Understanding Behaviours & Nurturing Relationships At The Zoo Republic

Behavioural assessments have now been adopted and utilised by The Zoo Republic for over 10 years and we have come to reflect on their success and contribution to our agency, what we have learnt about workplace behaviours and our advice for businesses who are curious about using them.

At The Zoo Republic, we were early adopters of behavioural assessments and over the years, they have helped us foster stronger relationships and make informed decisions about recruitment and organisational planning.

We knew that all of our employees are different and therefore behave differently. We were committed to understanding each other's behaviours so that we can be more vulnerable with each other and work much more closely together.

As an advertising agency which prides itself on understanding our customers and consumers, it seemed only right we should put the same amount of emphasis on understanding our team, and we’re proud to say, it worked.

As our confidence grew using behavioural assessments, how we have used them has evolved, ensuring they remain present throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

Our most recent endeavour was the use of the profiles in team-building activities. We set aside an afternoon for that department to share and understand the team’s profile as a whole, what strengths and limitations and consequently growth areas there are for that team to work on. It helps our employees to understand why each employee works in the style they do, and how they can support them to continue working in their preferred style.

“Behavioual Assessments have been a huge success at Zoo Republic; these days it starts at the very beginning of the employee life cycle and continues throughout their time at the agency.

Our people are able to understand each other more deeply leading to stronger connections within the team which naturally results in higher employee satisfaction.“

—  Kate Macauley, Head of People & Culture at The Zoo Republic



The behavioural assessment we chose at The Zoo over 10 years ago is called Personal Profile Analysis using DISC by Thomas International, which we continue to use until this day.

We chose Thomas International because they are recognised by the British Psychological Society, so we knew that our use of the assessments works seamlessly with our mission of developing a mentally healthy workplace.

DISC is based on Thomas Marston’s theory that an employee demonstrates differing levels of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance in the workplace, and the levels of these four behaviours influences their preferred working style. Some benefits of DISC profiles include:

  • Helps employees become more self-aware
  • Boost cooperation among the group's members
  • Improve the effectiveness of conflict
  • Manage more efficiently
  • Make informed recruitment decisions

Over the 10 years that we have used PPA, we have learnt a few things that we want to share with other companies who may be at the beginning of their journey of workplace behavioural assessments.

1. Leadership Engagement

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest factors of our success is that our teams are engaged and have a genuine interest in understanding themselves, their colleagues and any employees they manage. Our team look forward to hearing their reports and in almost every session, there is a lightbulb moment of ‘this report really understands me, how can it be so accurate’.

The reason our teams are so engaged is because our leadership team unanimously believe in the value that the DISC based PPA assessment has held and will continue to, and of course, this inspires and motivates their teams. We recommend anybody who looks at implementing the same assessment starts with their leadership team first to ensure the engagement runs smoothly throughout their business.

2. Sharing the Results with an Employee’s Manager

When we originally delivered a report, in the meeting would only be a member of our People & Culture team and the employee, which worked well. But what we found was that there were sections of the report that relied on a manager's input, somebody who can provide real-time commentary on where the employee shows the behaviours in the report and what that contributes to the team.

Therefore, we made the decision to bring a manager into the report sessions, and it has been a powerful decision. It stimulates an insightful conversation between the manager and the employee in a controlled and safe environment and almost most importantly, ladders back to our values of transparency.

3. Importance of utilising the DISC based PPA assessment over the employee lifecycle

As our confidence has grown, so has our use of the DISCs in the employee lifecycle. What we are seeing now is that employees aren’t talking about their reports every two years, but they are reviewing them often, as part of their growth plans, as part of their performance reviews and also their ongoing mentoring with their managers.

We’ve seen that with more use, employees are more confident and comfortable with their reports and therefore they talk and share the contents of their reports more, meaning we are getting closer and closer to our mission of understanding our people.

Final Thoughts

If anybody has any questions or wants to know more about our use of behavioural assessments, we encourage you to reach out to our People & Culture Team who will be more than happy to discuss, and if you’d like to learn more about The Zoo, follow us on our social channels.

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Nigel Murphy
Nigel Murphy

Nigel is our People & Culture Manager at The Zoo Republic. He is passionate about employee experience and is committed to making The Zoo Republic the most desired agency to work with and for.