10 October 2016

INTERVIEW - Bridgit Parise, Emergentics Canada

Emergenetics is a “people solutions company.”

They offer a profile that can be used to help companies and employees understand and adapt to the individual strengths and challenges of each member of the team, allowing for more internal cooperation and better communication and connection with customers.

Emergenetics has been one of the fastest-growing companies of its kind in the last five years, but the value of personality profiles within businesses is not new.

What makes the Emergenetics Profile so valuable for businesses?

We caught up with Bridgit Parise, Partner and COO of Emergenetics Canada, to learn more about what the company offers and why businesses are taking note.

InfoStream (IS): What is Emergenetics?

Bridgit Parise (BP): Emergenetics is a psychometric assessment that takes a look at how a person thinks and how they behave. The word “emergenetics” is a reference to how your personality emerges naturally from your DNA. For years there’s been a debate about nature and nurture, but we know it’s a combination of both. This test looks at your default position – how you look and feel and interpret the world – along with the way you naturally interact within that world.

IS: How does the test work? What makes it different from other tests?

BP: There are a few things that make the Emergenetics Profile different from other tests.

Number one is that a lot of the tests available in the market today were developed in the early 1950s and many of them are “forced-answer tests,” meaning that you’re given a statement and asked if this is most like you or least like you. What this test format does is create polarization of the answers, and it often forces assumptions about an individual based on statistical correlations. Also, these tests often end up looking at either behaviour or personality.

The Emergenetics Profile is different because we look at seven attributes, four of which are thinking attributes and three of which are behaviours.

Within the test, you have one hundred different statements and for each statement you rank yourself on a scale from one to seven. What this does give the test taker flexibility in choosing how accurate their information is, instead of forcing them into a yes/no, or most likely/least likely.

This reflects a more holistic and nuanced interpretation when it comes to someone’s results.

IS: What is the science behind the test?

BP: Any good test construct is based on a solid theory. Ours is based on socioanalytic theory, and what that means is that in any community, whether it’s a company, a city, a town, there are common characteristics among community members.

So there are, for instance, thinkers, doers, relaters and people who gather people together, and there are visionaries. On the behaviour side there are people who listen and people who are more orators, people who like to take action and move swiftly, and others that like to keep the peace, and finally there are people that like to be dynamic and change with the times, and others who like to stay more firm and focused once a decision has been made.

When the Emergenetics Profile was going through testing, over ten thousand people took the test. We found that the test was strongly correlated to the Neo FFI, with the exception of neuroticism, and that it had both strong validity and reliability for a psychometric assessment, and the test/retest data was extremely strong.

One of the reasons for the reliability of our test is that it isn’t a situational test. We are testing for a person’s underlying tendencies and their natural state as far as how they choose to be in the world, rather than simply looking at how a person is at work or in a specific situation.

Generally speaking, by the time you’re 25 your test results are not going to change.

IS: How would an individual or a company best use the results after they’ve taken the test?

BP: The test results are best interpreted not just through the report, but by attending a Meeting of the Minds workshop. This is a 4-8 hour workshop that allows participants to not only hear the information but interpret the information through different interactive processes.

The test results offer two levels of insight. One is self-awareness – “I gain more insight into myself and therefore I have the opportunity to better self-manage myself and to change my approach to work more effectively with other people.”

The second level is within teams or across organizations.

While many assessments only really speak to the individual on a personal level, this particular profile can provide a group report, which allows a group to assess what their strengths are, how they can be effective together as a team, and what their team may need, what their natural biases may be, how these biases may influence relationships with other coworkers or even customers, and what are some strategies and tactics that we can use to be more effective as a team.

The fact that this is used at a team level is a huge differentiator.

Another thing that Emergenetics offers, which allows the learning to go from the classroom to application, is the Emergenetics app. Once someone takes the profile they can access their profile online, and invite other people so that they can see each other’s profiles. This can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the team, even if the team isn’t fully balanced in terms of strengths and personalities.

For instance, if you don’t have a strong preference for analytic thinking, you could access the aides within the app that relate to Analytic preference, and learn strategies to work more effectively with people who have a dominant preference for analytic thinking.

You can also select multiple people who may be going to a meeting, send out a group report beforehand, and recognize where there might be gaps – such as if the team doesn’t have anyone really energized by organization or structure, and you might need to put something in place to make sure an agenda is generated and the results of the meeting are documented. So that even though you might not have a fully balanced team, you’re taking actions proactively to be more balanced and meet everyone’s needs.

By Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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