A two-question character assessment tool available for quick-serve operators can, according to the tool’s creators, help them make better hiring decisions, thus reducing the time, hassle, and costs usually associated with adding a new crewmember.
The Predictive Index (PI), a tool employed by international management consulting company PI Worldwide, helps operators gauge the personalities of potential hires through a survey that only takes about five minutes to complete.
Todd Harris, director of research for PI Worldwide, says that, too often, retail operators fill an empty position they have as quickly as they can and without enough thought into what type of employee that new hire could turn out to be.
The PI, which asks potential hires to first identify what type of personality traits they believe other people would ascribe to them and then what type of personality traits they ascribe to themselves, uses a scientific formula to determine which hires would make the best fit for certain positions.
“What we try to do … is help our clients to step back and say, ‘OK, before you start bringing people in, before you start interviewing, before you start looking at resumes and letters of recommendation and all of that stuff, make sure you have a good idea of what the target [employee] is,’” Harris says.
The PI offers 174 specific personality traits that potential hires choose from in each question. They can identify any or all of the traits as being ones they possess.
PI Worldwide offers a service to clients called the PRO, a companion job assessment tool to the PI, that lets operators craft the kind of personality traits they’re looking for in each position they hire. Together, the tools, Harris says, can help improve customer service and reduce employee turnover; according to the company, one Subway franchisee was able to reduce turnover 32 percent by using the PI.
Harris says a questionnaire as brief as his company’s can be “both a negative and a positive.” On the negative side, it’s hard to get a rounded view of a person through just two questions, he says.
“On the positive side of things, especially given the speed with which business operates these days—the fact that we’re all working 70-, 80-hour weeks and have a lot of stuff on our plates—the fact that you can do an assessment and do a test that takes only five or 10 minutes or so can be very, very helpful in terms of minimizing the organizational disruption,” Harris says.
Still, Harris acknowledges that there are many factors composing a person’s success potential, and that the PI is not the only way operators should approach potential hires.
“The important thing to keep in mind … is that someone’s personality—the behaviors, drives, and needs that someone has and that get expressed through their Predictive Index results—should only be a part of a selection or hiring decision, or anything that happens post-hire,” he says.
By Sam Oches