Culture & Engagement

The four most common workplace personalities

Common Workpace Personalities

Personality tests are a hotly contested topic. You might scoff at the idea of categorising employees into workplace personalities. We’re all individuals, right? We can’t be sorted like a bunch of Hogwarts students. You might roll your eyes at the idea of using this information in your selection process or to help you put people into teams.


Before you discount the idea completely, have a look at the four basic workplace personalities that Business Chemistry by Deloitte has put together.



Science-backed workplace personalities


These four workplace personalities were designed by consulting firm Deloitte for use in a business context. They draw upon the latest analytics technologies to reveal what they describe as “four scientifically based patterns of behaviour.”


What’s interesting about the team behind these four personalities, is that the tests were put together by scientists from the fields of neuro-anthropology and genetics. They use modern technology and a data-driven approach to working out the differences in people’s business styles.


Let’s have a look at each of the four workplace personality types, and dig into how to use this information to boost diversity and improve teamwork.



The Pioneer


Pioneers are the sparks that set the fire burning. Spontaneous, social creatures, they love taking risks, and immersing themselves with new, often novel, ideas.


Business Chemistry describes pioneers as:


-  outgoing
-  spontaneous
-  risk-seeking
-  adaptable
-  imaginative


However, of the four workplace personalities, Pioneers can be the most detail averse. This means they may have trouble focusing on the smaller, often most crucial, details of a project.


Pioneers thrive when asked to come up with creative new ideas or when exploring new and exciting possibilities. They thrive even better if they can do this while working alongside other people.



The Driver


If Pioneers spark the flame, then Drivers keep that fire burning. When the rest of the team run out of steam, The Driver is often there to maintain the pace. This is because they love rising to meet a challenge, and will therefore often make sure a project sees its way through to its end goal.


Business Chemistry describes Drivers as:


-  quantitative
-  logical
-  focused
-  competitive
-  deeply curious


Drivers value competence which means they may become impatient with seemingly foolish ideas. However, they certainly enjoy a sharp mind and a sharp wit – so pairing a Driver with somebody who has a clever sense of humour, can often yield interesting results.



The Integrator


Integrators hate confrontation. They are more interested in the relationships people have with each other than the relationships people have with their work. This makes them great diplomats and excellent diffusers when things get heated.


Business Chemistry says that Integrators are:


-  diplomatic
-  empathic
-  non-confrontational
-  traditional
-  intrinsically motivated


You might find that you attract more Integrators when your business exhibits strong moral values and makes a point of treating employees well. However, Integrators are normally found in all workplaces, and thrive best when they can really get behind your cause.



The Guardian


Pioneers light the fire. Drivers keep it burning. Integrators make sure everybody gets their fair share of the heat. So what do Guardians do?


Guardians value stability and are focused on detail, detail, detail. In an otherwise chaotic environment, Guardians focus on the smallest of details, to bring even the most chaotic situation into some semblance of order.


Business Chemistry describes Guardians as:

-  methodical
-  reserved
-  practical
-  structured
-  loyal


Guardians are great people for making sure a project has not just been completed, but has been completed well. They will find the shortcomings other people could not see – and they will not rest until those details have been ironed out.



Which of the workplace personalities is the best?


No single workplace personality is “the best”. They all have strengths and weaknesses. The reality is that you will find people exist on more of a spectrum than they do within individual boxes.


In a way, all four personalities complement each other: if you’re too heavy on one, the output may become a little lopsided. For a well-functioning workplace, ideally you want a good balance of the four workplace personalities. If possible, you want that balance to extend right down to the individual team structures.


Of course, that’s not always easy to ensure. The tests themselves used to determine these personalities are not an exact science so take it all with a pinch of salt.



This post was written for The Access Group, a leading provider of HR, digital learning, payroll and financial management software to small to mid-sized organisations. It helps more than 47,000 customers globally across commercial and not-for-profit sectors become more productive and efficient.