Why personality types are more important than you think

Flexible working is the number one employee perk but – if new research is to be believed – success hinges on one thing.

HR managers are stepping up efforts to put flexible working policies in place but – if new research is to be believed – success is only possible when employers carefully consider employees’ personality types.

According to research carried out by the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (Enei), various personality types have different needs when it comes to staying engaged – and efficient – in a flexible working environment.

The study – known as the Research Report on Agile Working, Personality and Performance – analysed almost 600 employees and managers across six large companies using questionnaires and DiSC personality testing.

Dominant – The report found that dominant employees are most likely to thrive in an agile working environment and will be “focused, needing minimal supervision or interaction.”

So if your team is predominantly dominant, then there’s a strong argument for HR professionals to implement a flexible working policy – but other personality types might not be so easy.

Influential – According to the study, influential workers may require stronger management, direction and increased communication to succeed in an agile environment. They also express the most concerns about the possible impact on productivity and efficiency.

Conscientious – Along with influential employees, conscientious workers are more likely to believe flexible policies have a negative impact on team working, so they might be harder to win over.

Twenty per cent of conscientious workers feel this way while 33 per cent of influential workers have their doubts.

The study also suggested that conscientious personality types may need supervision to make sure they don’t work too many hours.


Researchers warned that employees categorized as steadfast may find flexible working harder to adapt to than most – HR managers should be on hand to offer any coaching or advice they need.

Enei advised organisations to focus on four factors in particular that they deem essential in ensuring the success of an agile working environment:
  • The provision of laptop computers
  • Good remote access to files
  • Application systems that work well when used remotely
  • Fast, reliable networks
A free Disc personality test is currently available at HRM Online – click here to find out more.

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