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By the KMA Team
A row of apples, one of which is rotten.
Ultimately, a company is its people, and having the right people in place is critical for the growth and success of any business. That’s why it’s so crucial to avoid the negative consequences of making a bad hire. The impacts extend far beyond the financials, and can affect productivity, culture and morale. In this article, we will examine all the ways a bad hire can damage an organization, including productivity loss, missed opportunities, unhappy customers, and even reputational damage. We’ll also offer some advice on how you can avoid making this all too common and costly mistake.

Financial Impacts

According to research conducted by Career Builder, the average cost of making a bad hire is $17,000, but this number can reach much higher – potentially into the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the level of the role – when factoring in recruitment, onboarding and training, salary, benefits, severance packages, and all the costs associated with rehiring.

Loss of Productivity

An underperforming employee is one who produces sub-par work, doesn’t possess the skills indicated on their resume, doesn’t work well with others, is a poor communicator, has attendance problems, struggles to meet deadlines, and/or creates disruptions in project workflows. Any of these issues not only affects the individual’s output, but also the productivity of their co-workers, who may need to back fill the work, fix mistakes, and appease dissatisfied parties – internal or external. The cumulative effect can seriously diminish team performance and efficiency.

Deterioration of Morale and Company Culture

Equally significant are the effects of a bad hire on overall morale and company culture. If the hiring process itself is perceived as broken or unfair, this can further deteriorate morale and lead to a less engaged and loyal workforce. Underperformers can weaken team dynamics, erode trust, and breed resentment and stress among team members who are burdened to pick up the slack created by the incompetence of their co-worker. The best organizations work hard to nurture a positive culture; the toxic attitude and poor performance of one employee can evaporate all those efforts.

Recruiting the Right Person

Working with a professional recruiting team can significantly enhance the quality of candidates, and ultimately the hire, because they have access to a vast network of talent for sourcing. Recruiters add value through their expertise with interviewing and assessing candidates; advanced screening tools; techniques for evaluating aptitude, potential and cultural fit; a focus on creating a positive candidate experience; as well as insights into specific industries and overall market trends.

Johnna Major, KMA Recruiting Consultant, notes the importance of doing a thorough download call with the hiring manager and key team members in advance of the recruiting process. “It’s important to get clarity on the specific job responsibilities and the key skills and attributes required for success in the role – and in the company, and if applicable, to gain an understanding of why the last person in the role didn’t work out.”

In addition, professional recruiters can streamline the hiring process, prevent bottlenecks in communications and next steps, and keep candidates moving efficiently and swiftly through each stage of the progression. Particularly in a challenging labor market, this gives organizations a better chance to identify – and appeal to – top candidates early on, and avoid missing out on a great hire.

While the financial implications of making a bad hire are real, the true costs extend far beyond the spreadsheet. From lost productivity to damaged culture and morale, the impacts can be dire. By implementing a robust hiring practice and investing in the expertise of professional recruiters like KMA, employers can confidently build a workforce that is set up for success from the start.

Reach out to the pros at KMA to discuss recruiting your next top performer.