How to assess the problem-solving capabilities of your team

When you are in school, you learn that teamwork and problem-solving are key skills to acquire. The reason why this message is instilled in us at such a young age is that it is important to develop these skills to collaborate effectively and be successful in the business world.

However, despite all the experience you have working with others, certain situations may arise in the workplace which can put you off balance. There are a few different reasons why your team may not be working coherently together, but it is your job to find a solution to achieve a high team performance rate. To help you do that, we created this expert guide to help you identify problem-solving issues within your business and learn how to effectively deal with them.

The importance of assessing problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are a valuable asset as you can be certain that problems will arise in your daily operations. Logic, deduction, adaptation, and other cognitive skills are all synonymous with problem-solving and they are found in functional teams that work well autonomously.

Without competent problem-solving skills, your team will lack the soft skills needed to effectively deal with issues. All companies face a variety of challenges, it is therefore essential to learn to deal with problems when they arise. If individual team members are uncomfortable when facing a problem, it limits your team’s ability to work cohesively together.

It is important to sort issues out as soon as possible because individual team members failing to effectively deal with problems can cause internal tensions, hence affecting team performance and limiting profit. If you want your business to thrive, you need to make sure that your employees or managers have the necessary problem-solving skills to succeed in their role. This can be assessed through a standardized test.

Problem-solving skills are also the best indicator of job performance. There are hundreds of scientific studies that have demonstrated that cognitive ability is the most important factor underlying situational adaptation as well as learning ability. Moreover, the more complex the job, the more critical cognitive abilities become. In other terms, the higher the position in the organization, the more important problem-solving skills become.

How to assess the problem-solving capabilities of your team

Problem-solving capabilities in a professional context can be assessed in a variety of ways at any point during an employee’s career:

  1. Ask the right questions;
  2. Perform a problem-solving test;
  3. Observe your team.

1. Ask the right questions

Making sure your team is good at problem-solving starts from the hiring process. If you know how to identify people who are good at solving problems, you are less likely to face issues further down the line once the person is hired and has been integrated into the workplace.

The best way for you to identify good problem solvers is in the interview or application process. Most people include problem-solving skills on their resume because they are aware of how important this soft skill is, but that does not mean they necessarily possess the skill itself. You should therefore take the opportunity at the interview to ask participants about their problem-solving abilities.

This can easily be done by getting them to explain a time when they had to use their skills to solve a problem that is related to the role for which they are being interviewed. This will give you a good idea of how proficient they are at applying their skills in a real-life situation and will prevent issues in the future.

2. Perform a problem-solving test

The most straightforward way to assess an individual’s problem-solving skills is to put them to the test. Whether as part of the recruiting process or simply quantify the potential of your current employees, a problem-solving test can assess various cognitive skills associated with general intelligence.

A test based on social science and the reality of the workplace allows for a more precise measurement of the ability to analyze and solve problems using a logical or deductive reasoning approach. HRID’s problem-solving test uses several cognitive learning and adaptive skills that require a strong ability to analyze and draw accurate conclusions regarding different types of problems.

3. Observe your team

You can tell a lot about someone’s problem-solving skills by observing them when facing adversity. A person’s communication style with team members and their technical performance standards should be assessed together to determine how they go about solving problems.

When we say keep an eye on them, we do not mean micromanaging. Micromanaging can cause your employees to become dependent on your professional insight and therefore prevent them from solving issues they encounter on their own.

However, it is important to pay attention to your team and keep on top of them to ensure their performance standards remain high. If you notice a lack of coherence among your team, it is a good idea to first approach the team leader to ask if they have noticed any specific issues. If they haven’t, you should talk to your team as a group to work out any issues.

How do you assess problem-solving skills?

Having your team take a problem-solving test is the best way to assess their problem-solving skills. This is true for potential and existing employees. HRID has over 20 years of experience in developing assessment tools that suit different organizational workforce selection needs in a web-friendly environment.

Our assessment solutions accurately quantify and qualify an individual’s performance on a given subject, whether it be mathematics or emotional intelligence. Every single test that we offer is used to assess one’s cognitive diversity and enables businesses to identify potential or existing employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Academics and professionals in the field of psychometric testing have all come together to create a foolproof system that expertly assesses the skills held by employees.

How to improve problem-solving skills

If you identified some issues with the problem-solving capacities of your team, it is not the end of the world, it just means that you need to put in the work to improve your team’s skills.

Here are tips to improve the problem-solving skills of your team:

Create a healthy workplace

If you want your employees to improve their soft skills, you need to create a healthy working environment. This is true regardless of whether you have in-person or virtual teams. You need to create an atmosphere where it’s acceptable to make mistakes. Without a healthy workplace, employees are going to retreat within themselves, and this psychological safety instinct will hinder efficiency.

Psychological safety is a big part of creating a healthy workplace. Employees need to know that they will not be reprimanded for voicing questions, concerns, or mistakes. Encouraging this also stimulates teamwork and healthy communication, all of which are essential elements in the problem-solving process.

Teach problem-solving skills

Teaching problem-solving skills through training or educational programs is a great way to improve these skills. Running classes and offering problem-solving activities can help individuals adapt their approach to problems and optimize the cognitive diversity in your team.

Taking a problem-solving test, for instance, provides your staff with raw data to reflect on where they stand when solving problems, and what strength they can bring forth to increase team performance. After all, functional teams have self-aware team members.

Talk to employees

One of the best things that you can do if you are experiencing issues with your team, not just issues relating to problem-solving, is to simply talk to them. Having a strong line of communication will help you identify issues as soon as possible, and you can talk through the issues with your employee and help them improve.