Understanding how thinking styles influence employee behavior and motivation can have a substantial impact on an organization’s employee retention strategy and on reducing employee turnover rates.
I dedicated a series of blog post to describing two predominant styles of thinking, namely Intrinsic and Extrinsic Thinkers and their effects on employee performance.
In this blog post, I’m going to take a closer look at how to recognize and handle Extrinsic Thinkers in recruitment situations.
What are Thinking Styles?
Talent Chaser’s online multiple-choice Performance Profile Questionnaire measures core behavioral traits and motivations. Additionally, the performance profile process separates employees into three groups: Intrinsic Thinkers, Extrinsic Thinkers and Prime Thinkers. The pie chart shows the proportion of each style of thinking within the general population.
- Intrinsic Thinkers make up about 35% of the population and are the creative ideas people.
- About 55% of people are Extrinsic Thinkers and have strong interpersonal skills and the potential to build collaboration within an organization.
- The remaining 10% are called Prime Thinkers and have strong creative and people skills.
Data generated via this process shows that, as high employee turnover rates become embedded within an organization and average employee longevity figures worsen, best practice development and transfer suffers.
What Motivates the High Performing Employee?
The Performance Profile identifies individuals who are motivated to become high performers. Performance data generated through the deployment of Talent Chaser reveals that such people thrive in an organizational environment in which performance is regularly measured and rigorous performance requirements are in place backed up with effective reward/accountability procedures.
The data also shows that employees who are motivated to become high performers prefer to work in organizational environments staffed by experienced high performers from whom they can learn. Such people become particularly demotivated in situations where poor performers are not held fully accountable. When employee longevity figures reduce, voluntary employment termination figures increase, as high performers seek employment elsewhere. As this happens, the organization spirals into ever increasing employee turnover rates and the retention of talent becomes more and more difficult.
The data also shows that to implement an effective employee retention program, people with strong collaborative skills (Extrinsic Thinkers) have to be recruited and placed strategically into all levels of the organization. Such people can help ensure that all employees are motivated to become part of the solution.
How to Recruit Great Collaborators
To foster progress and collaborative problem solving, your organization needs to hire employees with an extrinsic thinking style. Recognizing Extrinsic Thinkers requires special care. Once identified, job interviews are relatively straightforward, provided some basic rules are followed.
Job Advertisements and organizational literature have to be structured with collaborators in mind.
- Flesh out as much of the detail as you can. Extrinsic Tinkers need to feel they have the whole picture before acting.
- Emphasize the organization’s roots and experience. In technology-driven situations, emphasize partnerships and any other information indicative of substance and reliability.
- Focus on ISSUES – Extrinsic Thinkers typically like to see how they can contribute.
Characteristics of the Extrinsic Thinker
For the most part, an individual with an extrinsic thinking style shows the following characteristics:
- Usually reaches out to other people about problems before deciding what to do
- Listens effectively to what other people are saying
- Thoroughly understands problems before looking for solutions
- Looks for negatives
- Can be indecisive
- Is usually more disciplined
- Can sometimes be change resistant
- Handles administrative work well
- Avoids taking risks.
- Builds effective inter-dependent relationships quickly
How to Interview an Extrinsic Thinker
Before the interview, review the text report automatically generated when the applicant completed thePerformance Profile Questionnaire. During the job interview, look for these traits and ask questions that will help you assess how they could affect the applicant’s role-related performance.
Look for individuals who listen more than they talk!
By using the Performance Profile, interviewers/managers can be made aware whenever they are dealing with a person with strong interpersonal skills and the potential to build collaborative effort within the organization. Armed with this information, the organization can adapt the way it interviews the individual in the following ways:
- Expose the individual to actual real people with problems similar to those they could experience within the role.
- Be prepared to discuss the context of any organization-specific problems that are discussed.
- DON’T look at the volume of ideas generated.
- Look for a cautious and collaborative approach to problems – this will typically be reflective of how they will behave in the role.
- Look for a serious-minded approach.
- Expect to build a personal rapport.
These strategies will enable you to recruit Extrinsic Thinkers who will be instrumental to collaborative problem solving within your organization. Stay tuned for my next blog post on how to attract and recruit innovators with an intrinsic thinking style.
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