By Stephanie Woo, OD, FAAO, FSLS
Sept. 11, 2019
Personality assessments can teach you and your staff about yourselves, and how you can best relate to one another. Here is how one practice uses this tool to help staff work together to deliver topnotch patient care.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Preferences for How to Receive Criticism
We use 16 Personalities in our three-OD, 26 support-staff practice. It’s free and highly effective in showing us the kind of work that an employee will be most effective at, and most fulfilled by.
We started using this assessment two years ago. It was our office manager’s idea. She had learned about this assessment in a college psychology class, and thought it would be helpful for us to use.
The goal for using a personality assessment was to see where the strengths and weaknesses lay for each individual, and to determine the parts of the office they would most likely excel at, and the areas of the practice that would be more challenging for them. It is also helpful to see in advance how someone most likes to receive criticism. Continuous improvement is part of our culture, so constructive criticism is a way of life for us.
It’s hard for us to operate to the best of our ability if we are not able to effectively deliver points for improvement to each employee. Some people want to be told directly about an area of needed improvement, while others would rather have a meeting where the issue is addressed, but they are not singled out. Others would like written criticism instead of criticism delivered face-to-face. We have one employee for whom we write down all criticism, rather than delivering it to her verbally, in-person.
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The office manager administers the assessment when the employee is first hired during the first few months to get a big picture of their personality early in their employment with us. We explain to the employee that the assessment will help us understand the things they most like doing, what they are good at and the areas of the office that will be the best fit for their personality.
Employees have told us that they really like doing the assessment because it allows them to find out more about themselves, and see how they fit in as a part of the team.
Debrief Employee & Doctors
The manager goes over the results with the employee, and also reviews her own personality type with them. That way, the manager can see how she and the new employee can form a relationship that works well on both ends.
The manager shares the key points of the employee’s personality assessment results with the doctors, along with takeaways for how best to interact with the new hire.
Find Best Place for Each Employee
Some employees do not like interacting with people much, so they would not be a good fit for direct patient care as a technician or optician. That kind of person, especially if they are detail-oriented, would be better suited for insurance authorizations or billing.
Review Personalities Quarterly
I like to review the personalities of our support staff each quarter to make sure the doctors still have an understanding of each employee.
Equally important is making sure every employee is happy, and primed to stay with us long-term. We can use the results of their personality assessment as the basis for an ongoing conversation of where the employee fits best in our practice, and how we can help them feel fulfilled in their work.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information: “Legal Issues in Personality Testing in Employment Settings.”