An introduction to the SCARF model for Career Insights

scarf_picHC Online recently ran an article titled, Leveraging neuroscience for greater workforce insight part 1: Research and workplace foundations’

I am always fascinated by the topic of neuroscience and was intrigued to learn more from a HR and employee perspective. While having minimal knowledge of the SCARF model developed by Dr David Rock (which is the basis of the article), I had not thought enough about how relevant it is to our careers.  The SCARF model offers us personal insights around our drivers to assist us in improving our ability to collaborate with and influence others in the workplace.

The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
•    Status is about relative importance to others.
•    Certainty concerns being able to predict the future.
•    Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.
•    Relatedness is a sense of safety with others – of friend rather than foe.
•    Fairness is a perception of fair exchanges between people.

In the HC Online article each of these areas is detailed in full.  For example: Autonomy is defined as providing ‘a sense of control over events’. Allowing personal goal formulation, choice of engagement methods, and empowerment to collaborate beyond a person’s formal/primary role may support autonomy. Additionally, the effectiveness of reporting and the ability to explore career interests and options outside the current role can greatly impact the feeling of autonomy. 

As cited in my last post ‘Trends in the Careers Landscape’  ” most people want a degree of autonomy, mastery and purpose in their work, yet many organisations are still working on ‘chain & command’ models from the industrial age.” Using the SCARF model can assist individuals in understanding the degree of autonomy that is important to them in a role and work environment.

While you no doubt have some level of personal insight around each of the these five domains, there is never any harm in clarifying what each of these look likes and reflecting how these impact on our ability to work successfully in teams and our career in general.


Click the links to learn more about SCARF and to take the free SCARF assessment

Note: the assessment is a fairly short questionnaire that provides a percentage weighting for how strongly you feel in relation to each of the five domains. Certainly worth the few minutes it takes to complete.

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