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Matching people to jobs – getting it right

People are the most important asset – the heartbeat of any organisation. Placing them in the right roles in the organisation – and nurturing them in-role – is a strategic move which requires careful consideration.

In practice, this means ensuring that individuals are working in alignment with their behavioural strengths and can collaborate effectively with others who are doing likewise.

But matching people and jobs is harder than it sounds. In the last few decades, the field of HR has developed exponentially in recognition of the fact that many important ‘people issues’ have been flying under the radar for some time.

Often, problems are swept under the rug because they are too complex or time-consuming. For example, few people want to remain in the same job forever, but success in another job can be difficult to predict. What’s more, no move exists in isolation. Placing and onboarding a new recruit has ramifications for other employees – and for the organisation more broadly.


Belbin is the intelligence you and your team need.

Our reports take you beyond the CV, previous experience and job history, and focus on data that can be difficult to obtain, collate and interpret – the nature of someone’s contribution to the team. Belbin gives you a broader base for decision-making, offering key insights into the person in the chair at interview, so you know how the job will be done – and how the applicant might fit with the existing team.

The Belbin methodology behind the reports originates from Dr Meredith Belbin’s research into teams in the 1970s – the original ‘big data’ in the field of behavioural psychology. Dr Belbin’s findings were applied in industry in subsequent decades, and now enjoy worldwide reach and acclaim.

Crucially – and distinct from psychometric or personality tests – Belbin starts with the work the team needs to perform and measures how individuals can contribute to perform that work. It enables you to make better decisions when it comes to your people.

Why should I add Belbin to my toolkit?

Belbin reports, training and workshops harness the power of Team Role theory and apply it to address your most pressing HR needs on the ground. From assessment centres to progress reviews and gap analysis, wherever person meets job (or team), Belbin has something to offer.

The benefits of cognitive diversity have been extensively researched and are now well understood within the field of HR, but it can be difficult for organisations to reap the benefits of different behavioural strengths when policies and decision-making stem from an inflexible and homogenous culture.

In other words, many organisations don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to recruiting, integrating and retaining difference.


Advice and guidance with team ‘buy-in’

Any assessment by one individual is prone to bias and error, whether this is an individual self-reporting their behavioural strengths or a manager assessing that person’s contribution.

Unlike personality tests which, by necessity, rely on self-reporting, Belbin draws feedback from the individual concerned and from the whole team, including managers, peers and direct reports, if applicable. It is able to detect and reject undue bias and responses which are overly positive or negative.

Since others are invited to offer structured observations on the individual’s contributions and strengths, the results reflect the team’s views, as well as that of the person in question. This ‘democratic’ approach has a greater potential for garnering support from the team, resulting in greater learning opportunities for the individual concerned, and a path to more sustainable behavioural change.

Any major decisions should take a plethora of factors into account. Belbin is one of those factors – a useful addition to – rather than a replacement for – existing selection criteria.

Greater opportunities for personal development and individual learning

The Belbin reports offer advice on working styles and conduct, with an emphasis on helping people to recognise, announce and cultivate their strengths.

The Belbin reports are intended to advise and guide – to pose helpful questions and offer discussion starters. They are not authoritative in nature and, of course, the advice offered can be accepted or rejected.

Higher-performing teams

A team is more likely to perform well when:

  • Its members possess complementary (rather than competing) Team Roles;
  • Members are aware of each other’s Team Role strengths and can manage interpersonal and team dynamics accordingly;
  • Everyone is aware of the team’s collective strengths and weaknesses of the team.

The Belbin Team report enables teams to assess their Team Role culture. It empowers them better to understand their network and who can be called upon to provide a particular contribution. Using the Belbin language, the team can devise strategies to manage gaps and overlaps in Team Role contributions in order to boost their effectiveness.

A more effective recruitment process

In order to assess someone’s potential success in a role, it is important to evaluate jobs according to the demands they make on the incumbent, as well as in terms of specific work content.

The Belbin Job reports translates behavioural requirements for a job into a Team Role ‘shape’, producing a report detailing the characteristics of the person who is most likely to fit in well with the job.

Individual data can be compared to the demands of a job to determine the level of behavioural fit. The Belbin job comparison reports pose key questions which can be used at interview to help you probe an individual’s suitability for the job in question.

Internal ‘big data’

Your organisation might already have the key people it needs to build that new project team. Using Belbin, you can uncover internal talent, assess the dynamics of a new or potential team and troubleshoot difficulties with an existing setup.

Often, project teams possess a broad range of hard skills and expertise, but lack the behavioural diversity needed for success.

If the team is already assembled, it’s still important to use an understanding of Belbin Team Role strengths to determine who should be involved at each stage.

Ensuring that only people with the required Team Roles are present at each stage of the project can reduce timelines (and frustration), boost team performance and reduce overheads and employee turnover.

Whilst the precise Team Role requirements and dynamics will vary depending on the specific parameters of the project, the guiding principle of behavioural diversity – at every stage in the project team’s life-cycle – remains paramount for success.

Belbin: the intelligence you need

Whatever ‘people’ challenges you may be facing, Belbin offers a practical, evidence-based solution – a language that can be embedded in your organisation at every level.

From assessment centres and interviews to feedback sessions, teambuilding and project teams, Belbin helps you define the work that needs to be done and find the right people to do that work.

Belbin can improve employee engagement and team performance through strengths-based working, reducing employee turnover and providing a greater ROI. It can increase behavioural diversity, boosting team resilience and competitive advantage.

What could your team or organisation look like with Belbin on board?

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