Are you a detective or a road runner? Understanding employee personalities and how to manage them
- 5 Min Read
The majority of employees surveyed (21%) were identified as the ‘Negotiator’ personality type. They are is typically a “people person”, with a reputation for being reliable, down-to-earth, easy-going and supportive.
UKG’s recent Workplace Personality Report has identified five distinct personality types that are prevalent in most offices. The five personality types uncovered by the research include the Go Getter, the Visionary, the Negotiator, the Thinker and the Executive.
UKG surveyed 2,000 full-time workers across the UK employed in various industries including c-suite and people managers.
They then identified what makes each of them tick, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they like to communicate with colleagues and managers, plus their preferences and habits when it comes to their daily roles.
The majority of employees surveyed (21%) were identified as the ‘Negotiator’ personality type, perhaps best seen in prominent figures such as former prime minister of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.
The most common personality type, the Negotiator, is typically a “people person”, with a reputation for being reliable, down-to-earth, easy-going and supportive. Their presence within teams is a useful source of diplomatic and measured contributions.
“While many people managers may already be aware of the different traits and personalities within their teams, it can sometimes be challenging to adapt certain workplace policies to suit everyone,” says Claire Lock, VP, HR International Markets at UKG.
The Go Getter
Just 9% of survey respondents were a Go Getter personality type. The Go Getter is outgoing and energetic with a high level of self-belief.
Examples of the Go Getter in popular culture include Ben Francis, co-founder and CEO of sports clothing brand Gymshark or Michael Jordan, athlete turned businessman and the face of the world’s most popular trainer.
Growth for these employees involves exposure to new experiences and pushing beyond their comfort zone. Managers should offer clear, predetermined goals and feedback, and encourage analytical decision-making and teamwork.
These people comprise 14% of respondents. These individuals are creative innovators, always seeking new ideas and solutions. They prefer flexible, relaxed environments and value brainstorming and idea exchange.
Visionaries benefit from detailed feedback and a flexible, relaxed work environment. Managers should facilitate brainstorming sessions and guide Visionaries to focus on details.
In popular culture, the Visionary is best embodied in the people that are famed for their ground-breaking ideas. Good examples include Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple and pioneer of the smartphone, or James Dyson, who continuously creates products that set aside traditional design principles in favour of unique and innovative ones.
These are the most common personalities evident within a business, accounting for 21%. They are empathetic, diplomatic, and reliable, excelling in collaborative and fast-paced environments. They are adaptable and excellent team players.
When developing these employees, growth can be achieved by encouraging independent decision-making and confidence in their judgments. Managers should promote collaborative work environments and leverage their diplomatic skills.
They form 14% of the group. They are introverted, analytical, and detail-oriented, preferring methodical approaches and solo work. They are skilled problem solvers but may need encouragement in teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Well-known examples of this personality type include Facebook founder and current Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.
Lock says that for the Thinkers, clearly defined process work best for communication and all feedback should be clear, detailed and actionable.
“The Thinker also welcomes flexibility, preferring freedom to choose when they work collaboratively and when they need time to work independently,” she says.
“These insights can equip managers with the tools they need to get the best out of each and every member of their team – no matter what personality type they are.”
Encouraging participation in group projects and interpersonal skill development aids growth. Managers should provide clear process guidance and appreciate their methodical approach.
These employees also make up 14% of the sample. These individuals are principled, organized, and conscientious, valuing structure and standards. They focus on fairness and justice, preferring established processes and working for the greater good.
Real-world examples of the Executive include American author, attorney and former First Lady, Michelle Obama and former New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
Growth involves balancing results-oriented focus with cultivating personal relationships and problem-solving skills. Managers should provide structured environments and encourage independent task handling.
Why does this matter?
Understanding these personality types and their unique characteristics can help HR professionals and leaders adapt their management styles to get the most out of their employees.
“The results of our survey clearly outline that to meet the evolving needs of the modern worker, managers need more support than ever,” says Lock.
“People managers must adapt their methods to ensure they are getting the best out of every employee, and a variety of factors are at play here. Our findings can help managers with the methods in which they communicate with team members, which working environments support their development best and how they prefer to receive feedback.”
By creating a workplace environment that caters to the needs of these different personality types, businesses can improve employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.