By Peter Holtmann
As a developer of certification and credentialing systems, I long ago realized that what we really want is for someone to do a job “well” or be “good” at something.
These words have nothing to do with study or experience, rather they equate to the thousands of decisions made each day while performing the role.
Known as personal attributes, defining and recognizing them can help boost a person’s career.
Personal attributes are meaningful and can be used to great effect when identifying a population of workers who need to deliver interpersonal outcomes. Good practice would be for companies to assess how they want someone to work in a role versus what they want them to work on in a role.
Group dynamics should be considered to gain an understanding of the affinity within a team (or lack thereof) and how the new person will affect this dynamic. For many groups, where the work they perform is remote, isolated, or autonomous, an affinity with a group or movement gives them the drive and a sense of connection to do what is right when going about their work.
A sounding board or a reality check can be the difference between someone performing within the realms of acceptability or outside what is acceptable, leaving the person susceptible to group or community criticism.
How do you know if you’re the right person for a particular role, group, or community? Has your employer considered what personal attributes or qualities you’re bringing to the job? How do you know that what’s right for you now will remain the right choice over time?
Utilizing personal attributes assessments is a good way of determining your fit as well as potential employees’ fit. Some employers choose to assess candidates before or during their interviews, and the results are shared with them so they know if they have met the requirements for the role.
Applying a greater emphasis on personal attributes when recruiting employees can drive higher achievement of expectations and result in a more skilled and talented workforce.
Applying Personal Attributes to the Mental Health Support Worker
Interpersonal skills define the quintessential social worker. High empathy, altruism, affinity with like-minded groups, and amazing coping skills are sought-after personal attributes for workers in this role. Of these attributes, “affinity” stands out as being key for these types of workers.
For some time, Exemplar Global has been working with Aftercare—an Australian non-profit organization in the mental health sector—through our charity unit Gratiis.
The aim is to create a way of recognizing personnel who perform essential support work services for people experiencing mental health issues.
Traditionally, employees are selected for support work based on their training and qualifications, and are then inducted into the practices and culture of Aftercare.
“Lived experiences”—personal experiences with mental health conditions—are important to Aftercare as this builds affinity with the particular community in need. However, the ability to capitalize on these lived experiences is yet to be realized.
Our aim is to build a system that not only recognizes qualification requirements, but also adds focus and an increased emphasis on personal attributes.
We hope this creates the opportunity for people with lived experiences access to a career in support work.
These lived experiences develop an affinity for a community in need and will take job seekers much further down the path to employment.
The success of this program relies on the scientific development and assessment of personal attributes for support worker employment. Exemplar Global has engaged with Aftercare’s team of psychologists, researchers, and ethics professionals to validate this approach.
A career shouldn’t define the person; the person should define the career. I believe that the attributes each person brings to a role makes the difference between a worker and a professional.
Learning about the job and being trained in the role are ways employers ensure a certain quality of outcome or assurance of process. Adding value to a career ensures outcomes to the consumer: it gives confidence, provides trust, and reassures continued customer patronage.
The outcome of a service is a feeling, and the attributes of each individual determine how positive that feeling is.
Download a PDF copy of Peter Holtmann’s “Personal Attributes as a Predictor of Continuing Competency” white paper here.