Why Ditching Appraisals is a Stupid Idea

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Nov 24, 2015

The HR fad for scrapping performance reviews won't benefit either employers or employees.

The past few months have seen a great deal of discussion about the uselessness of performance evaluations.The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, a cover feature in Harvard Business Review, and a global PR campaign by Accenture - the most prominent corporation to announce they have ditched annual performance evaluations - all suggest that organisations are ready to stop judging what employees do (and don't). But is there a clear rationale for this latest HR fad? Is it simply a populist PR move - surely most employees like the idea that they won't be evaluated any more, not least because they are coasting or slacking in their jobs - or the next stage in scientific management?

On the one hand, firms could be forgiven for eliminating appraisals. The main reason is that most of them are indeed rather pointless: they are subjective, political and rarely based on reliable data; and few managers are willing or able to provide what employees need the most, which is negative feedback. On the other hand, completely scrapping them isn't the solution.

First, in any organisation performance reflects a Pareto effect, whereby 20% of the workforce accounts for 80% of productivity. Ignoring who the 20% are, or being unable to distinguish between them and the rest, will alienate and repel talent. Second, performance evaluations are the best way to set compensation, bonuses and rewards, and most employees agree with this. Third, unless employees are provided with feedback, they will have no idea of how to get better. Self-assessments don't work because most people think they are better than they actually are, and this affects how they evaluate their performance at work.

Fortunately, there is no reason to take this HR fad seriously. As a matter of fact, the most common argument for ditching appraisals is to replace them with some form of data or talent analytics. That is, the idea that if we can put in place monitoring systems that track employees' behaviours and link them to organisational outcomes, would make human judgments of employees' performance irrelevant. But only because more objective metrics are used in lieu. So, if the goal is to make appraisals more data-driven and accurate, bring it on. Let's not forget, though, that sharing this data with employees is as important as gathering it.

This article originally appeared in Management Today.

Topics: HR, human resources

FAQ Blog Series: Norms and Reliability

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Thu, Nov 19, 2015

In this installment of our FAQ series, the Hogan Research Department (HRD) tackles common questions on Hogan's rigorous norming and reliablity procedures. Add your questions in the comments below and stay tuned for our next blog on the Hogan Personality Inventory.


Q: What are the normative group sizes for each of the inventories?
A: Unlike other assessments that are normed on samples of only a few hundred cases, Hogan collects comprehensive normative data to ensure that our assessments accurately represent intended populations. However, for summary purposes, the global normative sample sizes for each of the Hogan assessments are as follows:
HPI: N = 144,877
HDS: N = 67,614
MVPI: N = 48,267

Q: What is the composition/size/basis of the norm groups?
A: For all assessments, Hogan conducts stratified random sampling to ensure that assessment norms represent intended populations. To create accurate norms, Hogan obtains workforce estimates from relevant sources (e.g., Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and samples normative data to match these estimates. In this way, Hogan ensures the norms apply across occupational (e.g., job families, industry sectors), demographic (e.g., age, gender, and ethnic groups), and other (e.g., selection vs. development application) groups.

Q: Do you/can you break out more specific/local norm groups? Can you break out norms by industry?
A: Although Hogan’s general norms, representing the working population, are relevant for most selection and development applications, some clients request more specific norms for population subgroups. For example, a client may want to compare an individual’s scores to other managers in a specific industry or, perhaps, even a specific organization or location. For such applications, Hogan can create subgroup norms applying the same considerations of composition and relevance used to develop the general norms. Hogan requires the subgroup’s normative dataset be sufficiently large and diverse in its representation. For example, to construct a managerial norm, Hogan requires a minimum of 500 cases of managerial data representing multiple organizations and industries in
the target location. However, sample composition requirements vary as a function of the referent population. Other examples include regional, industry, and client-specific norms and may be developed with sample sizes as small as 100 individuals in some cases. When developed appropriately, these norms can provide useful supplemental information to more general norms and are especially helpful in developmental contexts. Although these specific subgroup norms prove useful as supplemental desktop reference materials, in producing reports for score interpretation, Hogan does not use these subgroup norms as replacements for more comprehensive general
workforce norms.


Q: Do scale scores change over time? If so, which ones? How often should one re-take inventories to capture “current functioning”?
A: On an individual level, research shows that personality is stable. Although an individual’s scores may fluctuate slightly over time, significant shifts in HPI and HDS scores are rare and usually the result of careless responding. However, on an aggregate level, the average levels of HPI and HDS scale scores may change over time. For example, the average level of the HPI Sociability scale may be higher now than 20 years ago, indicating that, on average, people are more social now than then. To account for these changes, Hogan consistently monitors and maintains assessment norms to ensure that they reflect current functioning in intended populations. Because personality is stable, and because Hogan maintains norms to reflect current functioning, client respondents need not retake inventories.

Q: Are there age-related or generational changes in scale scores?
A: Collaborative research between Hogan and Peter Berry Consultancy examined differences in scale scores between different countries, as well as between different generations. To briefly summarize, researchers examined scale score differences between Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Generation X (born 1965 – 1977), and Generation Y (born 1978 – 1994). Although research revealed small generational differences in scale scores, these differences are not significant in practice. At an individual level, these results indicate that one cannot assume anything about a person’s personality or value set simply by knowing when they were born.

Topics: norms, reliability, FAQ

Narcissism and the Rise of the Selfie

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Nov 18, 2015

Digital_narcissismAs social media use has grown, digital narcissism has developed. Welcome to the golden age of narcissism, a world of endless ostentation opportunities and unlimited bragging possibilities. Showing-off has never been easier and, ironically, more celebrated.

Whether online or in the workplace, narcissistic individuals are much more likely to portray a desirable, albeit unrealistic, self-image, and broadcast their life to an audience. Can this narcissistic behavior can be reversed? What will the impact be on professional work environments? Our complimentary ebook, Narcissism and the Rise of the Selfie, discusses what fuels this and includes ways for individuals, both personally and professionally, to overcome the behavior. Download it today.

Topics: narcissism

The Psychological Benefits And Drawbacks Of Perfectionism

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Nov 17, 2015

What did Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, and Leonardo Da Vinci have in common? Talent aside, they were perfectionists. The same can probably be said about Madonna, Serena Williams, and Gordon Ramsay. Whether it's in the arts, science, or business, exceptional achievers rarely rely on their talent alone. They also devote themselves fully—and even obsessively—to quality. As Charles Bukowski once said, "Find what you love, and let it kill you."

Fearing Failure
Psychologists have studied perfectionism for decades, detailing its role in amazing creative feats as well as its destructive qualities. In fact, few other personality traits illustrate the thin line between normality and abnormality better than perfectionism.

Although definitions vary, its central characteristic is an outsized concern about making mistakes. As a result, perfectionists are driven by their fear of failure, and it's this drive that motivates them to achieve what others can't. It's what psychologists term an adaptive manifestation of the impostor syndrome: Because you think you aren't as good as you actually are, you invest a great deal of energy and time into getting better.

Alfred Adler and Friedrich Nietzsche both referred to this disposition as the "inferiority complex" of greatness. Behind every extraordinary achievement, they reasoned, we can find painful insecurities and self-doubt. Success is just the temporary antidote to those unpleasant emotions.

Unproductive Perfectionism
Perfectionism doesn’t always result in tremendous artistic and intellectual achievements, though. When it isn’t coupled with great ability, resilience, or work ethic, it can lead to procrastination and other self-defeating behaviors, including eating disorders. But that makes perfectionism like most personality traits: too much or too little can be harmful, but the just the right amount can be a huge advantage.

One factor that contributes to the outcome of that tricky balancing act is neuroticism, or "stress propensity." In one study involving medical students who are generally more perfectionistic, researchers found that perfectionists tend to perform better when they aren't plagued by stress and anxiety—even if they still aren't satisfied with their achievements afterwards. Conversely, neurotic perfectionists don't perform that well, and still wind up dissatisfied with the outcome of their efforts.

It Depends Who's Watching
But there's perhaps an even better predictor of whether someone's perfectionism will be the "good kind" or the "bad kind": how much they focus on themselves rather than on others.

In fact, reviews of scientific evidence suggest that when perfectionists are primarily concerned about not disappointing others, they tend to perform worse. But when they're fixated on merely getting better—beating their personal bests and working to improve—their performance and well-being are generally positive.

In other words, perfectionists are better off when they're their own worst critics. This self-oriented form of perfectionism keeps them focused on the task, preventing social anxieties and other distractions from creeping in. If your attention shifts away from the work at hand towards other people, the more mental resources perfectionists surrender.

A Perfectly Imperfect World
Finally, it's important to remember that perfectionism also affects other people in good and bad ways. Friends, partners, and family members can suffer from perfectionists’ devotion to their work and careers. On the other hand, when perfectionists deliver greatness, they create value for the wider society, inspire others to raise their own standards, and contribute to innovation in their fields.

In an age where so much expert advice is focused on helping people combat work-related stress and burnout, it's useful to remember that pretty much all exceptional achievers are workaholics—and that some of the most significant progress is thanks to them, rather than those with great time-management skills and a healthy work-life balance.

So while it may sound selfish, humanity would probably lose a great deal by finding the cure to perfectionism.

This article originally appeared in Fast Company.

Topics: perfectionism

Hogan and ICF Announce Business Solutions Partnership

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Fri, Nov 13, 2015

We’re excited to announce that we’ve established a new strategic partnership with the International Coach Federation (ICF) as an assessment provider for the organization.

The partnership will combine the market-leading strengths of each organization and place Hogan in front of 24,000-plus ICF members in more than 130 countries while providing ICF with the predictive power of Hogan’s assessment suite developed over 30 years of experience with data from millions of global leaders.

“This partnership presents a unique opportunity for both organizations to leverage their areas of expertise to vastly improve the performance of the global workforce,” says Hogan CEO Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. “ICF is the gold standard of coaching associations, and we see great value in partnering with them.”

The partnership will provide ICF member coaches with a 20% discount on Hogan Certification Workshops worldwide, and each organization will align its marketing strategies and resources to maximize the benefits of the program.

“ICF’s Business Solutions Partnerships connect our members with a robust portfolio of products and services that help them advance their coaching practice and stay fit for purpose,” says ICF CEO/Executive Director Magdalena Mook. “We welcome the opportunity to share Hogan’s outstanding assessment tools with our coaches.”

Click here for more information.

FAQ Blog Series: The Foundation of Hogan

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Thu, Nov 12, 2015

In this first installment of our FAQ blog series, the Hogan Research Department (HRD) answers common questions related to the foundation of Hogan. If you have others, leave them in the comments and stay tuned for the rest of the series for answers to all of your Hogan inquiries.

Q: What is the theoretical basis for the Hogan tools?
A: Hogan tools are based on Socioanalytic theory, a view of personality that combines Evolutionary theory, Sociology, and classic Psychoanalysis. Socioanalytic theory suggests that humans are social creatures by nature, and driven by needs to: (a) gain acceptance from others, (b) achieve status and power, and (c) make sense out of the environment. As people interact, they create reputations for themselves. Their reputations describe the way they generally interact with others at work and in private. The Hogan tools predict reputation, which reflects the stable patterns of behavior individuals demonstrate while attempting to get along, get ahead, and establish order and predictability in their own environment.

Q: How do the scales relate to/correlate with the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality?
A: The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) was the first measure of normal personality based on the FFM and designed to predict occupational performance. The structure of the HPI and the FFM differ in two ways. First, the HPI breaks the FFM Extraversion factor into scales measuring Ambition and Sociability. Second, the HPI separates the FFM Openness factor into Inquisitive and Learning Approach. Otherwise, the HPI and the FFM are identical: FFM Neuroticism (Emotional Stability) links to HPI Adjustment, FFM Agreeableness links to HPI Interpersonal Sensitivity, and FFM Conscientiousness links to HPI Prudence.

Q: How do Hogan assessment results relate to 360-degree, full-feedback data? How are they different?
A: 360-degree performance appraisals describe what people do. The Hogan assessments concern why people do what they do. Understanding personal and motivational characteristics is the foundation for understanding performance effectiveness.

Q: Why are the Hogan assessments not considered self-report measures?
A: Our answer to this question differs from all other test providers in three ways. First, when people respond to questions on our assessments, we do not believe they are reporting on their behavior, but rather telling us how to think about them and how they want to be regarded—exactly as they would do in any conversation. Second, we don’t care how people respond to items; we only care about what their responses predict. Consider the item, “I take a different way home from work every night.” People who answer “True” tend to be creative and adventurous, and that is the important point. We don’t care whether they really take a different way home from work each night; we care about what it means to say that they do. Third, we are not trying to measure anything; we are trying to predict performance at work.

Q: How do the Hogan assessments mitigate faking good strategies?
A: The topic of faking is important for those psychologists and business people who argue that personality can’t predict occupational performance. They base their conclusions on inferior research (e.g., small student samples instead of large samples of real job applicants), inconsistent definitions (e.g., faking as socially desirable responding, inflation of scores, responding to match a desired profile), and dubious assumptions (e.g., people intentionally and effectively fake response patterns). Nevertheless, to deal with these critics, Hogan consultants monitor the response patterns of individuals on several subscales of the Hogan Personality Inventory to ensure that they do not match a faking good strategy.

Topics: personality

The Millennial Complex

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Nov 11, 2015

Millennials are hard to understand and are often categorized by their generational stereotypes of laziness, entitlement, and materialistic. As generations work together, they tend to disagree on how the professional world operates. Our complimentary ebook, The Millennial Complex, provides insight into how Gen Xers and Baby Boomers can better understand Millennials and their motivation. The results may be hard to stomach.

We outline how similar Millennials are to other generations and explain why based on Hogan research. Additionally, this ebook provides three suitable ideas to help improve employee engagement across the generations.

To learn more about the misconceptions of Millennials in the workplace, read our ebook The Millennial Complex.

Topics: Millennials, generational differences

The Engagement Epidemic: Why It Begins and Ends with Leadership

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Nov 10, 2015

The topic of employee engagement is ubiquitous in HR conversations from independent professionals to the C-suite. It’s no wonder that companies are taking note. Studies consistently show that employees work more efficiently, are less likely to leave their jobs, and more likely to take pride in their work and that of their company, when they are engaged. Engagement has also been linked to a number of important business outcomes, including higher levels of customer service, customer satisfaction, an environment of better collaboration and creativity, and fewer workplace accidents. Thus engagement is the best single diagnostic measure of an organization’s wellbeing and potential: engaged organizations are happy and likely to be productive; disengaged organizations need help.

Unfortunately, engagement is far from the work place norm. Surveys indicate that no less than 70% of the global workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged. Although these data are often contested – it classifies people as “engaged” only if they agree with every statement of an engagement survey – it is based on organizations who actually bother asking their employees how they feel at work. Most companies in the world still don’t, so there is arguably a significant amount of selective sampling here: the most miserable employees in the world are probably not even included in these data!

In addition, it is estimated that 70% of the employed workforce in most developed economies consists of passive job seekers; that is, people who are not actively looking for a job but passively waiting for an offer or opportunities. For example, LinkedIn estimates that 2/3 of its 350 million members are passive job seekers. And, self-employment and start-up activity rates have been increasing for over a decade. In the US alone, by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be self-employed. Although people enter self-employment and launch their own business for many different reasons, there is a common cause that determines most of these decisions over and over again: the desire to be your own boss, or, rather, the desire to avoid working for someone else. Bad leadership, then, is the most common cause for the disengagement epidemic.

Where’s the disconnect?
Engagement is not merely about making employees happier at work; it is about bringing out the best in people and tapping their full potential on a day-to-day basis. As managers, we are often unaware of our disengaging behaviors. A leader’s personality and values have tremendous impact on an individual’s ability to meet three basic psychological needs:

  • The need to have good relationships with others. Good leaders foster teamwork, friendship, and collaboration through modeling healthy conflict and good relationships; inept leaders tend to divide and isolate employees through manipulation, micromanaging, or command-and-control leadership.
  • The desire to be successful. Good leaders promote employee contributions and champion their successes; they are seen as fair and clearly set out the rules of the game for every team member. In contrast, bad leaders blame their employees for their own failures and compete with them, often by taking credit for others’ accomplishments.
  • The desire to find meaning, both in work and life. Good leaders provide their subordinates with a clear sense of purpose and a meaningful mission. Through a clear mission, they explain to subordinates why their work and the long-term strategy of the organization matter. Conversely, bad leaders alienate employees by depriving them from meaning.

Take a look in the mirror
While the overall strategy to drive employee engagement may vary by organization, the discussion must always begin and end with leadership. HR departments rely on annual survey results while looking for exciting ways to enhance employee happiness. Lavish amenities are thrown at employees. But these efforts are moot without an understanding of one of the best ways to improve employee engagement: by taking a look in the mirror.

Leadership and effective management are crucial to employee engagement. Indeed, our data indicates that around 20-30% of the variance in employee engagement can be attributed to factors directly related to leadership, particularly employees’ direct line manager. Great leaders engage followers and harness their energy to perform to their highest ability. They create synergies and turn average individual players into an A-team. Who you are (your personality), determines how you behave, the decisions you make, and the culture you instill, and these three consequences of your character will have a substantial impact on your team’s performance and morale.

If you are a leader, ask yourself the following questions: Do you set goals and establish clarity? Do you create effective team processes? What sort of climate are you creating? Is there a clear alignment between what you say and what you do? Do you provide employees with critical, but constructive, feedback? Do you push your team to perform to the highest possible level? Finally, do you know what your team’s mindset is right now?

The extra mile
When people are engaged, they find meaning at work and are proud of what they do; they are willing to go the extra mile and work beyond their formal roles or responsibilities. The bottom line is that leadership creates engagement, higher employee engagement equals better organizational performance, and lower employee engagement equals worse organizational performance. Thus, engagement is the ultimate metric for evaluating leadership effectiveness.

This article originally appeared in HR Examiner.

Topics: employee engagement, engagement

Drinks with Hogan: Values

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Thu, Nov 05, 2015

Identifying personal values is the way to find meaning in your job. Hogan Consultant Jennifer Lowe discusses the importance of measuring values in personality assessment in this installment of Drinks with Hogan.

Topics: values, Motives Values Preferences Inventory

World-Renowned Artist Completes Large-Scale Project at New Hogan Global HQ

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Nov 04, 2015

Shantell Martin, a British artist based in New York City, recently completed a large-scale art project at our new global headquarters in downtown Tulsa. Her work, featured at high-profile venues such as Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, Intel, and Columbia University, is described as a meditation of lines; a language of characters, creatures, and messages created via her trademark style of black markers on white surfaces.

As part of the building design of our new state-of-the-art facility, three white wall surface areas were designated as “canvases” for Shantell to apply her unique and edgy style into the finished product of Hogan HQ.

Shantell began her work on multiple dividing walls in the first-floor bistro on the north side of the building. Here, she drew inspiration for her work while meeting with Hogan employees throughout the day, incorporating the personalities of each department along the way.

In the southeast corner of Hogan HQ, Shantell used a ladder and mechanical lift to adorn the walls of the 3-story stairwell. This space, located along First Street, will be seen daily by thousands of Tulsans on their work commute, and will be highly visible during the evening hours.
On the second floor, Shantell went to work on the 20-feet tall library wall. Here, she fused Hogan’s language and culture into her artwork with words such as Bold, Develop, and Reputation.

During her stay in Tulsa, Shantell facilitated an educational art session for local elementary school kids. The event, attended by approximately 50 children and their parents, provided the kids with an opportunity to learn about Shantell’s style and process. 

Also during her visit, Shantell went on KTUL’s Good Day Tulsa for a live art demonstration. The segment gave Tulsans a sneak-peak at how Shantell approaches her art, and how quickly she works.

View the video segment.

We're proud to have Shantell’s work on display at our new Global HQ. Our business is all about personality, and we believe Shantell captured the true identity and reputation of our culture and the quality of products and services we offer to companies across the globe.


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