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Written by Admin Tuesday, 02 June 2015 15:38

Stop, who goes there?

An example of a research project done by i-comment360, in conjunction with a customer, to find out the typical personality profile in an industry.


What type of person do you think makes the ideal security guard? What is the personality of the guy you say goodnight to as you leave your office block? Is he a similar type of person to the man patrolling the building site down the road at 2am with his torch? Well, we have one customer recently who wanted to find out.


The aim was to help recruitment in the security industry which has traditionally had a high staff turnover; the role of security officer is not seen as a long term career choice, but is often a stop gap until something different comes along. Our customer wanted to see if this can change so we embarked upon a research project.


Our customer asked a large number of firms in the industry to ask their staff to complete our personality questionnaire. Those completing the questionnaire got a free one page report, which was also provided to their employers to use for team building activities. We collated and analysed the results, asking the participating firms to flag which employees had been in the industry for more than two years, which were long serving employees (with the company for five years or more) and which were supervisor or management grade staff.


The results really were interesting! But before we tell you about that, we have to stress that although we were finding out the typical profile of a long serving security guard and one that will progress in his or her career to management level, we are not saying that every security guard must be like that. If personality profiling is used at interview stage, the candidate who matches the typical profile may be well suited to the job, but the candidate with the opposite psychological profile may also become a good security guard. They key is to use the profile to direct your questioning at the interview stage. A candidate who's profile does not match what you think you are looking for may just need more probing questions as to how he or she would deal with certain situations.


For example, if you are looking for someone to fill a role that requires sticking to a set process then a person with strong Blue energy would appear to be well suited, and you would ask the Yellow candidate what they would do when a deviation from process appears to get the job done quicker and may have more follow up questions on this matter to ensure that the Yellow understands the importance of the process and you are confident that they will follow it.


So what did we find out? Overall the top colour energy of staff taking part in our research was Green. The proportion of respondents with high Green energy was even higher with those over 2 years' service and, looking at those with over 5 years' service, almost three quarters of them had Green as their highest colour energy. One of the attributes of those with high Green energy is the ability to stick with something when they have started, so the fact that Green increases with length of service is not unexpected. The Green's ability to understand others and their strong sense of duty also seem to fit well with the role of security officer. (Read more about the colours by following this link More About the Colours).

Security project graph


Blue was the second highest colour energy shown, showing that Blue traits such as attention to detail and ability to follow procedures are also important in the security industry. Red energy was the third most popular top colour energy and the incidence of Red increased for those in supervisory or management roles; this is to be expected as Red's are push themselves forwards, are driven and ambitious and will strive to climb the career ladder.


Yellow energy was the least common in the security industry personnel and those with high Yellow energy tended to have been in the industry for less time and to be in lower grade positions. Yellow's are open-minded, free-spirited, spontaneous and imaginative and these are not traits that we associate with a security job, however that is not to say that a Yellow cannot make a good security officer – they will just approach it in a slightly different way.


We also saw variations by company, with some companies having a fairly even spread of all the colours while others were almost entirely Green at the grass roots level, with some Red energy in their management. This will be reflected in the culture at each of those companies.


If you are interested in finding out more about the personality profile of your industry, and how you can use this to improve business, choose the right candidates to fill roles in your organisation, and help your team work better together, contact us today! Our personality profiles are easy to understand, quick to produce and affordable for the whole company, not just the management team.


Written by Admin Wednesday, 28 May 2014 14:53

Engagement for all


Employee Engagement is quite a buzz word (or words) at the moment. As a concept, it was born in the 1990's so it has been around for a while but there are still many definitions of engagement. Most of these include elements of commitment, morale, happiness – getting your staff to like and enjoy their jobs and give their best by really buying into the vision of the company and their role in it.


However you define engagement, you can see that it is beneficial and something that all companies should value. There are statistics to say that engaged employees have few sick days, work harder, have less accidents, stay with the company for longer – all things that employers want. You can read all about employee engagement on our Engagement page.


Those of you that work for large organisations may have filled in an engagement survey over the last few years. However engagement surveys are more of a rarity in medium and small companies; they may feel:


  1. It is too expensive to run an engagement survey
  2. They do not have time to process the information
  3. They do not have the resources to make changes suggested by the feedback, or
  4. Management may feel they are close enough to the employees to know that the workforce is engaged.


We are currently running an offer for a complimentary Business Pulse survey – that's our standard employee engagement survey and yes, it is absolutely free (no catches) for up to 100 employees. And if you have more than 100 employees, or want to amend or add some questions, we can sort that out for a small charge. Companies from Scotland to Africa have taken up our offer, companies with just a handful of employees or hundreds. So that is excuse number one gone – it is not too expensive!


We offer a fully managed service and provide the feedback in an easy to understand format so your HR department does not spend hours chasing up people to complete the survey or entering data. Excuse number two gone!


One of the challenges faced by our African customer is that not everyone has access to the internet to do the survey. Again, that is no problem at all. We have a paper version of the survey that can be distributed to employees without internet access. Once the paper questionnaires have been completed, you can nominate someone within your organisation to input the data onto the system. If you are short of time we can do the inputting for you for a small charge.


Many companies think that improving engagement is going to be expensive; employees will want things like flexible benefits packages, more holiday, a staff canteen etc. But small, inexpensive changes can make all the difference to employee engagement.


One common theme is that employees would like better communication from management on a variety of subjects, such as the direction of the company, short and long term company goals, appraisals, pay and bonuses. Keeping the workforce informed does not have to be expensive – an e-mail to all staff, or posters in the workplace can do this, or a section on this in each team meeting. Of course you can spend money on communication, arranging a whole company away day or conference with branded pens and notebooks, if you have the resources.


Other changes like better coffee in the kitchen, a coat of paint and some cushions in the break room or allowing working from home once a week will have a cost implication to them, however, if this is what your staff want, the increase in productivity resulting from increased staff engagement and morale should more than pay for it.


Our African friends biggest item of feedback surrounds remuneration; a significant number of staff do not feel like the pay and benefits they receive are fair for the work that they do. The scores received in the Fair Deal section showed greatest potential for improvement. They would also like to see junior staff trained and promoted from within the company, rather than bringing in senior staff from outside the company.


Increasing salaries is going to be costly for a business, as are things like implementing a flexible benefits system or offering private medical insurance to staff, however not all things your staff want have a cost. If affordability is an issue, look through the feedback for the small, inexpensive changes that can make a big difference. All changes that you make as a result of feedback show that you care about your employees, and that in itself is likely to increase engagement. Excuse number three, done!


In small companies managers may feel that they are close enough to their staff to know how they are feeling. They may think that a chat at the coffee machine or photocopier is enough to gauge engagement. If you only have a handful of staff and are very close to them this may be true, but there are a lot of people in workplaces who may pretend to be happy and get on with their jobs, but who do not like coming to work each day, or who go home and complain to their partner about various aspects of their jobs.


Offering an anonymous survey can be a great way to get some honest and open feedback. Staff can give their views without worrying about recriminations and management can see all their views in one place. Common themes may arise across teams that would not have been spotted unless the team managers happened to talk about that subject. Totally unexpected points may arise, or feedback may confirm what management suspected. In any case, for companies with more than a handful of employees, gathering feedback at one time, into one report can give some very useful information.


So what have we learnt through offering complimentary Business Pulse Surveys to companies over the last few months? Other than Scotland has more names like Kirsty and Cameron than Africa, but they do have some brilliant names (Spaceman, Burglar and Dolphin are among them), we learned that all companies will find this exercise useful. They will receive valuable information, not always to their liking, but it will enable them to take steps to make their workplace better for staff and increase their engagement. They can then see the benefits come in, and next year, when they repeat the survey, they can measure how much engagement has improved as a result of their changes.


If you are would like to run a survey on your staff, take a look at our complimentary survey offer or read the questions in our Business Pulse Survey. Better still, give us a ring to set up your survey today!


Written by Admin Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:20


Over the past month or so, the i-comment360 team have been looking at motivation with one of our customers.


We were initially asked if we could measure motivation, however it is such a broad subject that measuring the motivation of one person accurately against the motivation of another person would be very difficult and subjective. Instead we have been trying to come up with a questionnaire to show what motivates one person compared to another – a motivational preference profile.


We started by asking the question, 'What is motivation? The best motivation definition that we found is:


"The internal processes and external factors that direct an individual's behaviour and choices."

"The degree to which a person wants and chooses to engage in certain behaviours."


Put simply, motivation is what drives our desire to do things.


Over the years there have been many theories of motivation. The best know motivation theories are Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's motivators versus hygiene factors.


Our specific task in doing this investigation into motivation is to look at what motivates people to take on a course of higher education study. We started by holding a half day workshop with a number of our customer's staff, as they talk to students and potential students on a day to day basis. Through discussion and some exercises, we came up with a large number of possible motivators then grouped them until we had four broad headings. We then went on to draft definitions of each of the headings to encompass all the possible motivators that we came up with, and differentiate each motivator.


The four motivators that we identified for undertaking a course of higher education study are:

  • Knowledge – motivation comes from the love of the subject and of learning new things.
  • Reward – motivation comes from what the study and qualification can bring, such as a higher paid job, a bonus, more opportunities etc.
  • Recognition – motivation comes from how others see you and the status you achieve as a result of completing your studies and gaining the qualification.
  • Expectations -The needs and expectations of others – motivation comes from an external source, be that family, friends, employer or those less fortunate that yourself; what they need and expect of you is what motivates you to undertake the course of study.


Armed with this information, the i-comment team went away and came up with a test motivational preference questionnaire. We drafted 25 questions; for each question the participant would have to rank the four options from nearest to their viewpoint to furthest away. The answers to these questions allow us to show which motivating factors are most important to each participant.


The next stage was testing the questionnaire, so our customer sent it out to several hundred test participants to complete. Our system contains an in built validation system which allows us to download the data analysis at any point and see which are the most effective questions and which questions do not work so well. After analysing the results (the Blue's in our office love data analysis!) we could pinpoint which were the most effective questions, which might need some rewording and which did not give consistent results.


We deleted or amended a number of the questions, giving us a 15 question questionnaire and sent that out to another test group. These results from this have been good and we are now in the process of refining the questionnaire again to give us 10 or 12 really effective questions for gauging motivation.


The results we gained showed a majority of this group of people being motivated by Reward or Knowledge. We now need to understand if this is a function of the type of people we sent the questionnaire to for testing or if we need to make changes to the questionnaire to better identify the people motivated by these factors.


You can help! If you can spare 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire for us and help test it, we would greatly appreciate it. Follow this link to the Motivation Questionnaire.


Our aim is to produce a motivation report for each student studying with our customer so that the coaching and counselling teams can support the student through their course and give them the best chance of succeeding.


Motivation is such a fascinating subject and we have loads more ideas on how to develop this going forward. We would like to investigate if there is any correlation between motivating factors and success, to look at motivation in the workplace as well as in education, including team motivation, and to see compare motivation to personality using our existing personality report.


We will keep you updated on our progress with another blog on the subject of motivation soon.  But in the mean time if you have any ideas that might help us in looking at motivation, or would like to find out how we are getting on with the next stage, please drop us an e-mail on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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