The impact of an individual’s personality on career success has long been a topic of interest, ranging from the psychological theories of Carl Jung’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to the Big 5 theoretical personality measurement tool.
Researchers continue to cross-reference and analyze personality traits across a wide breadth of occupations. A research study titled “Perspectives in Psychological Science”, delved into the use of personality testing in hiring practices to identify the most sought-after personality traits. The research overwhelmingly concluded that conscientiousness was by far the most sought-after trait employers looked for and conscientiousness was directly linked to job performance success.
Recently the SALT team participated in a personality assessment to promote self-awareness, inclusion, and effective communication with our co-workers and clients. The results were quite remarkable - 22 out of 24 employees informally commented that their personality assessments were “spot on”. As a Team Lead and disability claims professional, this experience triggered my curiosity about our clients and their customers (the claimants) and the role our personalities play in building successful professional relationships.
The insurance company is supposed to be there in the claimant’s time of need. The policyholders have done their part after all; they enrolled and paid their premiums. Claims management professionals are the face of the insurance company, working directly with the claimant to deliver the product they’ve purchased. Our ability to develop and maintain a positive relationship with the claimant is crucial. We need to leverage our personality strengths while remaining cognizant of our relative personality weaknesses.
Claims management is a complex process requiring the analytical skills to interpret policy wording, accurately calculate earnings, offsets, and benefit payments. Claims administration is not simply the ability to critically evaluate data and finances; it also requires strong interpersonal skills such as empathy, patience, trust, and clear, concise communication.
Claims management professionals need to be able to deliver difficult information to the claimant who may be ill, financially strained, overwhelmed, and potentially frustrated. We need to navigate how to balance empathetic delivery with a clear, accurate explanation of benefits. If any of these skills are underdeveloped, or not part of “who we are”, it’s important to recognize this so we can work to improve it for ourselves and our teams.
The previously mentioned research identified that across the Department of Labor database, employers’ most sought after characteristic was conscientiousness defined as:
“noun: conscientiousness- the quality of wishing to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly”
I view conscientiousness as the umbrella under which all of our strengths and relative weaknesses are encompassed.
I found the results from our self-assessments very enlightening. It is liberating that our potential is not defined solely by our personality. Given a strong desire to perform our job with excellence, we are not confined to the labels of introvert or extrovert, analytical or emotional and we can deliver timely, quality products to our clients.
With conscientiousness, transparency, and self-awareness, we can learn to consistently find a balance so we can best deliver an accurate, empathetic claim experience and foster a relationship of honesty and professionalism.