At 212, we strive to build a constructive, creative, and happy work environment for our employees—and the data says you should do the same. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% increase in productivity. What could you do with an extra 12%? Increase production? Improve product quality?

We decided to understand what motivates our team members and provide a way for them to communicate their results.

Our team took the Color Code Personality Assessment. We used this tool to identify why we behave the way we do and what motivates us to perform well. The test gave useful insights into what makes each of our team members tick and how we can communicate with one another more effectively.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that there is major variation among employees. Our values, priorities, and even how we absorb and process information vary widely. We all make decisions differently. Some of us respond better to direct criticism while others require another approach. Understanding the best way to interact and communicate with your employees can drastically alter the workplace.

We found our office to be split pretty evenly between “reds” (who want to look good technically, be right, and be respected; they are strong leaders and love challenges), “blues” (who need to have integrity and be appreciated; they are focused on quality and creating strong relationships), and “yellows” ( who need to be noticed and have fun; they love life, social connections, and being positive and spontaneous).

After taking the test, each person was given a set of colored blocks to place on his/her desk in order of color scores, with the primary on top. These blocks serve as a reminder of how each person prefers to be communicated with, which makes our communication more efficient and improves the work environment.

A 2016 Google study confirms what we knew to be true. With up to 75% of an employee’s day spent communicating with colleagues, understanding co-workers is critical. Google calls it “being nice and joining in,” which makes sense—and is easier when you know more about your co-workers as people.

Google’s study also found that matching personality qualities doesn’t guarantee a strong team. More importantly, identifying these factors makes a bigger difference than technical skills:

  • What your role is
  • How you interact with your team
  • Whether your values (core beliefs) align with the rest of the team

We believe that understanding one another is crucial to team cohesion. Businesses move fast. Your employees will either be your greatest asset or greatest liability. The best teams effectively utilize each other’s talents while finding solutions for areas that need improvement. The best leaders put people in the right places so that the team collectively can win.