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4 Employee Personality Traits Every Compliance Program Needs

Have you ever heard the saying:

Your employees are your greatest asset.  But they can become your greatest risk.

To understand this saying, think back to when you first hired your employees. You knew immediately they would be a wonderful asset based on the missing skillsets within your practice. They were energetic, open, and ready to do anything you asked of them.

But, as time progressed, you notice your employee is no longer performing the same. They seem disengaged, contribute less, are negative, show increased mistakes, and the list goes on.

Do you want to know what happened?

Honestly, your employee probably started to hate who they became within your practice.

And, I am willing to bet they went into the job with high hopes of using their natural skillsets to assist your practice, but when it turned into tasks that didn’t match their personality, resentment set in.

To avoid employees becoming your greatest risk, it’s time to shift your thinking and use unconventional ways to pull them back in.

I frequently talk about reinventing your team by using the OIG task list.  However, in this post, I want to take this one step further to explain how you can use your employees’ unique personality traits to combat disengagement and build a compliance team that will immediately change the dynamics of your practice.

The True Colors Model

Let’s start with providing a little background on what the True Colors personality traits entails.  The model was founded by Don Lowry in 1978, which was originally based on the work of Plato, Carl Jung, Isabel Briggs Myers, and David Keirsey.  The foundation of this model is to understand yourself and others, based on your personality temperament.  When we identify personality traits, this will improve team communication, learning and listening styles, mental states, and so much more.

The True Colors model consists of four colors that exhibit the following qualities:

  • Blue: mediator, optimistic, communicator, passionate, true romantic, cause-oriented, sensitive to other’s needs, encourages others, cooperative, peacemaker, helpful, enjoys friends, patient, open minded

  • Gold: prepared, planner, detail-oriented, trustworthy, punctual, values order, values family traditions, loyal, precise, believes in rules and procedures, responsible, organized, appreciates deadlines, motivated, determined

  • Green: intellectual, theoretical, perfectionist, visionary, abstract, conceptual, needs private time, approaches interpersonal relationships in a logical manner, always asking “why” and seeking knowledge, prefers independent work, competent, knowledgeable

  • Orange: playful, risk taker, quick witted, negotiator, entertainer, high need for mobility, energetic, competitive, likes tangible rewards, laid back, natural nonconformist, appreciates immediate feedback, appreciates freedom, physical, social, visual

Lowry believes everyone’s personality consists of a combination of these four colors, but there are two dominant colors that represent a person’s core personality.  Using this model allows you to understand employees’ characteristic traits, similarities, and differences when assigning tasks.

It should be noted, in some cases, practice resources (i.e., staff, patients, money) may be limited.  Therefore, it is best that you at least find one color that represents your employee.  And, as the practice resources increase, you can then develop their other dominant and secondary colors.

How to Determine Personality Traits

Once you understand the traits, you can figure out which color applies to your employees.  This can be completed by asking your employees to take the True Colors Assessment or asking them directly through a set of pre-determined questions.

Since I know you may be a little apprehensive about purchasing the assessment, let’s have a little fun creating questions.  Here are 5 sample questions that Max Knowledge states will help you get acquainted with your employee:

  • If I had to describe my personality in one word, it would be _____.

  • If I had to use only one word to describe how I see myself as an employee, it would be _____.

  • If I had to use only two words to describe my favorite manager, they would be _____.

  • My favorite job duty is _____

  • If I had to write just one sentence to describe my outlook on life, it would be _____.

Here is an example of how an employee with more blue characteristics would possibly answer the questions in your practice:

  • If I had to describe my personality in one word, it would be caring.

  • If I had to use only one word to describe how I see myself as an employee, it would be collaborative.

  • If I had to use only two words to describe my favorite manager, they would be sensitive and genuine.

  • My favorite job duty is talking with patients and co-worker’s.

  • If I had to write just one sentence to describe my outlook on life, it would be that helping others is the key to life.

Remember, you can always ask more questions and analyze past behaviors to determine your employees’ personality trait. If they are a new employee, you can also incorporate these questions into the interview process.  Once you examine each color trait, the category they fall under will become obvious.

Also, don’t forget to take the assessment or ask yourself the questions.  As the leader in your organization, it helps that you understand your own personality traits and how it will assist your compliance program.

Personality Traits vs. Compliance Program

Now that you took the time to understand the True Colors Model and determine personality traits through questions or assessments, next you should be able to create tailored compliance tasks for your program.

Each color should assist you with assigning compliance tasks.  Below, I have matched different tasks that I see pertains to each color.  For the sake of brevity, I will share a few examples, but hopefully, this will get your mind churning as you add more in the future.

Blue’s: Social, Compassionate, Collaborative

  • Assist with developing training programs for employees, patients, or business associates/vendors (i.e., EHR, HIPAA)

  • Help investigate and mediate detected violations and offenses related to compliance or noncompliance activities.

  • Talk with patients about practice survey results.

Gold’s: Leaders, Organized, Precise

  • Aid in creating practice policies, procedures, training materials, and audit programs.

  • Organize and create compliance program checklists.

  • Become the assistant to the compliance director or chairperson.

Green’s: Analytical, Visionary, Knowledge

  • Develop, review, or monitor electronic systems (i.e., EHR; cybersecurity).

  • Collect data for the compliance program (i.e., benchmarking; analyze patient surveys).

  • Attend outside meetings, conferences, or webinars related to compliance.

 Orange’s: Action-Oriented Creatives, Flexible, Charming

  • Lead and deliver compliance presentations (i.e., Lunch and Learn, webinars etc.).

  • Produce interactive compliance newsletters, blogs, videos, podcasts, slideshows, etc.

  • Disseminate new and old compliance information or reminders to all individuals (i.e., pop quizzes, games etc.).

Take into account that eventually all personality traits will collaborate.  For example:

The “Golds” may create the practice policies and procedures that the “Greens” learned while attending a conference or webinar. 

The “Blues” may produce an online or in-house training module based on the policies and procedures. 

And the “Oranges” may record fun videos or plan weekly ‘Lunch & Learns’ to disseminate the information to increase practice compliance and engagement.

See how easy it is to use this type of model within your practice!  It’s a win-win because everyone feels like they are contributing to the practice, based on their skillsets and personality.

Once the compliance tasks are assigned, don’t forget to include quality monitoring in the process.  You must follow-up with employees to see if they need assistance or possibly more training in their assigned tasks. Just because they are an “Orange” and naturally enjoy creating videos doesn’t mean they don’t need tailored training in this area (i.e., training on how to use the updated software).  As the leader, you want to develop their natural traits, which will eventually level up your practice.


When you start to grasp the saying:

Your employees are your greatest asset.  But they can become your greatest risk.

You will immediately shift your thinking to see the role your employees play in building or killing your compliance program.  You can probably get away with not initially using personality traits within your practice.  But, as time progresses, employee disengagement will increase, and your practice will suffer.

The success of your program starts when the employee walks in the door.  Even during the interview process, you must analyze, not only employee demographics, but the personality trait you currently need in your practice.

Remember, when you interact and show interest in what your employees offer through personality traits, this reduces risk, which, in turn, creates an effective compliance program.

**The opinions and observations from the author are not a promise to exempt your practice from fines and penalties.  Research, modify, and tailor the advice to fit your specialty.
Joi Sherrod, MPH, CPC, CPCO
Joi Sherrod, MPH, CPC, CPCO
Joi is an educator and owner of JNC Healthcare Compliance Group. After working for prominent academic teaching hospitals and clinics, she is passionate about advising medical and dental practices regarding the world of healthcare compliance. Contact Joi at

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