HR · 11 July 2019

How to deal with bad hires: Lessons from a high flying operations director

Don't let the stress of the job get to you

Rising up through the ranks of a business is a great feeling. But, as many of us know, with great roles comes even greater responsibility. You guessed it – part of the deal is hiring and firing people.

As a hiring manager, you’re expected to know if a candidate is the right person for a job after little more than a twenty-minute chat. The pressure to make the right hiring decision is enormous.

So, what happens when a successful candidate is no longer the right fit weeks after starting the job? Furthermore, what long-term strategies can teams implement to ensure employees succeed in their roles and remain motivated?

Lyndsay Morgan, Operations Director at leading digital marketing agency, Climb Online is here to tell us how to do it. She takes time out from her busy day at business leadership mega-event, Climbcon (with Lord Sugar and Piers Morgan in tow), to give us a ‘no-frills’ low-down on cracking the bad hire issue.

Business Advice, (BA): Just how costly is it for a business to remove a bad hire?

Lyndsay Morgan, (pictured), is Operations Director at digital marketing firm, Climb Online.

Lyndsay Morgan, (LM): Bringing the wrong person into your business is costly. But are you aware of just how costly it is? To help people understand I use this fictitious case study:

This is Sam Jones, he has just come into the business, and he’s on between £35-40k. So, it turns out that Sam is not a great hire after all. But how much will he cost the company?

– The answer is £132,000. These statistics are taken from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, and they are shocking, aren’t they?

BA: Can you break down what these costs are?

Have you wasted money on upskilling poor hires?

LM: A hiring mistake might start at the point of recruitment but as these statistics show, the repercussions can be felt right through the company, and to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Sam Jones is an example of a mid-level employee, these candidates are better skilled than entry-level candidates and are consequently harder to find.

This means that productivity takes a deeper nosedive when they underperform because this kind of employee tends to have more responsibility in their new role.

They also receive more high-level training than entry-level employees. So, you have to think about the wasted hours that have been put in by other staff to train them, including the additional costs of programmes that might have been purchased.

BA: What’s your hiring policy at Climb Online?

LM: Finding the right person to fill a role can be difficult. At Climb Online, we make sure to look for people who are the right fit for our culture first. There’s no point hiring someone who has a great skill set but can’t fit in comfortably with the wider team.

BA: What advice can you give to managers who are dealing with bad hires right now?

Does your business have a solid onboarding programme?

LM: Firstly, you need to make sure that your business has a full onboarding programme in place. Doing so means that you can measure a new hire against this process, and identify pretty quickly if someone is improving or not.

You also shouldn’t ever fire people straight away. Having a proper onboarding programme in place also means you can give them space to improve over time.

The important thing is to invest in that person and train them by giving them an opportunity to prove themselves during those crucial first weeks.

What I would ask managers to remember is that it’s not the hired person’s fault if they’re not a good fit. Remember that you’re the one who brought them into the business in the first place. So the responsibility of dealing with it rests firmly with you.

BA: How do you ensure your staff stays motivated and productive at Climb Online?

Successful employee development
Are you asking your staff motivational questions?

LM: We’ve really worked hard on this one! The key things we’ve worked on in our business are our values. For us, these are service, honesty, integrity, and teamwork.

Our values are implemented in our leadership roadmap. We have a progression framework. We ask our team, ‘what motivates you?’

We encourage our staff to avoid rules and take risks and be as creative as they can be. When making key business decisions it’s important to motivate staff and make them feel involved in the process. Ask for their thoughts on a certain situation, including what they would do if they had a say.

I also tell people, ‘don’t bring me problems bring me solutions!’ – If that isn’t a good staff motivator, I don’t know what is!

Last year, we won the Entrepreneurs Team of the Year awards at the Great British Entrepreneurs Awards, which was based on having a great team culture. Winning that accolade is a testament to how we onboard and motivate people effectively in our business. – I really believe that.

BA: Can you sum up what managers should do next time they’re dealing with a bad hire?

LM: Next time you’re facing a bad hiring situation, instead of stressing and complaining or even blaming the employee, look into your organisation, and at the processes in place, do you need some new ones?

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Annie May is the Features Editor at Real Business and Business Advice. Following her graduation from LSE, she embarked upon a freelance career in current affairs journalism. Annie has written on subjects varying from African history and contemporary politics to community business and current affairs news in London. At Real Business and Business Advice, Annie is passionate about highlighting inclusive and diverse business disruptors and organisations for our evolving readership. Annie believes in fostering community inclusion and has volunteered for organisations such as Fairfield House, a UK based Rastafari centre and a senior citizen association for ethnic minority men and women.

Franchising