Purposeful, professional, passionate, and patriotic. These are the defining traits of Acorn Growth Companies. But they’re not just catchy ways to describe the company’s business strategy—they’re also the drivers behind its approach to talent optimization.
Acorn is a private equity firm that invests solely in companies in the aerospace, defense, and intelligence industries. The leadership team is “relentless” in driving success for customers and investors, but know achieving that vision and upholding a world-class reputation starts with their people.
“Acorn is a unique team,” said Carol Crick, VP of Human Resources. “By identifying individual behavioral strengths, needs, and weaknesses, we’ve designed our teams and responsibilities accordingly.”
With 16 team members in six different locations—in addition to the 13 companies in their portfolio located across the U.S. and the United Kingdom—Crick said Acorn “[relies] on technology for 95% of communications.” At many organizations, a lack of face-to-face interactions can open the door for misunderstandings and undue friction. Not the case at Acorn Growth Companies, thanks to PI.
“The Predictive Index [Behavioral Assessment™] has helped us recruit the right people to maintain the focus on our goals rather than dealing with people issues,” said Crick.
The solution starts long before teams are built. When Crick began using PI at Acorn, she encouraged all existing employees to take both the Behavioral Assessment and Cognitive Assessment in order to pinpoint success indicators. “This allowed us to establish benchmarks from the cognitive scores for our teams while using the Behavior Assessment [to identify] which of the 17 Reference Profiles have shown to be more successful in certain positions and on teams,” Crick said. “[We can] identify candidates for specific positions during the interview process and anticipate how they’ll work with team members on projects and in various company locations.”
Job candidates at Acorn receive the Behavioral Assessment and Cognitive Assessment after their initial phone screen, which Crick said allows the recruiting team to quickly identify those who are most likely to succeed and move them to the next step of the hiring process. Not only does this expedite the time to hire, but it also helps ensure candidates will fit the company’s pace and culture.
The results speak for themselves: Acorn Growth Companies’ core team has grown 85% with zero turnover in the last two years; has filled executive positions at companies within its portfolio—including CEOs, Presidents, CFOs, and HR directors; and has been able to correlate those executive-level hires to business results and improved employee morale.
“I attribute these successes to The Predictive Index assessments that helped identify strong leadership potential,” said Crick. Beyond streamlining and taking the guesswork out of the hiring process with repeat success, PI has also helped Acorn build its reputation and credibility. “By using The Predictive Index and establishing a solid process, I’ve gained tremendous respect from the various companies within our portfolio.”
Acorn Growth Companies’ focus and consistency using PI for recruiting and team development have led to business growth and employee engagement. By using talent optimization to align people strategy with business strategy, Acorn has unlocked its potential and avoided roadblocks on their way to continued success.