The biggest challenge for anyone working in HR and Learning & Development is aligning your people with your organisation’s goals and ensuring the way they contribute will get you there.

If you want to be a company that is creative, ahead of the market and agile, you need people that will bring curiosity and an ability to translate that into solving problems with relevance. People no longer accept instruction without question; they decide what they do – and how they do it – based on how engaged and aligned they are to your organisation’s purpose.

With consumer and community demand growing at an unprecedented rate, organisations of all sectors are struggling to develop their people fast enough to meet the demand. We may be putting people through development programmes, but we’re not seeing a return on investment. We’re not closing the skills gap fast enough. In fact, the gap is continuing to grow.

Organisations across the board are looking for ways to accelerate a change in the behaviour and effectiveness of their people. Often, the missing piece is data and insights to help you make decisions about how you can change your culture to be not just who you want to be, but who you need to be to deliver your business goals.

This is where personality profiling comes in. Our personality comes with us wherever we go. In a work environment, it influences how we approach our work and our interactions with other people. It affects how we lead, influence, communicate, collaborate, and manage stress.




Developed by Norman Buckley in the 1980’s, Facet5 is one of the most modern and advanced measures of personality available today. Designed specifically for the workplace, Facet5 was created in response to client demand for practical information to inform decision-making at each stage of an employee’s journey.

Facet5 is trait-focused, which means it looks at ‘how much’ of a trait a person possesses. Other tools like MBTI and Belbin are type-focused, which means they force people into a certain type, for example, ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’, ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’.

Facet5 measures individuals on five factors, or ‘facets’, based on the scientifically recognised Big 5 theory of personality. Each individual has a certain amount of each of the following factors, and it is this pattern of scores which gives the overall picture of their personality.

  • WILL - determined, assertive, independent;
  • ENERGY - enthusiastic, sociable, involved;
  • AFFECTION - open, sincere, warm, generous;
  • CONTROL - structured, orderly, self-disciplined;
  • EMOTIONALITY - this interacts with the other four factors and affects stress tolerance, confidence and emotional states. 
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Although Facet5’s main factors are distinct sets of character traits, they are made up of a number of sub-facets, so an individual will be able to see how much of each of the factors and sub-factors are inherent in their personality.


As well as an overall profile and a breakdown of their scores on each factor and sub-factor, the Facet5 report provides other useful insights into an individual’s personality and what this means for the workplace. These include a review of competence, a guide to leading that individual and an overview of their work preferences.

In a shorter version of the report, known as Spotlight, the factor breakdown is less detailed and instead is broken down into strengths, risks, frustrations and challenges for the individuals to focus on. To support this, the end of the report includes a framework for an ongoing development plan.

With Facet5, there are 1,000,000 possible combinations of scores that would give noticeably different profiles. Facet5 have divided up this vast number of possible patterns into 17 different ‘families’ of similar profiles. For example, a person may be a ‘Supporter’, ‘Specialist’ or ‘Controller’. Emotionality is excluded from the family profile, so you may be a ‘Supporter’ with either high Emotionality or low Emotionality.

People like to be able to identify with something and to easily spot how they are similar and different to others around them,. The Facet5 families offer this, while not taking away from the depth of insight the full Facet5 profile provides.

The widespread use of Facet5 around the globe has lead to a number of research papers revealing the trends Facet5 has identified. One tool even lets you test your own profile against the norm profiles of other countries. This can prove especially useful when working abroad, or in teams of mixed nationalities.

Beyond the Personality Test



Personality profiling isn’t just a tick-box exercise for segmenting the people in your business. Your business success relies on a fully engaged, productive and satisfied workforce. Understanding the unique differences in the personalities, work preferences and behavioural styles of each individual empowers you to create a culture that allows them to thrive.

However, personality tests are often misused, at best providing no real value, and at worst, highlighting existing weaknesses in individuals and teams. This is a frequent occurrence no matter the reason for investing in a new tool – whether this be hiring new team members, identifying individuals for development or promotions.

Some of these common mistakes include:

Putting a label on people

Personality profiling helps people become both self-aware and aware of how others around them think, feel and act. While it’s useful to know that Mike likes control and order and that Jill’s natural reaction to stressful situations is panic, you need to be careful about labelling people. For example, it’s nice to be called creative, but not if it means being labelled ‘irrational’.

This is where trait-based personality profiling tools like Facet5 hold an advantage over type-based tools. Type-based tools such as MBTI, which labels a person as ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’, and ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’, for example. And TMI slots people into ‘Organisers’, ‘Explorers’, ‘Advisors’ or ‘Controllers’. Yet putting a label on a person is like placing a confinement around them, and this can be dangerous.

The challenge is that it’s natural for people to want to connect with like-minded people. While this can be a good thing, connecting with others sometimes leads to the rejection of those with differing minds. It is important that personality profiling doesn’t create a void or tension between people with very different natural preferences, and avoiding labels is the first step to ensuring this.

Trait-based tools such as Facet5, as well as HPI and NEOPI, avoid putting people into boxes with labels. These tools are more granular and provide a truer reflection of the complexities of a individual's personality. You may score low on Control for example, but you are not one ‘type’ versus another. This helps reduce the tendency to label people by their personality.

Confining people by their personality

An individual’s personality preferences do not always determine their behaviour, and it’s vital that organisations and managers recognise this.

For example, a person may score low on Energy (extraversion) and may not typically enjoy sharing ideas in a group. But this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t ever jump at an opportunity to speak publicly about a topic they are passionate and knowledgeable about.

Or what about someone whose personality profile indicates that their natural tendency is to be disorganised and leave things to the last minute. Does this mean they can’t adapt their behaviour to become super organised at work to meet the requirements for the role? Of course they can, in fact, we see this all the time.

These are common issues, and it is important that when it comes to managing and developing employees that you don’t fall into the trap of only viewing them in the context of their personality profile. People need a chance to be seen for how they act and behave in the work environment and not confined to what it says on their profile. People also need to be given opportunities to step out of their comfort zone and to flourish in new areas.




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Selecting and integrating new talent

An individual’s characteristics, attitudes and patterns of behaviour are some of the key ingredients that determine how well they perform.

Recruitment should start with identifying what the ideal candidate will look like. Do you need someone who can make quick decisions? Or do they need strong attention to detail? Personality profiling helps us determine whether an individual’s natural preferences align with the demands of the role.

Of course, personality isn’t the only driver of behaviour and job performance. But an understanding of personality traits serves as a basis for getting to know a candidate better. It helps steer discussions at the interview stage, allowing you to get a deeper insight into their strengths, risk factors and character, and to investigate their adaptive behaviours.

For instance, just because a person scores high on Will, which would suggest they have a tendency to run with ideas quickly, doesn’t mean they haven’t learned to take a more considered and analytical approach to their work. This is something you can dig into during the interview.

It’s not just about getting the right person through the door either. Understanding how a new employee prefers to learn, work and interact gives you a steer on how best to integrate them into the business and gives them the best chance to flourish. It helps you pair them with a line manager who will be more likely to help them achieve success or place them into teams where they will be more likely to excel. If you can integrate new hires quickly, you set them up to be more engaged and productive from the outset.

Developing effective leaders

All successful organisations need great leaders, but according to research by Deloitte, 86% of business leaders say that leadership is their biggest organisational challenge.

Developing great leaders has always been a crucial issue for organisations, but in today’s business environment the issue is even more acute. Technology advancements, the political climate, and changes in the social demographics of the workforce are piling even more pressure on organisations to find leaders that can navigate a business through this complex web of change.

With the right guidance and encouragement, anyone can become a great leader. The most successful companies recognise this and focus on developing leaders at all levels of the organisation and different career points. First-time leaders, as well as Executive level leaders, are offered appropriate coaching and development programmes that will help them to be the best they can be. This is where understanding their natural preferences, strengths and development challenges can be valuable.

Personality profiling provides a platform for individuals to explore their core personality, work preferences and strengths. It helps them identify how others may perceive them, how they will work with others, and where they will need to adapt to suit the team they lead.

As leaders become more senior, they get less and less feedback. Facet5 shines a light where it may be needed to show them how their behaviour may be having a detrimental effect on team performance. This exercise of self-reflection provokes them into making changes and adaptations to make them a better leader.


Managing talent within the business

Research shows that companies with engaged employees outperform their peers by up to 202%. So how do we create levels of employee engagement?

The reality is there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Organisations have to be more sophisticated about how they motivate and engage people who are inherently different.

Personality profiling allows us to see how they are all different, so we can devise engagement strategies and talent development plans that are personalised to individuals.

By shining a light on an individual’s natural preferences, strengths and potential weaknesses, we open up the conversation to goals for personal and professional development. From a manager’s perspective too, it enables them to execute target setting, feedback and appraisals with a smoother approach in a communication style that works best for the employee.

Facet5 helps organisations and managers to identify the environments and situations individuals will thrive in. Equally, it allows us to put people in situations that will help them to grow. For example, if someone is low Energy, they may not want to deliver a presentation to a room full of people, but actually, it’s a good learning area for them.

Likewise, if you only get people to do things they do well or easily, you’re not giving them any learning either. Facet5 helps you identify opportunities to stretch people, so you end up with a more rounded team of people who are more capable across the board.

Creating high-performing teams

Constant disagreements can cause teams to fragment, and these cracks can appear as chasms across the rest of the organisation.

Facet5 provides insights to help people prepare for when disagreements occur and for how to get through them. It helps us recognise that we all have different ways of reacting to stress and pressure. While some people are open and vocal about frustrations, others will retreat inwards and become quiet. Awareness of these differences means people can predict and understand the behaviour of others. 

Building effective, high-performing teams is not just a case of having people with the right skills and the technical ability to fulfil the necessary functions. You need to take into account the personalities, values and preferences of each team member. These are often referred to as the “soft skills”. Yet they feel far from soft when they are causing conflict, slowing down decision making and making the team a highly uncomfortable and unsafe place to be.

Discover how to create high-performing teams

What's more, teams today are very different to the traditional teams of the past, where everyone sat together and worked together closely. Now, we are used to virtual teams and interchangeable teams with people from different departments and backgrounds coming together to deliver on a task or project. Add in the fact we now find up to five generations in the workplace, we need ways of ensuring everyone from Gen Z, to Millennials, to Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation can understand each other and work together effectively.

Ultimately, teams need to work on being a team, and personality profiling provides you with insights to accelerate this bonding process. It helps people understand why they approach their work in the way they do, why others may differ, and what this could mean for the overall team performance. It offers a universal language that helps people better understand each other, and allows a more cohesive and effective unit to develop.

In teams where people understand each other, conflict can be mitigated because people will be better prepared for someone else’s approach to a task or how they might react to a certain comment. For example, if a person appears to be overly controlling, but colleagues know this to be a personality trait playing out as opposed to unreasonable behaviour, then tension may be avoided.

And when it comes to appointing tasks, if we know each team member’s natural preferences then we can delegate based on what makes people ‘tick’. This gives the team a better view of their collective strengths and potential blind spots so they can make adaptations when necessary to deliver what is required.




One of the great benefits of Facet5 is that a number of different reports can be created off the back of a single questionnaire. TeamScape, Spotlight, and SuperSkills – which examines our natural conversation style, and how we can improve it – can all be created once an individual has completed a Facet5 questionnaire, meaning no repetitive form filling for your employees.

Once enough individuals within an organisation have been profiled, it becomes possible to pool their data and consider the behavioural patterns that may emerge. Imagine you could gain insight into how likely an organisation is to address conflict? Or to work together? Or support and trust each other?

Using Facet5 data to understand group processes 

If we take a closer look at each of the Facet5 factors, they can tell us more about group processes.

WILL indicates decision-making; at one extreme individuals will be very direct, determined and decisive about their own ideas. The opposite extreme will mean people defer to each other to gather opinions and gain consensus.

ENERGY may represent the sociability of the work process itself. A skew in the direction of high Energy (especially Sociability on the subfactors) will mean that a group genuinely likes to spend time with each other working together, but what could this mean for those who are less outgoing?

AFFECTION not only suggests how immediately trusting people may be of each other (higher scores) but also how open they are to others’ input and ideas. A group that scores lower overall on Affection may struggle to support each other when necessary and miss opportunities to hear good ideas and input by focussing only on what is pragmatic.

What about CONTROL? We know that high Control means discipline, rigour and responsibility. In large groups, this could mean that rules and processes are followed to the letter which is useful in some contexts but less so in others. How will those with a more flexible open-ended approach find working in an environment like this?

The overall levels of EMOTIONALITY in the group will give us an indication of how much vibrancy and alertness there might be. It will also indicate how much tension and apprehension the group experiences as a whole and what impact this is likely to have. Groups of low Emotionality may be too aloof and unmoved to recognise this in others. Both have consequences!

Here are some examples of how this might play out in a real workplace scenario:

1) Comparing Facet Subfactor Scores

Consider the levels of Determination and Confrontation in the following group (n=78):


What we see here is a group of people, organisation or departments who demonstrate a strong skew towards the high end of the Determination scale. This might suggest an environment where everybody sticks to their guns and is quick to give instruction; also it could mean that the environment does not lend itself well to listening to each other.

Confrontation, on the other hand, is negatively skewed which might mean an aversion to react and respond to issues, almost to the point of avoidance. This has implications for organisational effectiveness and for how people will find the environment as a place to work.

2) Dealing with Conflict

We can also consider how the same group would approach conflict. The levels of cooperation and assertiveness can be mapped to Facet5 profiles so we can see the predominance of some styles over others. Interestingly, here we can see the bias not towards Avoidance, but towards Accommodating. With a group high on Determination but low on Confrontation, this may be the only way conflicts are resolved, but will everybody really get what they want?


3) Family Distribution

As Facet5 profiles can be classified into ‘Families’, each with their own characteristics, we can see by looking at the distribution how the population is made up. As well as Generalists you can see here that there are Developers and Entrepreneurs too. Entrepreneurs are low on Affection and strong on Will; Developers are the opposite, and as such we can quickly identify where tensions – or advantages – could arise.


These are just three ways in which group data on Facet5 can provide greater insight into an organisation’s culture, working environment and overall ‘style’. Data such as this can be used to pinpoint areas of organisation excellence and improvement.

The insights from personality profiling help organisations to see the things in their culture that help and hinder them. They can identify the missing gaps where they may need to hire someone to fill them or where they may need your current people to flex to bridge the gaps.

You may have a team full of high Affection individuals, which means you’re great at making people feel valued and creating a caring environment. However, the downside means you might avoid giving each other unpalatable or negative feedback, or struggle to manage some of your more difficult people – both things you need to do to make your business successful.

Data and insights into your people allow for these gaps to be revealed and sets you on the path to boosting your business.



Introducing Facet5 into your organisation

If and when you decide to implement a personality profiling tool in your organisation, be prepared for an influx of questions - ‘Will it reveal potentially embarrassing information about me?’, ‘Will I be judged on my personality?’.

It’s likely there will also be scepticism - ‘My answers will depend on what mood I’m in, so does it really mean anything?’. There may even be people who have had a bad experience of workplace personality testing in the past. Maybe they’ve found it too invasive, or they didn’t like how the organisation used the assessments.

All this means that you need to be careful about how you communicate the how and why of personality profiling in your organisation. As is echoed throughout this page, we can’t assume that everyone will respond in the same way. Different people will experience different levels of anxiety about having a spotlight placed on their personality. This means some people will need more detail around the rationale and more reassurance about what it means, and you need to be prepared for this.

Facet5 helps to promote an open, sharing culture within your organisation. With its clear format and simple language, employees are instantly able to comprehend their own results and compare them with their colleagues’. The 17 ‘family’ identifiers are another quick and easy way for teams to share how their personalities align and differ.


HARNESSING the GREATEST POTENTIAL of your organisation

Raising employee self-awareness

Personality profiling provides organisations with insights that helps them to understand their people in a whole variety of ways and in different situations; from how they prefer to learn, work, interact and lead, to what motivates them, and how they respond to change.

It is not about putting people in confined boxes based on their personality. Personality profiling is simply about understanding and leveraging people’s personality to help them thrive from the moment they enter your organisation.

By shining a light on the personalities of the people in your organisation, you provoke and empower them to become more effective, more engaged, and happier in their work. Looking at the profiles of everyone in your organisation as a whole reveals where your collective personalities can help and hinder you.

Facet5 is specifically designed for the workplace, and based on sound theory recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Its clear and easily understandable results provide the insights and data required to help you understand your people in a whole variety of different ways, and in different situations. This can have significant benefits for the overall performance of individuals, teams and your organisation as a whole.