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4 ways behavioral data helps you improve employee engagement

Oct 27, 2020

When an employee’s performance suffers, many times it comes down to disengagement. 

There are many reasons for disengagement. Employees may have been newly hired or promoted into a position they’re not a good fit for, or they may be on a team that isn’t working well together or that they feel isn’t playing to their strengths. Perhaps they don’t feel supported by their manager, don’t feel engaged in the work they’re doing or they don’t feel there’s growth and development opportunities within the organization.

Whatever the case, disengagement leads to turnover. While it’s costly to have to rehire for a position, it’s just as costly to lose talented employees who, if their disengagement could have been addressed, would have continued adding value to the organization.

Behavioral data and The Predictive Index®

Addressing employee disengagement and proactively improving engagement is critical to running an efficient and successful organization. One critical tool to help you do so is behavioral data. 

Behavioral data consists of what drives people — what excites them, what motivates them to get up in the morning, and what they need to be happy, successful and engaged. While personality can change over a person’s lifetime, generally, what drives them remains stable. That allows you to predict certain behaviors, like how employees will perform in a specific role, how they’ll work with specific people and how they could develop. It also highlights what they need to feel and stay engaged.

For The Predictive Index (PI), behavioral data forms the foundation of its talent optimization platform. Its assessments, guides and other valuable tools help organizations collect and harness behavioral data in order to make crucial decisions. Below are four big employee engagement benefits of PI and behavioral data:

1. Deliver better coaching and a more tailored management style

When each employee on a team has taken PI’s behavioral assessment, mangers can better understand each individual’s specific needs, drives, strengths, areas of struggle, etc. This knowledge, used in conjunction with PI’s manager tools, helps mangers learn how to tailor their management style to each specific team member. 

For example, you may like to walk around and stop by each team member’s desk to check in on them, but this won’t be ideal for every single person. Some team members may prefer to have private, dedicated one-on-one meetings, or they may already be battling distractions in an open-office setting and are more frustrated than relieved by your drop-in visit. Part of being an effective manager who can improve employee engagement instead of contributing to disengagement is acknowledging how an employee prefers to be managed and then adjusting to manage them that way.

This is just as true for new hires as long-time employees. When it comes to new hires, the first 90 days are critical to retaining them. PI provides managers with a strategy guide that helps them build a 90-day action plan around the new hire. You’ll learn how they prefer to work and be managed, how to make adjustments around any friction arising between team members, and what actions you can take to ensure the new hire is engaged and happy with their role.

2. Help teams work together better

To promote teamwork, PI provides dynamic team tools such as a one-on-one relationship guide between two team members. 

When an employee starts a new position, you can use this guide to predict how they’re going to work with another team member — where they’ll work well together and where there may be friction. Knowing where that friction could be helps you proactively manage both team members to ensure a smoother transition.

It can also help you solve friction between team members who have been working together but one or both of them are becoming less engaged over time because of conflicts in their working styles. Some people like to brainstorm as a group, building off one another. Others like to brainstorm in private so they can better put their thoughts together and come back to the group with ideas. These two employees and their differing workstyles can sometimes come into conflict and create disengagement. 

Similarly, if your team contains several innovative thinkers who aren’t detail-oriented or have trouble with time-management, you may want to consider adding a team member with those skills to balance the team. The Team Discovery tool allows you to explore individual work styles, uncover your team’s collective strengths and blind spots, and collaborate better to minimize conflict between team members. 

Ultimately, PI provides tools that help managers not only fill talent gaps on their team in a strategic way but also help team members better understand one another and work together more effectively. PI helps simplify what can be complex working relationships and provide you with recommendations on how to proceed to decrease conflict and increase engagement. 

3. Improve career development

Your ability to create job targets using PI forms the foundation of the hiring and promoting process. When external candidates take the behavioral assessment, you can compare the results to the job target to see who is likely the best fit for the position. You can also view internal job matches based on the behavioral assessments of existing employees, which gives you the option to promote from within instead of hire externally. 

Because career development is such a critical part of employee engagement, it’s important not only for opportunities to exist but also for managers to understand how to identify them and/or help employees develop along the necessary lines.

With PI, managers have the ability to map employees to the job target of an existing position and see what areas they would need to work on developing in order to be considered for that position in the future. Alongside the coaching guide, it helps you, as a manager, understand how to coach and develop an employee over time.

4. Improve overall employee engagement

One of the newer tools PI has developed is an employee experience survey that helps measure engagement and provide targeted recommendations using behavioral data. 

With traditional employee engagement surveys, many organizations are great at collecting data and comments from their employees but are unsure how to take action with the feedback that is provided. PI’s employee experience survey — built off its behavioral data foundation and working in alignment with its other robust tools — helps unlock the real roots of disengagement by providing a measurement of impact on engagement, and then determine what real next steps to take. The Action Plan report provides information that helps celebrate strengths while providing targeted steps and recommendations for blind spots. 

The survey can be used to help identify and solve disengagement within teams or departments — it can be used with different levels of the organization and doesn’t always have to be sent organization-wide. This allows you to drill down to specific teams that might be struggling with productivity to determine the root of the disengagement. 

How to improve employee engagement: Get started with The Predictive Index

While PI’s tools are easy to use, many of our clients choose to partner with us to help guide them on their journey of implementing and effectively using PI. From training to execution, we can help your organization leverage PI to improve hiring and promoting, perform success planning, reduce team conflicts, and overall optimize the talent at your organization.

Click here to learn more about PI, or continue reading on:

Article: How Predictive Index tools can help organizations reach DEI goals 

Article: How Predictive Index helps you optimize talent from the inside out

Webinar: Refocus: Building a sustainable culture using Predictive Index®


Heather L. Debelak, PI, OCI, OEI
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