The Science Behind
Teamscope

We help organizations build
high-performing teams.

Our goal is to help organizations build stronger and more engaged teams. We do this through data. More specifically, our algorithm combines big data analytics with scientific testing to understand the deep-level characteristics of individuals, and uses machine learning to understand how these characteristics influence collaboration and performance in a team setting.

Our platform visualizes the results on an interactive dashboard to make the data easy to understand and interpret. The platform is used by team leaders, HR-professionals, consultants and coaches to make better hiring decisions, to onboard new team members, and to help teams build a culture where team members can perform at their best.

Main use cases for the Teamscope platform are:

  • data-based hiring
  • team development
  • on-boarding

We know that a superior employee produces superior results, thus hiring the best candidates can have an enormous impact on the success of your organization. This is why hiring decisions should not be based solely on intuition or gut feeling. The only sure way to hire people who are both competent and motivated is to use a repeatable, evidence-based decision-making process. However, the best hire is not necessarily someone who is best in abilities and competencies, these are just threshold criteria to be shortlisted. The best candidate is someone who fits well with the people they are going to work with and complements the team not only through competencies, but also soft skills and personality. Teamscope provides data to understand what each candidate brings to the team.

Teams are the building blocks of contemporary organizations. Teams can be developed and that development starts with self-reflection. Teamscope team dashboard provides data about the intrinsic motivators and personality of team members. This insight is presented to every team member on an interactive dashboard immediately after they have completed a few questionnaires, which usually takes around 15 minutes. This dashboard can be used by a coach or the team leader to help the team analyze their strengths and potential derailers, and to help understand how each team member contributes to the team culture.

New team members need to be onboarded. It usually takes several months before new team members become fully productive contributors to the team, but Teamscope helps to facilitate and speed up the process. New employees use Teamscope to understand the culture and collaboration preferences of their new team, and to learn how they can work better together with each team member. This helps to build trust and improve collaboration, so that new employees could quickly become fully contributing team members.

TEAMSCOPE SCIENTIFIC BASIS

We rely on three basic frameworks to better understand people:

Broad-level competencies inspired by the research of McClelland (McClelland, 1973), Spencer (Spencer and Spencer, 1993), and others.

The Big 5 personality framework developed by Costa and McCrae (Costa and McCrae, 1995).

The Schwartz theory of universal human values (Schwartz et al, 2012).

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 (van Vianen, 2018) 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.
  • Complimentary fit means that individual attributes are complemented by the organizational environment.

There are many types of environments where fit can occur. We are focused on person-team fit, which means the fit between individual attributes and those of the work group. Research has suggested (Kristof-Brown, et al., 2005) 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 engagement, 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.

  • 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 framework is based on decades of research and is an important layer that ties together values, personality, and skills. Assessing all three aspects provides a complete overview of how a candidate might fit into a team and succeed in the role.

Why measure personality?

Personality can be defined as a distinct pattern of behaviors that characterizes each individual. Personality is considered to arise from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout a person’s life.

Personality assessment is often used to help people learn 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 on 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 at their best.

The Big 5 personality model became popular thanks to 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 dimension that are often more predictive of situation-specific behavior (Costa, McCrae, 1995).

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

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.

The Big 5 Personality Traits and Corresponding Facets

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 with the team are up to four times more likely to stay with the company long-term.

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

  • 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 behavior.

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

While important values guide what people do, low importance values may influence what they do not do (Schwartz, et al., 2016). 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 into their social setting, and shared values helps to facilitate that process. Fit on high importance values is considered to have the most impact (Vogel, et al., 2015). Some studies (Schuh et al., 2016) have also suggested that fit on low importance values also deserves attention, because low importance values represent avoidance motivation.

The Schwartz Circle of Universal Human Values

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 team dynamics, we evaluate each interaction (user pair) in a team and compare how each team member and candidate influence 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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