Learn all the steps to giving occupational personality questionnaire feedback. Beginning with the introduction and all the parameters that need to be set through the results and comparisons.
How to Give Occupational Personality Questionnaire Feedback
The introduction to the occupational personality questionnaire feedback session plays a major role in facilitating the process. It needs to cover a number of areas:
It is important to discuss with the person why the personality test was completed and what the objectives of the feedback discussion are. This is the time to highlight how the results will be used.
It’s important to make sure that you both agree on the agenda and are both realistic about expectations. The psychometric test can only go so far in addressing work and performance issues.
The emphasis of the feedback discussion should be on a two-way process of information sharing. The intention is that through a frank and open conversation.
The exploration involves both the person giving the feedback and the recipient so they can uncover information previously unknown to one or other or to both of them.
Boundaries of the Discussion
- The degree of confidentiality for the discussion needs to be agreed.
- Dialogue needs to take place on whether notes are to be taken and if so, what will happen to them afterwards.
- The time available for the consultation needs to be agreed. If appropriate, discuss whether this time can be extended at this session or whether a further meeting needs to be arranged for some future date.
Description of the Questionnaire
- Briefly remind the recipient of the characteristics of the personality questionnaire completed.
- That it is a self-report questionnaire.
- That it is not infallible but whose strength depends on the frankness and honesty with which the questions have been answered.
- That the psychometric test reflects style, behaviour and approach but not ability.
- That style, behaviour and approach are not necessarily good or bad, but more or less appropriate depending upon work circumstances.
- That the personality questionnaire consists of 15 dimensions grouped into five main sections (and explain what these are).
Discussion of Circumstances
- Discuss with the recipient their current work circumstances to identify the context of any likely discussion.
- Their feelings on being asked to complete the questionnaire.
- How and when it was administered.
- Their perceptions of responding to the occupational personality questionnaire.
- Whether any recent or current events are likely to have affected the responses unduly.
Feeding Back Individual Scales
It is usually most effective to start from the top of the profile, taking the scales one by one and gradually building up the profile section by section. This approach is obviously systematic and means that you won’t miss particular scales.
Often, however, the recipient, in response to information about one scale, could provide evidence that leads you to jump ahead to another scale. This approach is in many ways more natural and spontaneous. You will need to balance this more free-flowing style with the benefits of sticking to a more logical and systematic approach.
Another approach is to feedback those scales which are relevant to specific job requirements (or competencies). In this way, the feedback discussion becomes more like a competency (or criterion-based) interview.
By focusing on the most relevant scales in this way, the person providing the feedback can make the most efficient use of limited time.
To increase the variety of approach, the person providing the feedback may want to describe a scale first and then ask for the recipient’s view or opinion of their score on that scale.
Later the person providing the feedback can then disclose the actual score or rating achieved. Varying the style may better hold someone’s interest and encourage them to make their own contributions.
The linking of scales can take feedback onto a more challenging yet rewarding path. Linking can relate to two aspects: linking scale scores with actual work behaviour and linking the scores of some scales with the scores on other scales.
In addressing either of these aspects, it may be worth asking more about the recipient’s current work role and experiences. Explore situations or events relevant to the scale or scales being discussed.
Use open questions and ask for examples that link the personality questionnaire scores to work-related events or incidents. In this way, you can explore the particular meaning of a score for the recipient. Alongside, how it ties in with their own self-perceptions.
Remember to probe for information that might challenge a score as well as that which supports it. This will help to validate the accuracy of the profile and highlight areas that might need further interpretation.
In trying to link scales, you can try to combine the scale scores within any one section or link scores across sections. By using both ‘within-section’ and ‘across-section’ links, a fairly comprehensive picture can be built up.
As before, this can often most easily be done by discussing actual events and behaviours in the work place.
It is useful to summarise at intervals the major themes emerging from the profile. Summarising in this way serves the combined function of reinforcing the feedback structure yet allowing you to check and clarify your understanding of the data.
At the end of the discussion, it is useful to summarise the main points arising from the occupational personality questionnaire as a whole. This will allow you to get the recipient’s buy-in to the results.
Ask them to say what they think they have learnt, what surprises (if any) they had, what they agreed with and what they disagreed with. Get them to summarise their own view of their behaviour and style.
Once a full and, hopefully, agreed picture of style and behaviour has emerged, it is necessary to use this to address the original purpose of completing the questionnaire. The ultimate aim is to help someone identify some training needs, to put together some development plans etc.
Before agreeing specifics, however, it is worth considering any general implications arising for the individual’s future behaviour and choice. Try to be non-evaluative and discuss what might happen rather than what should happen.
It is essential to remember that the profile is a sample of the ‘here and now’ and cannot be taken as totally infallible or constant for all time. In general terms, occupational personality questionnaire data should be regarded as having a limited shelf life, say a period of 12-18 months.
Completion of the personality test may be needed again after this time. This is particularly likely if some major change has taken place at work or some important decision is being considered on the basis of this data.
Nonetheless also remember that in many instances people will not be literally able to “change” their behaviour or style. Rather it may be more a matter of managing their preferred or typical responses to various aspects of their work.
Finally this analysis then needs to be translated into goal setting activities and the formulation of action plans, specifying who should do what, how and by when.
Particular Issues Relating to Development
In many ways the most important result arising from a occupational personality questionnaire feedback is the formulation of a personal action plan. Moreover, one that is based on the individual’s heightened awareness of their own behaviour.
This should be guided primarily by areas that have been highlighted as possible development needs for their current job. However, the feedback is also an opportunity to consolidate key strengths, to explore areas as yet undeveloped and even to identify ways of including unused potential into the scope of the current job role.
Inherent in this process is the identification of those behaviours especially important in the job and those of lesser significance. This is a process that should ideally be carried out in advance by both the recipient and their line manager working together, with any differences of opinion discussed openly.
This is useful as it can help interpret the importance of low scores on particular scales. Low scores in areas of lesser significance for the job should be given lower priority.
The individual should be encouraged to evaluate whether or not developmental activities such as training, shadowing, mentoring, coaching or deliberate changes in personal style, should be considered.
Wherever possible, action plans should be recorded and copies of these held by both parties. Future appointments that regularly follow up on individual progress are likely to increase commitment to the action plan.
At a later date, it might become important to retake the questionnaire in order to monitor particular developments and changes for the individual.
(Image from Cast UK)