THE REAL COST OF A BAD HIRE

by Amy Williams

We’re in business because hiring is hard. It’s time-consuming, labor-intensive, and requires more schedule coordination than the average human would care to undertake. Beyond logistics, it forces businesses to ask big questions about who they are, where they are going, and how they value their employees in tangible and intangible ways.

Beyond logistics, it forces businesses to ask big questions about who they are, where they are going, and how they value their employees in tangible and intangible ways.

Too often, organizations go one of two ways in the hiring labyrinth: they either fritz out with indecision and keep positions open, squeezing the limited capacity of their existing team because they can’t make a choice, OR they hire quickly as a knee-jerk reaction to leave the discomfort of the hiring process and fill an organizational gap with anyone living, breathing, and capable of creating a spreadsheet.

Sometimes this works, but more often than not, it’s costly, financially and relationally.

Financial

One of the first places we see bad hires cost businesses is obvious, the bottom line. From the get go, individuals can start draining resources across the organization.

If an individual is hired for a position where they lack professional competency, they require extra training that pulls internal resources away from client-facing interactions and efforts. This extends the timeline in which a new hire can add value and drains the efforts of an otherwise effective manager or well-functioning team.

If an individual is hired for a position where they lack professional competency, they require extra training that pulls internal resources away from client-facing interactions and efforts.

In a worst-case scenario, a bad hire who lacks character can siphon financial resources from something as small as a fudged expense report to something as large as embezzlement or theft. On a smaller scale, he/she may simply not buy into the company mission and have low performance, lost revenue from failed client relationships, or chronic absenteeism.

Regardless, bad hires cost businesses money. The costs multiply even after the bad hire leaves, when an organization needs to rededicate resources to the recruitment, hiring, and training of someone new.

Relational

Any business is only as strong as the team dynamic they create. While this is often seen as optional or aspirational, we know that culture is the critical substrate that makes or breaks great businesses. Bad hires are parasitic to the unity of a cohesive team. Sometimes these kinds of individuals are obvious from Day One, other times the red flags they throw are more subtle, regardless, their overall effect is equally destructive:

  • Turnover: Constant churn erodes the stability and confidence of a team. While it is always better to get rid of a bad hire, the wear this puts on a team from increased workloads or managerial distrust is costly.
    Productivity: Organizations are limited by their weakest link or slowest member. Natural differences will of course exist, but if there is a consistent under performer, this will be felt across the business as they fail to carry their weight or demand extra attention and care from higher performers.
  • Morale: Most often we see the cost of a bad hire in the drain they create on overall morale. One critical person who feels entitled, jilted, or is just wildly negative has a contagious effect on a team. This spread consumes energy, reduces team effectiveness, and requires the attention of managers to correct misperceptions and do damage control.
  • Management Burnout: Managers and team leaders carry the responsibility of hiring and firing. At the end of any hiring process, they have a vested interest in seeing a new hire succeed and are incentivized to not repeat a lengthy search process. If a bad hire sticks around, he/she requires more attention and management because of a need to constantly realign vision, correct bad work, or double back with team members or clients to compensate for this individual’s inadequacies.

This past year has been strange, but one thing it has created is a talented pool of available candidates who, in normal circumstances, would not be looking for work. With the right perspective and the right hiring partner, this kind of talent surplus can insulate businesses from the costly danger of a bad hire.

This past year has been strange, but one thing it has created is a talented pool of available candidates who, in normal circumstances, would not be looking for work.

At Core Ventures, we prioritize more than just putting a person in a seat. Our staffing consultants and leadership team truly partner with businesses to create a comprehensive scope of an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, needs, and future direction so we can target and attract the right kind of candidates. We assess talent beyond their resumes, but also look for what they bring in cultural alignment and character fit.

Are you worried about making a bad hire? Reach out to discuss how we can partner with you and take the headache out of hiring.