Find out how PageGroup promoted MBTI development

Established in the UK in 1976, PageGroup has grown to become one of the world’s best-known and most respected recruitment consultancies. They now operate in 35 countries, providing recruitment services and career opportunities on a local, regional and global level. PageGroup operates three key brands: Page Executive, Michael Page and Page Personnel, supported by additional brands across the business.

PageGroup wanted to get maximum benefit from its MBTI®-based development sessions. The tool had been used in workshops previously, but with just two hours allocated to complete the questionnaire, give feedback and discuss the implications of type preference, the sessions had barely scratched the surface. Lack of follow up was the problem – the sessions had been one-offs rather than part of a continuous development journey.
In more recent times, Victoria Crane, Talent Development Director at PageGroup, had pinpointed the MBTI tool as something which, after many years lying fallow, could be reintroduced for the benefit of personal and organisational development in the company. Senior Directors within PageGroup were aware of its potential, and Victoria was keen to use it to much greater effect.
“The questionnaire and the feedback are just the beginning”, says Victoria. “It’s applying the tool and the insights after the initial session – that’s the key. It’s about getting people beyond that initial session to embark on their development journey back in the job.”

Knowing the scale of what she hoped to achieve, Victoria successfully argued the case for a full day session. She designed a workshop featuring group feedback in the morning and type-related activities in the afternoon. Attendees complete the questionnaire beforehand.

PageGroup is a high energy, fast paced sales environment. It was a central goal that these sessions should sell the benefits of the MBTI framework to a workforce driven by league tables and performance. The workshop had to demonstrate clearly how the framework can boost performance, streamline interactions and open up the possibilities of behaving ‘out of preference’.

In the first phase, high priority groups were identified and many teams went through the development work. In the second phase, senior managers attended – an important element, given that MBTI insights can only work well if there is an understanding and support of the instrument from the top down.

“My aim is for everyone attending the sessions to connect the tool straight back to their job from the word go”, comments Victoria. “It has to be made personal and relevant to their particular challenges.”

Following the immediate success of the MBTI sessions, and the consequent demand for more, Victoria looked for external support. As a result, The Myers-Briggs Company was brought in to deliver a number of the development sessions, working closely with Victoria in the first instance.

The development work has been very well-received, and the organisation has now reached the point where the tool is widely appreciated as an important business aid. “We get to the root cause of an issue quicker”, said one delegate. “This enables us to deal with situations more effectively.” “It has changed my whole perspective on how I manage people,” commented another.

The ability to flex personal style has been one of the main revelations – the realisation that language can be adjusted to communicate information with maximum effectiveness. “I recently used Myers Briggs in a client meeting”, commented one delegate. “I realised quickly how my client was different to me and I changed my approach.”

The work has engendered the understanding that what works well for one team member might not be the best solution for another, and people are thinking about how to best word their communications, keeping their audience – whether internal or external to the organisation – at the forefront of their mind at all times. 

“I’ve been able to motivate my team far more,” said another delegate. “I took a step back when I realised that not everyone follows the same process as I do.”

The MBTI work has successfully changed the way the company sees itself. Before the MBTI sessions many people had perceived extraverts to be at an advantage. MBTI insights have emphasised the value of preferences for introversion, based on type theory and the concept of acting ‘out of preference’.

MBTI insights have also helped managers to work more effectively with their teams, motivating and getting the best out of them. As one manager said: “It has definitely helped my business area make money – specifically regarding my engagement with certain people within my team.”

“I’ve been able to work with my Directors about their messaging and their development of their people by making them realise that one size does not fit all”, commented another.

Looking ahead, Victoria wants people to enhance their MBTI insights via follow-up application sessions. Team dynamics is one particular area she is keen to explore (i.e. in the original sessions, members of the group taking part were not necessarily part of the same team back at work). The tool is also being used in one-to-one feedback sessions.

She is also developing a suite of further application sessions including coaching different learning styles, upskilling influencing skills, and enhancing leadership development. Furthermore, the organisation is now working on developing the instrument beyond its UK base.

It’s about getting people beyond that initial session to embark on their development journey back in the job

Victoria CraneTalent Development Director. PageGroup