By now you may have noticed I have a passion for neuroscience and to date I have really only looked at it in relation to stress and how we can take control of our physiology and moderate our brain chemistry to feel better. However, as a certified PRISM practitioner I am interested in its application throughout the work-place, particularly in relation to our ability to flex in relation to the demands of our jobs.

Neuroscience has a real and proven application in business…imagine if you were able to better match applicants to job vacancies and therefore to improve engagement, job satisfaction and retention, better understand your team to improve team dynamics, develop your leaders, enable better communication and generally enhance the working experience. Imagine how this might benefit your business.

So let’s quickly just clarify what we mean by neuroscience. Neuroscience is “is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions” (Medical News Today). And remember, your brain is different today from how it was yesterday this difference results from the effect of yesterday’s and today’s experiences, as well as the thoughts and feelings that you have entertained during the past 24 hours.

This development and adaptability of the brain is termed neuro-plasticity and it is important in business. Our success depends on the plasticity of our brain and how easily we can flex and adapt to the demands of the context and the environment we are in. Entrepreneurs, by definition, must have high-plasticity brains! Entrepreneurs must be able to connect, disconnect, reconnect, restructure and bypass outdated aspects of thinking, values, beliefs and behaviours if they are going to meet constantly changing demands; their ability to learn as they go, is essential for success.

For a moment, consider just three versions of you… you at work in a meeting with your boss; you at home at the weekend with your family; you in a social setting, relaxing with your friends. Notice the role you play, the behaviours you adopt, your feelings and your language style and notice the differences. This is a simple illustration of plasticity…you have behaviour preferences in each scenario and you adapt to the context you are in.

Now, if you apply this approach to job satisfaction and retention, imagine an employee in a role where they are required to flex significantly, every day to adopt behaviours which don’t come naturally…perhaps they are routinely required to analyse data in detail, quality-check information or review financial spreadsheets. What if this employee deep-down, actually prefers to be part of team, likes to build relationships, collaborate and come up with new ideas. Imagine how frustrated, demotivated and unhappy this employee might be, they may generate a negative ripple-effect within the team, their quality of work may suffer, they may ‘live for the weekend’ and they may eventually quit.

OK, this is an extreme mis-match between role and behaviour preference but it illustrates the need to ensure that we better match the requirements of the job with the underlying behaviour preferences of the candidates. Neuroscience studies have shown that employee motivation and productivity are optimised when there is a fundamental fit between the job requirements and the individual doing the job.

Being able to recruit with a predictability for success is a very real need since the cost of a “bad hire” goes far beyond the financial repercussions, it is also the time needed to manage a bad-hire situation, the impact on team motivation and morale, poor client interaction and so on. Recruiting with confidence can’t simply be a product of hiring the “best of the bunch” and if you would like more information on how your recruitment strategy can be optimised using effective neuroscience-based job benchmarking and candidate profiling, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

“PRISM Brain Mapping uses simplified, but well-established, neuroscience principles in conjunction with tried and tested psychometric techniques to achieve the best of both these sciences. I believe that PRISM is a highly reliable measurement instrument. “

Dr Tendayi Viki Chartered Psychologist Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology Stanford University