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Insidious Impacts of an Employee Mis-Hire

The world’s innovators are calling for reinvention and transformation of human resources (HR) departments. Given that the majority of hiring responsibilities fall within HR and it is in most cases the entry into companies, reinventing HR must start with transforming the way leaders think about and behave when hiring.

Many innovative leaders and early adopters are already operating highly effective, conscious hiring programs out of pure necessity. While some may advocate for the complete destruction of HR departments, a better solution may be the complete destruction of old, outdated, unconscious, and ineffective hiring techniques. Frankly, while people and businesses have remained virtually unchanged, human beings’ perspectives, outlooks, and attitudes about work, and abilities to manifest what they want has spurred a fundamental shift in the way people operate in and around business and work today. With a plethora of newly created job options coupled with a major changing of the guard in the workforce, smart companies must equip themselves to navigate through these new employee/workplace paradigms.

CEOs, business leaders, and managers are acutely aware of the fiscal costs of a mis-hire, but there are some invisible and potentially insidious costs that can wreak havoc on your organization. Although it might not be top of mind, when you hire a person who does not fit with your organizational culture and/or operating philosophy, the impacts are pervasive throughout your organization. One crew member who doesn’t get your company’s culture can affect the cohesiveness of the entire team. By continuing to operate with outdated hiring practices, you can become susceptible to four specific hidden consequences of a mis-hire: fragmented customer service, reduction in innovation, workforce productivity, and time and energy losses.

Fragmented Customer Service

Ensuring your team understands your product and service set and why customers use them is where excellent service begins. You can and ought to bridge the knowledge gap for new hires with comprehensive product and service training; however, you cannot train your workers to care about the customer. Behavioral and performance research shows that great service is delivered through a fundamental set of values, attitudes, and beliefs that are in alignment with a service philosophy. In the coatings world, this may mean that each team member needs to understand and believe in the benefit that your company can offer the client. When people are in a role in customer service for the wrong reasons, no training in the world will compensate for their lack of connection to the work itself.

This is a common experience. Think about when you expect a certain level of service from a place you spend your money and receive a lower level of service. This leads to feeling disengaged, dissatisfied, and maybe even angry. When you hire a person whose heart is not aligned with your mission and your service offerings, or they lack the basic service acumen to execute your customer service objectives, this same level of dissatisfaction is what your customers experience.

Reduction in Innovation

Companies arrive at a sustainable business model through innovation, creativity, and a keen awareness of how to bridge a gap in the market place. Once the product set is stable and customers are buying, continual improvement and innovation is required to stay ahead of the copycat curve. When some of your people cannot seem to get it together, miss basic deadlines, or fail to find problems until your customers do, innovation is not even an option.

When an employee is hired because his or her résumé lists the right keywords yet the person behind the résumé lacks conceptual thinking ability and theoretical problem solving, the employee lacks the access within to come up with creative and inventive solutions. Often this lack of ability shows up as excuses, finger pointing, and roadblocks outside their control. It is important to be aware that a person who lacks these traits is unaware that they are lacking. And, unfortunately, most often these traits and competencies are very difficult to teach. If time is not on your side, hire people who already have these innovator competencies, behaviors, and values for roles that require innovation.

Workforce Productivity

When you hire in a hurry, you experience unwanted turnover. If you are lucky the turnover happens fast, yet in most cases it is months before a problem surfaces and the impact of the wrong person doing the job incorrectly has already disseminated throughout the team, if not the department. In high-level roles, specifically for senior leadership such as project managers, the impact is detrimental not only in the immediate area of influence; it permeates throughout the organization. With job proposals, for example, if you have two to three people continually not achieving quotas and approaching the position with a poor attitude, it poisons the well for those who are producing and aligned with the position requirements and level of activity required for success.

Tolerating people who are not engaged and thriving waters it down for those who want to succeed. When any of these morale and engagement busters are happening within your culture, good people either leave or move into autopilot until they can leave. The indirect and costly impacts are higher staffing costs to make up for the lack of employee and team productivity, institutional knowledge loss when good, trained people leave, and increased training costs to continually retrain new blood coming into the organization.

Time and Energy Losses for the Team and Leadership

We have all heard the old adage that 80 percent of our time is spent with the bottom 20 percent of performers. As it happens, this statement may be closer to 30 percent of the underperformers.

As the competition for talent increases and the fear of the empty position blocks your good senses, you can feel pressured to fill the job with the first decent person who surfaces with a cogent résumé. Hiring the wrong people because you are “in a rush” to get a guy behind a spray gun leads to more empty positions or worse — full but not successful crews.

One of the hidden costs of unwanted turnover as reported in recent employee and manager engagement surveys is that 70 percent of managers surveyed reported that they are coping with burnout and a job misery rating that is detrimental to their overall happiness. When the workplace culture turns into one of micromanagement, correction, and reprimand rather than collaboration, creation, and mentoring, the manager’s job becomes one of the parent and babysitter.

Common Sense

Often we see managers and leaders looking to HR to fix people and situations that could have been avoided by demonstrating more consciousness and awareness before, during, and after hiring. It seems like in many companies an admission of making a poor hire is a far worse offense than allowing and tolerating a subpar performance. Furthermore, the cost of doing nothing about a bad hire far outweighs the cost of being proactive and creating high-impact hiring solutions.

When you think about it in terms of bottom-line profitability and overall success, shifting your philosophy about people and hiring consciously just makes common sense.

About The Author:

Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of Conscious Hiring and Development, a speaker, employee recruitmentand engagement expert, and author of The Wealth of Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Graziano provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than 20 years’ experience as a top producer in the recruitment and search industry, Graziano empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the day-to-day operation. For more information, contact: Magi Graziano,

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