When you realize you have hired the wrong person, you will most likely put quite some time and effort into reassigning that person or educating them in a way so that they become a valuable team member. Nobody wants to start the sourcing process all over again and find a replacement candidate as soon as possible, and hence the tendency is to try to “save” this bad hire and turn them into a good hire. However, have you thought about the impacts that a bad hire has on the rest of your employees? Because actually, they might be costing you great employees!
Work morale goes down the drain
When you are trying to deal with the bad hire and improve their attitude and performance, other members of the team might get dissatisfied or disengaged because most time and attention goes to the bad hire. In addition, bad hires might not get along with the rest of the employees, thereby influencing the teamwork morale even more. Since disengaged team members are more likely to leave, the bad hire might be costing you other good employees.
Few things are as contagious as a negative attitude. And the worst part? It spreads quickly! Hence, a bad hire with a negative attitude or who is complaining a lot, will almost always infect more people of the team causing them to be unhappy as well. Therefore, employees that beforehand were perfectly happy in their jobs, might suddenly not be so happy anymore and decide to leave.
Since the bad hire doesn´t perform well, this impacts the team performance in various ways. On the one hand, there is the lack of good output that might need to be covered up by the rest of the team. On the other hand, you as a manager will have to dedicate more time to performance reviews, training and guidance, thereby also taking you away from the rest of your job. Most high performing employees prefer to work in a productive, efficient team and therefore they usually suffer significantly from this situation.
Either directly or indirectly, a bad hire can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Whether it is providing bad customer service or delivering weak products/services, a bad hire can drive customers away. And every business owner knows that usually winning new customers is much more difficult than retaining existing customers. This will definitely impact your current employees as well because they either have to work twice as hard to make up for the damage caused by the bad hire or because they need to sign on more new customers. In any case, unhappy customers will damage your reputation and your brand, which might cause strong employees to leave because they don´t want to work for a weak brand or because they are simply done cleaning up other people´s messes.
Even if you are trying your very best to convert the bad hire in a good hire through training, mentoring and lots of performance reviews, chances are that it doesn´t work out. That despite your best efforts you will have to get rid of the bad hire and hire a new team member. This obviously directly impacts your turnover. However, because of the influence this has on other team members, your turnover might be impacted even more if other employees, that are fed up with the new situation, decide to leave as well. This is somewhat of a vicious circle because with more good employees leaving, the negative situation often only gets worse thereby making more employees doubt whether they should go as well.
Therefore, instead of trying to save the hire and putting a lot of time, money and effort into training, extra guidance and reviews, there is only one way to avoid all the above pitfalls that might cost you great employees. When you realize you have a bad hire, they should go relatively quickly. Don´t keep on trying and trying to save yourself from the conclusion that it was a bad hire and that you need to start over with the search because the long-term impacts for your business will be much worse due to the negative spillover to your current employees.
In your experience, in what other ways do bad hires cost you great employees? We would love to read your input in the comments section!