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One of the most common problems employers face today is finding and keeping employees on staff who are the right fit for a particular job position. When faced with an employee turnover dilemma three years ago, RainSoft found a solution through the Predictive Index (PI) tool. Water Quality Products recently spoke with Robert Ruhstorfer of RainSoft and John Ranalletta of ADVISA about the PI and how it helped RainSoft find and maintain good employees.
WQP: How does the PI work and why would companies such as RainSoft find this to be a beneficial tool?
John Ranalletta: The PI is a 53-year-old personality or behavioral assessment tool developed by the international management consulting organization, PI Worldwide, which has licensed our company [ADVISA] to use it in our consulting practice. Our clients present it to candidates for jobs and to their employees. These individuals would get an e-mail asking them to fill out a two-page survey. Page two is the most important page—the instructions ask you to mark the words that best describe you. There are 86 words and someone would spend between 10 and 20 minutes looking at those words, and choose the words that they think best describe them.
Everybody has psychological needs and drives, either in personal or business relationships, and we are always striving and behaving in ways that help us meet those needs and drives. We have physical needs and we always take those for granted—when we’re hungry, we eat; when we’re thirsty, we drink. But on the other hand, we have psychological drives and needs. The words that are marked on the survey on page two let us measure the strength of those needs—specifically in the workplace.
The four psychological drives that the PI measures in the survey are the drive to dominate, the drive for extraversion, the drive for stability and the drive for formality or correctness. Those are four drives that everybody has. What we’re trying to do with the PI is measure within a person how strong those drives are relative to each other and to the norm. Based on the words that are chosen, the PI measures the strength of those drives in that person. What we can do is draw conclusions on one’s likely behaviors, motivators and needs based upon the responses.
What companies do with the PI is take a look at the job positions they offer and try to determine the behavioral requirements of the job. If the job requires perfection, then an employee who has a strong drive for formality or correctness and is concerned about image would be a good fit for the position. The company would look to hire somebody with a certain profile that makes sense for the position because they can offer this person a job that asks them to be exactly what they want to be.
RainSoft came to a conclusion a few years ago that there were markets in which they were not getting the penetration they needed. What they were concerned about was staffing the stores and the key was to do this with the least amount of turmoil and turnover. They were concerned about finding the right people and if they were to find the right people, how could they keep them on staff and not have turnover, retraining costs, etc.
WQP: Why did RainSoft begin using the PI?
Robert Ruhstorfer: Recruiting is a big part of our business. What we wanted to do was improve the efficiency of the recruiting and hiring process. There’s a big investment and cost associated with hiring new personnel. Because RainSoft’s business model is focused on sales components, a typical RainSoft dealership does a lot of hiring and training in the sales department, and that can be one of the most expensive propositions in the business.
We looked at tools to help with that process. We looked at a number of options and PI is the one that we settled on. It was really to drive the efficiency and cost of the recruiting process.
WQP: How were you able to use the PI and work with RainSoft to help improve their business?
Ranalletta: We trained RainSoft to step back and, before starting the hiring process, take a look at the job positions available and ask, “We need a sales- person to sell water purification systems to homeowners; what’s involved there?” When we examined the job, we found that there’s some risk because the employees would be paid on commissions. When we talk about PI profiles and jobs with risk, it’s helpful to hire people with a higher drive to dominate. That need to win is very important because every sales opportunity represents a chance or a contest.
We first did profiles of existing RainSoft salespeople who had been successful, and what we found was that they all had a higher need to dominate. What that said was they were more comfortable coming to work every day when the job was risky in that they need to make a certain quota of sales.
RainSoft was able to create, with my assistance, a set of profiles for a company store. What we found was for the service people, we would want a person with a profile that was helpful, empathetic—to help the customers. RainSoft found that this led to more sales.
WQP: How has the PI been beneficial to RainSoft?
Ruhstorfer: For a dealership example, the person you would hire as your installer is going to have completely different personality drivers than the person you hire to be your salesperson. Even at the corporate level, if I’m hiring an accountant I want somebody who’s going to be very accurate with detail. That’s the kind of stuff that comes out with the PI. It would take many hours to sit down with somebody and try to pull this information out of them when you could just have them spend about 15 minutes and complete the PI assessment. You can have that kind of information and insight almost right away. It streamlines the interview process and helps you quickly determine the people you want to potentially pursue for a particular job versus those you do not want to pursue.
When you talk about RainSoft at the dealership level, what we’ve seen in our company dealerships is that it has helped us to hire who we think are better salespeople, better employees who work out in their particular job classification at a noticeably higher rate of success.