How reliable and valid are the questionnaire questions? Are the results consistent over time?

The crucial question here is: If your team members completed profiles this month and next would they get the same result?

The variation in results on this measure can be quite wide. Which if you think about it isn’t a great basis on which to help people understand their behaviours and impact on others.

3. Re-norming Frequency

Are the norms recalculated as population trends evolve?

Globally, social attitudes, educational approaches and technology all affect how we think and behave.

Though it’s a heavy task, this should be accounted for through regular re-norming of the psychometric profiling tool, an exercise some providers choose not to undertake.

Emergenetics re-norms the original research every two years against a recent global sample of approximately 10,000 people.

4. Technical Report

Does the tool provide a free, openly-published technical report to explain its research and reliability?

This might be a question for the statistically-minded researcher.

The Emergenetics technical report runs to 70 pages and would need a good understanding of mathematics to interpret.

Yet the alternative approach, adopted by numerous providers, is simply not to provide this report at all, opting not to share their research background and reliability/validity results.

5. Simple Language

Are the questions and reports straightforward and written in plain language?

This is a somewhat subjective question to answer, but we like to think the language Emergenetics uses is clear and simple.

Whilst we’re big advocates of tools being underpinned by sound science, in some cases this makes understanding more difficult. Only you can assess what makes sense to you, but it’s worth considering alternative approaches.

Most important is that language in individual reports is positive and not judgemental.

When someone completes a psychometric profile you want them to do so knowing their results are intended to help them flourish.

Everyone has strengths and profiling is intended to demonstrate that. It should help people see how their preferred approach might be viewed by others, improving overall team performance.

6. Labelling

Does the profile label people?

If you’re familiar with profiles in use today you’ll almost certainly have heard comments like “I’m green” or “they are blue”.

Whilst this has the benefit of being simple to understand it runs the risk of reducing complex human behaviour to simple labels.

What’s increasingly understood is that humans adjust their behaviour according to circumstances. A good psychometric profiling tool should take this flexibility into account when assessing people’s preferences.

7. Embedding Learning and Impact

Are there support tools available to enable participants embed learning and impact?

This goes back to our initial observation that a psychometric profiling tool is only as good as its application.

Learning fades over time unless reinforced. Enjoying receiving your profile in a 1-2-1 or team session does not mean you will learn or apply the learning.

An important aspect of your choice of psychometric profiling tool should therefore be the support package offered by your provider.

Can they offer tools to help participants embed learning and impact?

What tools are available to provide ongoing support mechanisms to maximise their learning impact?

Emergenetics has a range of support materials available. For us by far the most important is the Emergenetics+ app, to which all attendees have lifetime access.

This handy app allows them to connect with others in your organisation who’ve completed a profile, with tips on how best to interact with them.

8. Thinking and Behaving

Does the tool assume linkages between thinking and behaving attributes?

Many tools combine how you think and behave into one attribute (for instance, an analytical thinker will be assumed an introvert). Models with just four traits have a tendency to fall into this trap given their need to simplify to four areas.

Yet latest research shows thinking and behaviour traits are separate and independent.

For this reason, Emergenetics separates thinking and behaviour attributes, as is backed up by the research.

The profile is much more nuanced than four attribute modules, which is a key reason people feel a strong affinity to their Emergenetics profile.

9. Quality Control of Practitioners

Does the tool have a quality control infrastructure globally?

This is something we can judge from personal experience.

Certification as an Emergenetics practitioner was a lengthy process, followed up by “exams” with real candidates to ensure we were communicating concepts appropriately.

It was quite a demanding process, but a good one when considering the importance of client experience.

Most tools rely on certifying practitioners to deliver the end-user experience.

All Emergenetics practitioners are monitored annually to ensure they remain current and it’s worth checking that any provider you consider has similar quality checks in place.

In summary…

Psychometric profiling is a growing approach that’s proven to have benefits in terms of individual and team performance.

There are many to choose from and making that decision can be a bit bewildering. This post should help you explore some of the questions you might want to ask.

If you’re going to invest in a psychometric profiling tool, it’s worth thinking through how it will fit into your leadership development programmes and how you’ll keep it alive.

Don’t be one of those that leaves it in a drawer!