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Science of Psychometrics   | 6 Min Read

Science of Psychometrics: What HRs can learn from Dexter - the "Ethical" Serial Killer

Written By Ankur Tandon

Dexter was probably one of the most binge-worthy shows on American TV up until its departure in the year 2013. While some TV shows bank heavily on gigantic VFX dragons or relatable college friendships to strike a chord with the audience, Dexter simply managed to do that with extremely well-written characters and tight plot lines.

It is Dexter Morgan’s character, in particular, that made the audience glued to their TV screens.

‘Dexter Morgan’ was a serial killer that had a flawed moral code. The makers showcase him as a vigilante that ‘cleans up the world’ in his own way in his spare time. Over the course of eight seasons, the character kills at least 135 people without ever catching someone’s attention.

But what made Dexter Morgan what he really is?

To help us understand why Dexter does what he does, the makers take us straight to his childhood. Here we understand that Dexter has a particularly traumatic childhood. His mother was killed by three men in front of him and his brother. The brutal incident saw the men using a chainsaw to slaughter his mother while she cried and repeatedly asked her boys to close their eyes. This was one incident that made Dexter distance himself permanently from any kind of emotions.

Moreover, his foster father Harry Morgan decided to ‘channel’ this energy in Dexter and trains him to manage his aggression. It is evident that his core values reflected that of Harry Morgan. What he did and what he believed in eventually became a strong part of Dexter’s life and formed the basis of his values.

On the other hand, Dexter’s brother Brian too developed the same tendencies. We find out that their mother’s brutal murder has had a similar impact on him and he too ends up being a serial killer. However, the fundamental difference between Dexter and Brian remained to be their moral code. Brian (Rudy) is merciless and had no code whatsoever. It would not be wrong to say that Brian actually enjoyed killing, irrespective of who his victims were. Meanwhile, Dexter played by the rules that Harry instilled in him as a child. While having the exact same personal experience as Brian, Dexter killed only the people who he thought deserved to die. This was one of the primary things that Dexter had learned from Harry over time. This just goes on to prove that values can be instilled in people even with strong dark traits provided they are given the right training.

dexter brother
What HRs Can Learn From Dexter?

Your organization’s work culture is one of the most important things that promote productivity. It is the collective sum of values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes that define your company. We might even go out on a limb and say that it is as important as your business strategy. It has the power to strengthen or undermine your company and the objectives it has been trying to achieve. A good culture is imperative for the organization as it drives happiness and contentedness among the employees, while also being able to attract new talent.

People with the wrong set of values can be particularly damaging to your company’s work culture. To start with, they are never able to form meaningful connections with people around them and therefore perform terribly when they are put in a team setting. When such employees start operating on a personal level, it may even lead to counterproductive work behavior. However, with the right learning and development programs, the employers can train them over time to align their values with the values of the company.

If someone with a completely different set of values enters your organization, it will lose its ability to work collectively as a team. Since a company is required to make hundreds of decisions every single day, it is important for the employee values to align with those of the company’s itself. Sharing the values will enable you to build internal cohesion in the group.

For instance, a person who does not possess values of self-discipline, self-improvement, integrity, and honesty will not be an asset to the company in terms of productivity. He/she will take advantage of any lax in management rules and look for ways to get their work done with the least effort as long as they are sure that they can get away with it. Their focus will never be on delivering quality work and putting their best foot forward, instead, they will always be on the lookout for how they can misuse all the employee benefits that the organisation endows upon him/her.

The Importance of Assessment Tools!

Now that you know how strong values can affect your company culture, it becomes imperative for you to assess people for behavior in the workplace. Naturally, it is impossible to assess these things in an in-person interview that spans for a little over twenty minutes on an average. What you need is a more extensive and accurate tool at your disposal that can precisely point to traits like these.

Online assessment tool – Mettl serves as the perfect platform to assess your employees. It consists of a set of questions that enable you to map the cognitive as well as the psychometric abilities of the people. It has a large inventory of personality traits that it uses to compare the results with, so you have a better understanding of your employees. The Mettl Dark Personality Inventoryin particular, can significantly help you in finding the Dexters in your workplace.

According to Mettl’s Dark Personality Inventory, there are predominantly six dark traits that make up for an overall dark personality. These are:

  • Opportunism
  • Self-obsession
  • Insensitivity
  • Temperamental
  • Impulsiveness
  • Thrill-Seeking

Then there is the Mettl Motivation Inventory which educates you about what drives these people. When you know what these people are after, you are better able to understand the motives behind their actions. Mettl believes there are three major needs of a person which can help us map the eight primary motivators in a person’s life. These are:

  • Sustainability Needs: assessed by Money and Security
  • Relatedness Needs: assessed by Recognition, Affiliation, and Competition
  • Growth Needs: assessed by Power, Advancement, and Achievement

    Three-major-needs-of-an-employee

How can organizations benefit from this knowledge?

Now that we know about assessment tools let us understand how you can use them to refine your workforce. The wiser idea is to extensively use these tools right in the hiring process. Having a better idea of the candidate’s personality will allow you to make a well-informed decision and assess whether they are the right fit for the job. Alternatively, if such issues come to light later when the candidate has already been working in your organization, you can use effective learning and development programs to identify the gaps in their personalities and train them accordingly.

We take a look at some other prime advantages of assessment below:

  • Complete Insight Into Your Employees

    The right assessment tools will help you get even the minute details of your employees right. Their strengths and weaknesses are all put on a table. In fact, you can even predict accurately how a person is going to react when subjected to a specific situation.

    When this information is put to good use, you will be able to assign the ‘right’ roles to these employees that align with their own core values.

    Moreover, when it comes to learning and development programs, you will be able to choose the appropriate approach for each individual that promises better efficiency.
  • Aligning core Values

    Your employees are likely to be more productive if your organization’s values align with their own. That helps them connect better to your company’s ideals and work hard towards achieving common goals.

    Since your work culture is heavily influenced by the core values of your employee’s it is important that you are able to map accurately. With the right values your company can:

    - Contribute to the growth of an individual
    - Lead to greater onboard success
    - Improve employee engagement
    - Increase self-awareness
    - Enhance Productivity
    - Inspire people to action
    - Shape the organizational culture

Having strong company values does not only aid in improving work culture and hence organisational productivity but also helps your clients to identify with the company.

You are much more likely to benefit if your employees showcase the same set of values as your company’s. This will further showcase your collective mindset as a company and get you and the client on the same page.

With modern assessment tools at your aid, you can assess the precise personalities of your employees and the values that they possess. Not only will these tools enable you to make a well-informed decision right in the hiring process, but also allow you to fill in the gaps in their knowledge during learning and development programs.

Topics: Science of Psychometrics

Originally published April 29 2019,updated June 29 2019

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