· 6 min read · Features

HR editorial team tries... psychometric testing


We decided to put ourselves under the microscope with a new psychometric tool, the Game Changer Index

Every business is looking for people with that ‘special something’. The ‘X factor’ that plays a vital part in driving innovation and success. But with traditional notions of ‘talent’ and ‘high potential’ looking increasingly old hat, how do you find those people?

Search firm eg.1 thinks it has the answer. Working with UCL professor Adrian Furnham it created the GC Index, which claims to be able to identify the ‘game changers’ in your organisation, as well as four other role profiles: strategists, playmakers, implementers and polishers.

“It’s clear the pace of change is quicker, there’s more pressure on organisations to adapt and innovate,” says eg.1 chief psychologist John Mervyn-Smith. “People want transformational teams.”

The GC Index doesn’t measure personality type or leadership qualities. Instead it focuses on an individual’s preferred contribution style to a role or company. Mervyn-Smith says the nearest comparison is an evolved version of the Belbin test. “It’s an ‘organametric’, not a psychometric,” he adds. “It’s about impact in an organisation.”

He acknowledges profiling tools can become “faddy”. “It needs to be based on a proper conversation,” he says. “It shouldn’t focus on an individual, but rather on a team, looking at collective strengths and weaknesses.”

The HR magazine editorial team took the tool for a test drive. This is what we found out...

Katie Jacobs, editor

GC index profile: Game changer, with polisher and strategist traits

What does this mean?

Game changers are open to new ideas. They are driven to initiate transformational change, but this drive can also come with a handy side order of obsession. That, coupled with my relatively high polisher score, adds up to perfectionism. My report states I am driven by the desire to turn ideas into reality and can be demanding. This chimes with me. I experience ideas as an adrenaline rush and can be impatient to get things done.

Relation to my role

As editor my role is to maintain the high quality and standards of HR magazine’s editorial content, and help set the overall strategy for the brand – including coming up with new opportunities. The need to come up with creative ideas, problem solve, and focus on continuous improvement (the polishing bit) are critical for success. As the model for publishing changes, all magazine brands need a game changing approach to identifying opportunities.

I also lead a small team so I need to consider the impact of my approach on them. My profile says people might find me “intense at times”, but my team told me my passion is inspiring not intimidating. Well, that’s what they said to my face anyway…

How will I take the insights and apply them?

It was useful to think about how we fit together as a team. Where are our strengths and weaknesses? We have a high proportion of polishers which is a positive in terms of maintaining quality control, but perhaps means we have a tendency to overwork ourselves and be too critical. However, we are diverse in our thinking and approach to work, striking a balance between being ideas-focused and task-focused. Personally, I will make an effort to ensure my natural game changing tendencies continue to be inclusive rather than “uncompromising”.

Was this a worthwhile exercise?

With psychometric exercises it is often the opportunity to discuss how you work together that adds as much value as the tool. The same is true here, but what the GC Index does well is focus on your approach to work rather than just your personality. There is no personal judgement and the Index assumes everyone can flex into ‘types’. The emphasis is on us to take what we’ve learnt and use it.

Jenny Roper, deputy editor

GC index profile: Implementer and polisher

What does this mean?

My scores suggest a task-focused nature. My profile describes someone who is driven to deliver, to get things done and is seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’. During our feedback session Katie talked about how she can see complicated mind maps of her thoughts. And Thirza talked about seeing 3D to-do lists. I realised my equivalent is seeing calendars of exactly when things need to be done by, and the level of polishing possible in this time frame. I identify with the interpretation of me as someone who likes a clear direction and is most comfortable taking orders. I can’t stand fuzziness of objectives.

Relation to my role

My profile seems a good fit with my role, which is chiefly to translate Katie’s strategic vision into specific content and projects, and make sure they happen on time. I’m also a gatekeeper for all news and features so it’s important I’m rigorous in assessing how compelling content is, and ensuring accuracy. It’s vital that I’m always tweaking and honing mine and others’ writing to get it just right.

How will I take the insights and apply them?

I could do with being more of a strategist and game changer. Being an implementer and a polisher has worked well for me in previous roles, but now I need to hone the capabilities that come less naturally.

One of the most interesting and encouraging things to come out of the feedback session were compliments from the team that I can be an ideas person. I just do it in my own, considered way.

So perhaps I need to accept and harness my more deliberate way of doing things. It’s really important that the results of any psychometric test are used as a way of being more conscious about capitalising on strengths and improving weaknesses. The danger is people using them as an excuse for inflexibility.

Was this a worthwhile exercise?

Definitely. It felt like therapy. My profile suggests someone who is self-critical and often too demanding of myself. I have in the past viewed my natural inclination to get things done rather than continually question, as a negative. Now I realise my implementing and polishing ways are of value – and they can be used to make me more of a game changer and strategist in future.

Thirza Tooes, sub-editor

GC index profile: Polisher and game changer

What does this mean?

Polishers are perfectionists and like to see things done well. Their view is things ‘could be better’, and they see how that could happen. Polishers give organisations a competitive advantage by focusing on the pursuit of excellence. I scored in the mid-range for ‘game changer’, which means I’m open to new ideas and value creativity.

Relation to my role

My profile is unsurprising considering my role of sub-editor. I’m paid to be a perfectionist, and make sure other people are too. I’m so obsessed with everything being the best I was a bit miffed not to score a perfect 10. A lot of what was in the profile chimed with me – I recognised my traits.

How will I take the insights and apply them?

It was really useful to do this experiment as a group; that way we could learn where we mesh and where we may clash. I’ve been warned before by parents or lecturers that I need to learn to ‘let things go’. This was reiterated: my constant pursuit of excellence means I hold others to the same standards, so I may come across as critical. I need to learn when to cut my losses and be more flexible, so going forward I’ll try not to get so invested if it’s not totally necessary, while still maintaining high quality.

Was this a worthwhile exercise?

Definitely. Day-to-day you don’t have the time to question your ways of working. This made us confront our strengths and flaws. Some self-assessments can be made up of back patting, but this was refreshingly honest.

It was useful to discuss our team dynamic. This didn’t have the pressure of a performance review, because it was about making us work better together rather than looking at targets or failures. Discovering my colleagues’ strengths gave a good idea of how we might grow.

Bek Frith, news reporter

GC index profile: Strategist, with implementer, playmaker and game changer traits

What does this mean?

Strategists seek the ‘why’ and not just the ‘how’. They need to feel like a useful part of their team, and see how their contribution forms part of the bigger picture. Strategists feel most engaged in roles where they can see and understand the decisions their firm is making, and have the chance to analyse patterns and trends. I also have a tendency towards ‘playmaking’. Playmakers focus on building relationships.

Relation to my role

Working as a reporter is a good fit for a strategist. Many of my day-to-day responsibilities involve spotting trends and patterns, whether that consists of pulling out the most interesting facts or analysing our social media content to see what people are sharing. I need to stay close to events in the industry, and hopefully I will hone my ability to apply the trends I see to my writing.

How will I take the insights and apply them?

As a strategist I tend to take a ‘bigger picture’ view, and can be less strong on the details. I also scored low on polisher, which made me realise I need to spend more time actively paying attention to detail. I will make an effort to polish my work rather than relying too much on my polisher colleagues. I also want to develop my strategist tendencies. The GC index suggests strategists should work closely with an implementer, to give you a dose of reality, so maybe Jenny and I should make time to share ideas.

Was this a worthwhile exercise?

It’s hard to say so far. I’m quite new to this job, and apparently this is why my scores are fairly close together. I think that as I get more settled, with a clearer place in the team, then it could be more interesting. I’m hoping to take the test again later in the year, so time will tell.