Our
Science

Decades of academic science research
combined with groundbreaking technology.

The challenge

There’s a difference between good and great hiring decisions, and the question of how to consistently make great hiring decisions has puzzled scientists for decades.

Imagine this everyday scenario: an executive search consultant has compiled a shortlist of candidates for a leadership role, including both internal and external candidates. How much more do you know about someone you have worked with, side-by-side?

There’s a notable difference in the information quality. With a colleague, you have first-hand knowledge about past performance, attitudes, work habits, and people skills. This imbalance of information is what Teamscope aims to solve.

It has been suggested that, for an internal candidate, the predictability of subsequent performance is about 80 to 90% accurate. Whereas, for an external hire, the same predictability is only around 55 to 65% correct.

To achieve overall predictability and candidate job fit into the 80 to 90% range, you need to know your external candidates as well as your internal ones! At Teamscope, we know that combining data science with personality and value surveys can provide insights and data points to increase the predictably of the hiring process.

AN EVIDENCE-BASED
HIRING PROCESS

Our goal is to help organizations build stronger and more engaged teams.

We do this through data. More specifically, we combine big data analytics with scientific testing to better understand people, and then use that data to help team leaders make better hiring decisions and build a culture where people can perform at their best.

We know that a superior manager produces superior results, thus hiring the best candidates can have an enormous effect on the success of your organization. This is why these types of decisions can’t be made on intuition or gut feeling. The only sure way to hire people who are both competent and motivated is to use repeatable, evidence-based decision-making processes.

  • General Mental Ability
    A meta-analysis of a century of assessment methods has concluded that General Mental Ability (GMA) is the best predictor of job performance. When you evaluate a shortlist of executive candidates, however, you already have a list of incredibly smart people, thus GMA alone no longer produces the best results. What matters even more is uncovering how motivated and competent the candidates are.
  • Values and personality assessments
    These assessments, based on decades of research, help to uncover the motivators, behavioural patterns, and leadership styles of Candidates. Additionally important, however, is understanding the context as well - who the immediate team members are, what the requirements of the role are, and what the core values of the team are.
  • Structured interview
    A structured interview is second only to GMA in terms of best predictors of job performance. A structured interview measures conscientiousness and related personality traits, and it is possible to use assessments as inputs to focus the interview to whatever is most important. Interviews are key moments that often determine the difference between good and great hiring decisions.
  • Combined scorecard
    For important roles, hiring decisions need to be made by a human beings, but these decisions should be supported by algorithms. To make a great, unbiased hiring decision, combine multiple perspectives and opinions, and use scores from assessments and interviews while weighing these inputs according to your own experience with the candidate.
  • Onboarding
    The results of candidate’s values, personality and competency assessment in combination with the team’s collective personality provide a solid input for an onboarding plan that helps to increase performance by leveraging diverse personalities and bridging values gaps to make the team feel cohesive.

THE SCIENCE
OF TEAMSCOPE

We rely on three basic frameworks to better understand people:

Broad-level competencies inspired by McClelland and Spencer

Big 5 personality framework

Schwartz theory of universal human values

In addition to traditional surveys, we rely on IBM Watson AI-powered linguistic analysis methods for predicting certain characteristics of individuals based on unstructured data sources.

How people fit with teams?

Fit Theory is an important cornerstone of team analytics and candidate assessment. Fit is defined in organizational psychology literature as the degree to which individual and organizational attributes are compatible. Fit can take two forms:

  • Supplementary fit means that individual and environmental attributes are similar. Teamscope recommends building teams who share similar values.
  • Complimentary fit means that individual attributes are complemented by the organizational environment. Teamscope also recommends the building of teams where team members are cognitively diverse (meaning different personalities).

There are many types of environments where a fit can occur, we are focused on the person-team fit, which means the fit between individual attributes and those of the work group. Research has suggested that person-team fit relates to attitudes towards peers, job attitudes and organizational citizenship. Values fit, on the other hand, has been found to strengthen organizational culture, improve efficiency, and help with employee retention.

What are competencies?

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required to perform a job successfully. Usually, there are a few core competencies that differentiate top performers in a given industry and job function.

Defining the critical competencies of a job and evaluating the competencies of candidates in a methodical and structured manner is the most objective way to decide which candidates to shortlist. However, while competencies help to evaluate the ability of a candidate to do the job, they do not help to predict how a candidate would influence team dynamics.

  • Competency research was popularized in 1973 when David McClelland described competencies as the underlying individual characteristics that form groups and influence behaviors. He argued that individual competencies make it more possible to accurately predict job performance.
  • In 1993, Lyle Spencer and Signe M. Spencer published their research in the book "Competence at Work", which made competencies a popular research topic. They defined competencies as the underlying characteristics of people, which indicate behaviors or thought processes that lead to superior job performance. They also described five types of competency characteristics: motives, traits, self-concept, knowledge, and skills.
  • The Teamscope competency model is based on decades of research and it is an important layer that ties together values, personality and skills. Assessing all three layers provides a complete overview of how a candidate might fit into a team and perform the job.

Why measure personality?

Personality can be defined as the distinct patterns of behavior that characterize each individual. Personality is considered to arise from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.

Personality assessment is often used to help people learn more about themselves and their unique characteristics. Understanding your own personality traits as well as those of your teammates will help you leverage the individual strengths of each person of your team and support them in aspects they do not feel confident in. Making personality data visible to every team member will help you communicate better and create an environment where everyone can perform their best.

The Big 5 personality model became popular thanks to the research led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McCrae in the 1970s. Since then, the Big 5 personality model has become the leading framework used in virtually every scientific study of human personality. In addition to the five personality traits (extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional range), research has also identified six unique facets of each personality trait that are often more predictive of situation-specific behavior.

At Teamscope, we also rely on the research of professor Jüri Allik from the University of Tartu and his colleagues for the latest science in human personalities.

The Big 5 measures five personality dimensions:

  • Extraversion indicates where an individual draws their energy and how they interact with others.
  • Agreeableness indicates how well people generally interact with others.
  • Conscientiousness indicates the way in which people control, regulate, and direct their impulses.
  • Emotional range is the extent to which a person's emotions are sensitive to the individual's environment.
  • Openness indicates a general appreciation for art, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience.

Why do values matter in teams?

If personality best represents how we typically behave in a given situation, then values describe the motivational basis of our attitudes and behavior.

Teams that share similar values tend to be more cohesive, more engaged at work, and find it easier to reach consensus on important matters. Not surprisingly, candidates that share similar values to the team are up to four times more likely to stay with the company long-term.

We rely on the Schwartz theory of basic human values to understand what really motivates each individual and how values and motivation influence teams. Developed by Shalom H. Schwartz (2012), the theory defines values as intrinsic motivational goals that correspond to the following features:

  • Values are beliefs that are inseparably linked to affect. When values are activated, they become infused with feeling.
  • Values refer to desirable goals that motivate action.
  • Values transcend specific actions and situations.
  • Values guide the selection or evaluation of actions, policies, people, and events.
  • Values are ordered by importance relative to one another.
  • The relative importance of multiple values guides action.

We use the refined theory of basic human values (originally published by Shalom H. Schwartz in 2012) to analyze how values and motivation influence teams.

Basic human values form a circular continuum that reflects the motivational conflict or compatibility among them. The more compatible any two values, the closer they are on the circle; the more in conflict, the more distant.

While important values guide what people do, low importance values may influence what they do not do. A single behavior may be motivated by multiple values, and some behaviors are shaped by the trade-off between values that propel and those that oppose the behavior.

Individuals strive to fit, and sharing similar a value importance order leads to optimal outcomes. Fit on high importance values is considered to have the most impact, because it satisfies people’s core needs and is considered intrinsically motivating. Some studies have also suggested that a fit on a low importance level also deserves attention, because some low score values might represent an avoidance motivation.

What is IBM Watson?

Watson is the A.I. driven platform developed by IBM that first became famous in 2010 when it beat Jeopardy champions on live TV. Since then, IBM Watson has developed into an A.I. platform that powers medical research, customer service, risk management, education, financial service applications, and many others.

At Teamscope, we rely on Watson to help us process natural languages – which means that Watson helps us examine the interactions between computer languages and natural (human) languages. Watson enables us to understand the sentiment and topic of each conversation, and even helps predict the personality characteristics and values of each individual. Incorporating Watson into our analysis allows us to understand people based on their blog posts, cover letters, resumes, and basically any other text they have written.

How does all of that come together?

We combined the findings from roughly 200 academic studies to develop our data model. Team relationships are complex and there is no single comprehensive theory of team performance, but most studies have concluded that:

Teams that share similar values tend to be more cohesive, engaged, and aligned towards a common goal, and candidates that share the core values of the team are up to four times more likely to stay long-term.

Teams that possess diverse personalities and competencies tend to be more innovative and agile, and generally achieve better results in highly dynamic environments.

Sounds simple, but implementing these principles gets quite complex. Simply calculating the team average of these characteristics is not sufficient - to really understand the team dynamics, we evaluate each interaction (user pair) in a team and compare how each team member and candidate influences the team as a whole. For even a small team of seven people, it adds up to thousands of data points.

In addition to the initial assessment, we gather feedback data from each team and use that to constantly look for new data patterns that help to refine our data model and offer additional insights for hiring and team development.

  • "Teamscope is one of the most innovative assessment products that I have seen in some time. Sophisticated data science built into a simple and intuitive digital user interface. It's exactly what was missing in the market, and is in significant client demand." Tim Robson
    Managing Partner | H.I. Executive Consulting (HIEC)
  • "We are partnering up with Teamscope for 3 reasons - to help our clients assess candidates in a simple, understandable way; to have an in-depth discussion with our clients about the characteristics of their leadership team; and to help our clients make better decisions when hiring into critical roles." Ian Coyne
    Chief Growth Officer at The Up Group

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