One of the basic requirements for many jobs is that an employee follows organizational policies. When a person is hired, they’re expected to adhere to certain processes and procedures, and when they don’t, oftentimes they end up underperforming or having to repeat a task until it is done correctly. This wastes time, and at the extreme, if the employee violates organizational policies, it may lead to them being let go, increasing turnover and racking up hiring expenses.

Policies, Processes, and Procedures is a competency that measures a person’s tendency to follow organizational plans and guidelines so that objectives can be accomplished the right way. These people encourage others to follow rules and set a good example by consistently adhering to appropriate work guidelines.

This group of scales that make up the Policies, Processes, and Procedures competency model are shown visually in an assessment report. Colors indicate whether or not a candidate falls in a preferred range for each scale.

Our experience and research have shown that these three scales uncover which personality characteristics naturally help employees follow set policies, processes, and procedures, and which potentially hinder a person’s ability to work in a systematic way and follow company guidelines.

1. Need For Freedom

The amount of freedom an employee prefers affects how imposed-upon they feel when they are asked to follow set processes and procedures. People who show a small need for freedom fall on the lower end of this scale. In this range, employees seek out work environments that are more structured. They easily adapt to a company’s rules and regulations without feeling constrained to schedules and direction from their team and boss. When a person prefers rules and guidelines they are more likely to become frustrated by ambiguity in projects, so roles, where set processes drive success, are more enjoyable for them.

The more independence a person prefers, the higher they score on Need for Freedom. These employees place emphasis on organizational freedom and are less likely to follow rules that don’t coincide with their personal values of independence. Usually, people with a high need for freedom are most comfortable working in roles that are loosely defined and don’t require strict adherence to standard processes.

Negative traits of landing on the extreme high end of this scale may include resisting direction and having difficulty adapting to very structured and traditional organizations. Managing employees that score extremely high on Need for Freedom might require more effort and diplomacy than those who have a lower need for independence.

2. Detail Orientation

The ability to adhere to set processes and procedures requires a certain amount of detail orientation. This scale measures how much attention to detail and accuracy an employee displays at work. People who tend to dislike involvement in tasks that require attention to detail score on the low end of this scale. When someone lands here, they’re likely to focus on the big picture or the overall outcome rather than spend time on the tedious aspects of a project. In some roles, this could lead to overlooking important details or failing to follow guidelines exactly as prescribed.

When people enjoy more meticulous work, they’re likely to land on the high end of Detail Orientation. Employees with this attribute are unlikely to make careless mistakes. They will expect high quality and accurate work from others and take the extra time to double-check a process to ensure everything was done correctly and that the appropriate actions and procedures occurred. At work, these people often set very high standards for themselves and others, and are likely to be viewed as perfectionists.

3. Work Organization

People who tend to be more organized at work are often naturally better at following policies and processes since they are innately stronger at planning out their objectives and tend to enjoy structure in work environments. The low end of this scale represents people who spend little or no time organizing tasks and objectives. These employees are unlikely to work on projects in a systematic way and may perform in a way that doesn’t follow specific instructions or procedures. Although these people are seen as more flexible than others, this could lead to completing projects in an incorrect way, especially if specific steps need to be taken in the process.

When a person scores on the high end, it’s likely they prefer an orderly approach to work. This means they follow a specific procedure to ensure their outcome is accurate and acceptable. These employees are likely to be more consistent in their work output, following systematic processes so that tasks can be repeatable and not deviate from set policies that are expected to be followed.

These three scales help predict how a person performs at Policies, Processes, and Procedures and gives insight into what to expect when they land in a particular range. If people need to be hired for positions that rely on following specific rules and guidelines, it’s important to know the likelihood of them adhering to standards before deciding to hire. Knowing how a person is likely to behave reduces turnover and increases efficiency in the hiring process.

To learn more about using competency models to predict success,

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