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How Your Next Bad Hire Might Infect Your Company

Posted by Glenn Burr on August 4, 2015

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A bad hire’s influence can spread like a virus through your company, turning what should be a happy work environment into a decaying, ill-functioning mess of its former self. And as the virus ails the culture bit by bit, the virus spreads beyond your walls and starts to infect happy customers. (Ever see 28 Days Later?)

For a Small Giant where culture is everything, the deterioration of morale hits exponentially as hard. And when morale goes down…

Bad Hires Hurt Pocketbooks

Bringing the wrong person in isn’t just about the environment they impact. It directly affects the bottom line. And it doesn’t do it just once.

A bad hire requires more money to train a replacement, to fix customer relationships, and even to train the replacements of the good people who left because of the negative impact on the team. Like a lingering cough, a bad hire can hurt your pocketbook long after they actually leave the building. ROI goes from being Return on Investment to Return of Infection. Just how much can that cost?

Research shows that a bad hire can cost 1.5x their salary if they stay for more than six months.

That means that even the most junior staffer could end up costing you $100k if they’re a bad fit without even accounting for the collateral financial damage they wrought.

Time + Stress = Managing Misery

But the impact is more than financial. For leaders and managers, a bad hire compounds the stress of a normal workload. Supervisors find themselves micromanaging the employee while also tending to their other responsibilities, which depletes energy and consumes time. Before long, the manager isn’t fully engaged in anything and is less available to give high-performing staff the support they need.

The result is managing misery.

How Does It Happen?

Any company can make a bad hiring decision, but there are common mistakes that can quickly lead to bringing the wrong person on board. Here are a few practices to watch out for:

  • Hiring fast. Hire slow, fire fast. Even when you need to replace a key position quickly, making the wrong choice quickly can be costlier than making the right choice more slowly.
  • Focusing on skills over fit. You can teach skills to the right person, but you’ll never be able to fit the wrong person to the company.
  • Neglecting to explain how performance is measured. Few things can disillusion an employee quicker than working without knowing how contributions are evaluated. Even worse is working with one set of measures in mind only to learn that you’re using a completely different set of standards. Be clear during hiring about what success means for the position.
  • Not adhering to trial period. Every hire should come in under a trial period. Conduct a 30-day review, and if it’s clear that there isn’t a good fit, you can dissolve the relationship much more quickly and easily.

Next Steps

Create a great company culture

Topics: Hiring

About Glenn Burr

Glenn is First Officer of Mojo for the Small Giants Community and oversees program development, editorial, member management, social media and strategic planning. Currently residing in Dallas, Glenn enjoys doing whatever he can to make his part of the world a better place, matching wits with his rescue mutt (Romeo), writing, rugby and dabbling in the tuba

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