The saying, “Bad apples poison the whole barrel,” is old but still rings true today. I have personally experienced a bad hire above me that resulted in most of the good employees quitting, and I have witnessed it countless times in companies I’ve consulted with through the years. Not only does this destroy morale, but it is costly! I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about, and we are all left wondering “how in THE world did they get that job?”
Well, this is what happens when companies think the hiring process isn’t a big deal and drops it on the laps of overworked managers without any professional assistance. It is also the result of Presidents and CEO’s getting involved where they shouldn’t…vetoing all the work, screening, interviewing and hiring process of their HR team to hire a friend or cousin.
What makes a bad hire worse is thinking things will get better. I personally believe egos get involved, and no one wants to admit “Hey, I made a hiring mistake,” which everyone has done at least once in their career. Instead of pulling the trigger quickly before the damage is done, they let the bad apple ruin the whole barrel. As good people flee the company, the bad hire remains doing more harm until, eventually, someone has the guts to address it. By then, it is much more difficult to address and definitely more expensive.
I’m not advocating being trigger happy, but I am saying that if a new hire is already demonstrating a subpar performance, the likelihood of them improving is slim. You certainly need to take into account learning curve and potential new skills required for the position, but attitude and how they conduct themselves with other members of the team is revealed rather quickly.
Sometimes a good employee turns sour. They begin bad mouthing the company and spreading rumors about co-workers, contaminating anyone they come in contact with. Negativity is contagious! In these cases, good leaders seek to understand and get to the root of the issue. Is it them or something that has happened to them? Are they adverse to change or is something going on at home? If they have been a solid worker in the past, they are worth the time to investigate and then deal with accordingly. Everyone needs an attitude adjustment now and then.
Turnover is just a number on a spreadsheet unless you look beneath the surface to determine the cause. Being honest and willing to admit mis-hires will protect your top talent and ensure they remain. Looking to turn around an employee who has gotten off track? I have a superb track record with PIPs. I haven’t lost one yet…as long as they are willing to receive coaching. Give me a call today!