The cost of a bad hire

Features - Hiring

It pays to make sure your ‘A’ players aren’t being brought down by bad employees.

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October 4, 2019

© mikolajn | iStockphoto

We need to do a better job on the front end by making sure we get it right the first time when hiring new team members.

Our good employees can get burnt out when they keep picking up the slack. At one point, we had an account manager not carrying her weight. Our vice president of sales had to keep rescuing her accounts until he finally became too frustrated. He was doing two jobs, and we almost lost one of our “A Players.”

It was then that it dawned on our leadership team to part ways with the account manager, as it was better for team morale to cut the losses instead of having that employees’ poor attitude spread through to others on the team. While the financial impact can be anywhere from 30-40 percent of the employees’ first year earnings, the actual bad hire’s morale and productivity may have an even larger effect compared to the monetary loss.

Better people decisions.

Every single company and department within the company is designed to get results. To create different results, the company executives are going to have to change the team dynamic. Do you have the right people on the team to take you to the next level? Take the guesswork out of talent searching to increase the top and bottom line with the best people.

Do you know your strengths, weaknesses and talents so that you can get the most out of yourself and your employees?

To do this, we need to understand the inner workings of the human mind.

  1. Who: Their personality traits, strengths and weaknesses.
  2. What: Do they have what it takes to do what is needed and the experience to perform properly? If they don’t have enough experience, can they be trained?
  3. KPI: everyone should be assigned a number. As Gino Wickman says in his book Traction, “what gets measured gets done.” With a completed scorecard, you can track high-level numbers down to a single person.

If you have all three, you have a successful hire. For more strategic hiring and getting the right people on the bus from the beginning, every person that you add to your team should stack the deck in your favor. Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Can they do the work? Do they have the heart or experience to do what we are asking? Do they need the experience, or can they be trained?
  2. Do they want to do the work? Are they willing to do the job you are asking of them, and would they be happy to live where your company is located and be in the industry?
  3. Are they actually hardwired to do the kind of work that you want them to do? We all have a natural hardwire that is set in stone by the age of about 12 years old. Some may have to stretch in their job, but if we keep placing people in jobs that they are not naturally hardwired to do, how long will it take before they fail? If we have proper alignment, we increase the probability of success in the workplace. With, “I can do the work, I want to do the work and I am naturally hardwired to do the work,” the potential for success goes up drastically.

Some people wake up every day being a natural gas pedal. They are thinking, “how do we make this bigger, better, stronger and faster?” Some are a natural brake pedal, and I mean this in a positive way. The gas pedal says, “Let’s push, let’s go!” while the brake pedal says, “Hold on, let’s make sure we are doing this right and that it is scalable so that when top line revenue is growing, EBITA is not shrinking. Let’s make sure we are not going broke as we grow.” Others wake up every day as people-glue. They are about building relationships externally with your clients and internally with your team.

If you lack that, you are going to have turn over in both departments. For instance, if an error is made and you don’t have a relationship with the clients, you may lose them to your competitors. On the other hand, if you have established a relationship, then you can spend some relational equity and assure them that the oversight would be fixed and you would make sure to get it right next time. All this is possible only when you have the glue to make them stick with you.

If you can’t draft the right members to your team, you will not win one game. It is not just about individual talent, it is about team talent. Great coaches are always looking at both team and individual talent. You could have Brett Favre as a defensive lineman and Reggie White as quarterback and you still wouldn’t be winning many games. Do you we have the right team, designed the right way, to get you to the finish line?

Moscarino is CEO of Moscarino Landscape + Design and executive advisor with Culture Index.