What to do when your new hire isn't working out

It’s unfortunate when a new hire just doesn’t seem to be working out, but it does happen.

It's unfortunate when a new hire just doesn't seem to be working out, but it does happen. Before you have a difficult conversation with an underperforming hire, consider a few different ways to approach the conversation.

Identifying when an employee isn't performing up to par

The hiring process is a complex challenge that aims to find the best candidate within a given pool of talent. So many factors are at play in any search that it is inevitable that, in some cases, someone will seem like the ideal person for the job during the interview stage but will fail to perform on the job.

Such situations are stressful for not only the employee who may be worried about starting the job hunt all over again, but also hiring managers who are worried they made the wrong decision. If you're in this position, the first thing to do is to step back from the situation and determine if you can help the employee improve, or if it's time to say goodbye.

The cost of turnover can be quite high. Research from MIT revealed that hiring and training an employee to a point of value can be 1.25 to 1.4 times the annual salary of that position. Therefore, it's important to consider your options carefully before letting the employee go. At the end of the day, you'll need to determine if it makes more sense to keep training the employee or start the hiring process again.

If you're unsure, consider employee attitudes. Will they be willing to accept that the work they've done isn't up to par? Will they be open to suggestions for improvement? If the employee in question has a bad attitude, it can quickly sour the situation. The Chicago Tribune noted that the first 90 days of employment should be enough time to determine the employee's strengths and weaknesses. The question becomes, do your perceptions of their weaknesses line up with their view of their performance? If you're not on the same page, it may be difficult to move forward.

Likewise, it's important to note employee attitudes toward the job. It's normal for new hires to lose some of their initial enthusiasm within the first 90 days; you can't ride the high of new employment forever, after all. However, if you notice that an employee often speaks in negative tones about the job, their co-workers or their assignments, it could be a sign of trouble.

When a new hire isn't working out, the frustration is felt on both sides of the equation.

Resolving employee performance issues

There's no one way to deal with poor performance by new hires; you'll need to identify exactly why they don't seem to be working out, and then tackle the problem appropriately. For instance, if employees just don't seem to be learning from on-the-job training, it may help to sit down with them for a one-on-one to discuss the problems you've noticed. If they're open to working on those issues, it probably makes sense to tailor training sessions to each employee's needs.

On the other hand, if employees aren't performing well because of a negative attitude, try to assess the root cause of the problem. Are they not used to working in an office environment? Are they dealing with personal issues? Are they overwhelmed by their new responsibilities? Sometimes a sympathetic ear and earnest conversation are enough to turn things around. Other times, the issue may not be solvable, at which point it's time to make the hard decision of letting the employee go before his or her probation period is over.

Considering contingent staffing

One way to circumvent the problems mentioned above is to utilize contingent staffing services. Doing so allows you to see what employees can do on the job before committing to a long-term employment contract. According to the experts at Staffing Industry Analysts, 80 percent of human resources executives foresee greater use of contingent staffing in the coming years.

To learn more about how to find the perfect candidate for your next open position, contact us today.

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