Retaining All-Star Managers: How We Reduced Management Turnover 4X With The Predictive Index
Increasing employee retention is critical to a company's success. See how Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas uses Predictive Index to identify, coach and develop managers, foster stronger relationships, and increase retention by 60%!
I’ve always been fascinated by people and people-oriented situations, so it’s only natural that I built a career centered around creating positive people solutions and leadership development. More than 20 years ago, I started my career as an HR assistant in the hotel industry. From there, I assumed HR leadership positions in the hotel, retail and entertainment industries, and now, two decades later, I remain in the hospitality and beauty industry.
As the Human Resources Director at Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas, I spend my time focusing on team member relations and leadership training. I define, develop and create leadership content to develop our managers. With 1,200 team members in 15 locations, which includes our corporate office and 14 salons and day spas, it's my job to create a solid foundation for growth for our management team, and at Mario Tricoci, growth happens from the inside out.
Our leadership pipeline and management retention is built around promoting from within rather than recruiting from the outside, so we must invest in our talent early on. To achieve the best results, we adopted Predictive Index (PI). Not only has their behavioral assessment tool eliminated our management turnover rate, it’s also completely changed our approach to management and team member development.
The Power of PI
In 2013, our CEO brought PI to the COO’s and my attention. At the time, we were exploring different personality and behavioral inventory tools. What we liked about PI is that it's rooted in science and has more than 500+ validity studies. It is not a "fluffy" tool. It is approved by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for selection decisions and, best of all, it is easy to use.
Plus, the results we've seen are staggering: we've reduced management turnover from 20 percent to less than 5 percent—a 4X reduction! And our retention climbed 60 percent, from 4 years to 6.5 years. Back in 2013, our backfill options were limited for open management positions, but that’s all changed since we adopted PI. We now hire about 90 percent of our managers from within the organization.
PI has also improved the time that it takes to develop someone into a manager. Through the PI platform, we can determine much faster if someone is in the right role and if that individual will work out. I attribute this success to the development and coaching we’ve been able to utilize through the insights of PI gleaned over the past four years.
PI Language as a Culture
Having senior-level staff directly involved in implementation was critical to our success. From the get-go, we made sure to properly plan the implementation of PI. A common misstep is to assume the HR department should solely lead the roll-out. However, it is important to have a strong team of leaders across different departments all with the same goal: total company adoption.
Our COO, regional managers, director of operations and myself are all trained analysts. It’s been embedded in the culture and conversation due to our operational team keeping it alive. Outside of the traditional use of PI in hiring, what is even more important for us is that our operation leadership uses it on a day-to-day basis as well. PI is not just an HR tool; the PI language has been embedded in the culture and conversations among our leaders, which continues to help us make the right management decisions across our organization by hiring and promoting the best and brightest talent.
So how is this knowledge transferred to our staff? It starts with trained analysts, such as myself. PI offers excellent training and continued education. It's through their education and analysis training that I am able to properly educate my staff. There is a two-day PI class that every individual who wants to become a trained analyst needs to take. I took it four years ago and recently took the class again to learn about the expanding platform, its new tools and new ways of looking at things. I’m so glad that I went through it again. In that class, I was introduced to more tools that I plan to use in my team member training classes, which are crucial to the success of our managers.
As I mentioned, an education of PI is a large part of this process, so I take the valuable knowledge I learn from my PI training and use it to train our team members on how to get the most out of the tool. I start with a PI overview class and then to more advanced classes and coaching.
The PI overview class includes a high-level overview of PI and how to use it. Then we dive deep into the four primary factors of management in PI:
• Factor A (Dominance) measures the drive to exert oneʼs influence over people and events
• Factor B (Extroversion) measures the drive for social interaction with other people
• Factor C (Patience) measures the intensity of a personʼs pace
• Factor D (Formality) measures the drive to conform to formal rules and structure
The class participants are assigned to their factor groups, so it becomes more of a team building as well. I have them dissect what it means to be high or low in each factor. Then we discuss what it means to them as a strength to be a manager, a development area, and how you might be perceived. By creating this open communication, our managers are empowered to take control of their career advancement and become self-aware of their own development path.
Self-Awareness and Feedback Culture
Self-awareness is critical in order for someone to develop into a manager. Prospective managers need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as how they are going to affect other people within the framework of PI. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we adapt our style to meet the needs of others. We talk a lot about self-awareness and how to be open to feedback. This culture of open communication is meant to help employees grow and succeed, to be able to work together successfully and it also helps us use PI to analyze team successes and opportunities. Essentially, self-awareness helps us replace frustration with appreciation for our differences. You need those difference in order to have a high-performing team.
Team Analysis and Conflict Resolution
We also use PI when the company wants to run a team analysis. For example, we run a group analysis report listing two to four managers who are working together. From there, our team will have conversations about where the managers are similar, different and where a conflict might occur. That starts good communication early on and then it turns into a common language among our management teams. These new terms have become a common language that serves as a base so we can assess behaviors, a team’s needs, what is working and what is not working.
During coaching conversations, it’s easy to look at someone’s PI to determine if a conflict will arise due to differences in behaviors and motivational needs. One type of team member might be more focused on the big picture and would be more willing to learn different methods while another team member might be more detailed orientated. Through communication, these two types of team members can create an open dialogue to discuss how each team member can use their skills together to be successful.
During conflict resolution, we revert to the language of PI and remind people of their patterns and then discuss how we can come to a resolution. Our team members are an investment into our company, so we take the time to make sure each individual is in the right seat and is aware of their self-development needs.
Personal Development Chart
This new and amazing tool provides each team member's development strengths and self-coaching tips for each factor. These charts can help develop lines of communication between managers and team members. For example, if a manager is particularly stringent about following the rules, and while this is a good trait for manager to possess, it can cause them to be perceived as judgmental or inflexible. This perception may not be an accurate portrayal when in fact this particular team member is "wired" to present the company’s rules and policies as the most efficient method.
As a manager, this perception can lead to conflict when lines of communication breakdown, but with PI, we can communicate effectively: here are your strengths, this is how to effectively communicate and adapt to another team member's needs. While this manager could recite the rules and regulations of the company, there is more to being a good manager than just knowing all the rules. Being a good manager is about fostering strong relationships and helping our team members grow and succeed.
This tool is not only eye-opening, but it also makes you wonder if it's psychic. It really lays out in laymen’s terms what your strengths are, but those strengths can also turn into watch-out areas. For example, I had a development meeting with one of our leaders whose D was her strongest factor and that was affecting her ability to come across as more flexible and more understanding, which created a feeling of her being more unapproachable. Her personal development chart confirmed what we already knew. That validation made it easy to have that conversation, which of course led to increased self-awareness and actionable change.
Equipped with the skills acquired through the PI training, I can also coach our leaders on how to handle team member conflict, how to approach different situations, how the team member might react and the right verbiage to use. The PI gives us an anchor point to start from, and then reinforces the conversation.
Tips and Tricks for Success
During training sessions, I found it easier to have the team relate to the information when I included some humor in the classes. There is a great analogy I like to use as an ice-breaker: Take for example the dishwasher. People with high formality will want to arrange the dishes and silverware just right. While people with lower formality will simply put the dishes in the dishwasher in any order to get the dishes clean. The goal is the same—to get the dishes clean—but how we go about cleaning the dishes is where PI enters. This is a common annoyance throughout households, and by being able to relate these types of traits, people become more receptive to learning about PI and all its advantages.
As an HR director, it is my priority to make sure we develop the best leaders and continue to create a rewarding and successful career path. The tools and the features of PI have done exactly that for our company. We have a better leadership pipeline because of PI, and we also have a stronger management team who now all speak a common language with which we can use to engage in effective conversations, resulting in positive workplace relationships—and more importantly, a successful company.