Attracting Top Talent #9: Three Ways to Avoiding Break-ups In The Workplace

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In my last article, I introduced you to Julie Nimmons, President of EXO Living. In response to my article, she sent this paper she wrote for the St. Louis edition of Smart Business Magazine. Here’s Julie …

Many years ago, Neil Sedaka famously introduced the song, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Obviously, the song is about personal relationships, yet when a new hire has to be dismissed, breakin’ up is hard to do.

No one hires a new team member nor does someone take a new job with failure as the goal. In terms of real world situations, according to a report by PR News in 2012, 46 percent of new hires fail in the first eighteen months. When CareerBuilder researched the cost of a bad hire in 2012, 41 percent of companies reporting a bad hire cited costs to the organization in excess of $25,000 and 24 percent gave more than $50,000 as the cost. These are substantial monetary costs, not to mention the cost in ways not so measurable, i.e. loss of credibility of the individual responsible for the hire, negative employee morale, loss of customer/client support, lost productivity…just to name a few. Why does this happen, and what can be done to significantly lessen a negative outcome? Let’s break this down to three stages that can help avert a bad hire.

Review criteria for the position. This takes time, and most often, urgency to fill a position is cited as the primary reason a new hire fails. No surprise with this reason. It is hard to recall any decision made under the strain of urgency to be a good decision. Urgent is the enemy of important. Under an urgent condition, very seldom has a review of the job requirements been accomplished, much less a distinction between technical requirements as well as attitudinal requirements. When these are not done, the likelihood of the interview process being done well is improbable. If the individual responsible for the hiring process does not have a complete understanding of what this new hire is responsible to accomplish, as well as the ability to communicate corporate culture attitudes relative to this position, the interview process will operate under less than ideal circumstances. Taking time for a complete review of the position and establishing skills and attributes necessary for a successful hire is imperative for the interview stage to be done well.

Create a brand ambassador. The first day a new hire enters the work place offers a unique opportunity for him/her to become an on-fire brand ambassador. While getting all the proper documentation for employment is absolutely necessary, it doesn’t need to take place in the first hour of setting foot in the office. Imagine how it would feel to walk into a new office with signage ready to go, branded golf shirt/pen/mug on the desk, business cards already done, as well as a “Welcome” balloon or something that is just plain fun for the new hire. Additionally, if there is a spouse or significant other, if that individual receives a note and a little “Welcome to the Team” gift, you will probably have another on-fire brand ambassador. The on-boarding process is too often relegated to filling out forms, introductions, and hand-shakes. What a wasted opportunity to tell a new hire how he/she is a valued member of the team.

Establish goals and objectives. Of course, the reason someone is hired is to perform certain tasks, achieve goals, and to contribute to the success of an organization. When CareerBuilder asked about the definition of a bad hire, 67 percent of the responses reported that the quality of the work was “lackluster.” This tremendously high percentage begs further questions concerning the process for establishing expectations and goals. If expectations and goals are not discussed, agreement cannot be reached. Unless they are written down, along with identifying dates by which they are to be accomplished, too often the parties involved ASSUME everyone is on the same page. Regrettably, the one word, assume, turns into three words—and no one is happy. Have the discussion, write down the goals and objectives using SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) and monitor the progress.

While there are no guarantees, take the time to review the job criteria, create a brand ambassador from the first day on the job, establish SMART goals and objectives from the beginning, and BEAT the 46 percent.


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