Making the right hire can sometimes seem much easier said than done. But there are few things that can have a greater effect for good or bad on your business than the people you bring on board. The right hire helps pave the path to success — but the wrong hire can lead to detrimental consequences for your company.
Sound a bit dramatic? Maybe, but this is a truth I’ve seen illustrated time and time again, especially when it comes to sales hiring. Just recently, I had a client come to me that was in quite the conundrum. Their problem? They’d hired two of the wrong enterprise salespeople for their company and in less than a year it cost their business $3 million! Yes, you heard that right.
After taking a deeper dive into the numbers, I’ve found that this huge loss isn’t an outlier, either. HR Daily Advisor has previously reported that hiring the wrong salesperson can cost your business $2.1 million in a single year — so in reality, the losses my client had experienced may have actually been on the low side.
I hope these numbers demonstrate how important it is to make the right hire, the FIRST time. Because while the losses incurred by a bad hire aren’t always immediately obvious, they can have a big impact in several vital areas of your business.
The Hiring Process
I can’t emphasize this point enough. Taking the time to truly understand what you’re looking for, why, and how you’ll go about getting your hands on the right person is non-negotiable in my book. Do you really know what you’re looking for? How will you support this person? What is your EVP (employee value proposition)? What does the true opportunity look like for someone looking from the outside in? How will you approach the recruiting process? Who is involved? What kind of candidate experience will you be creating? What is your vetting process? Are you equipped to support an effective line of communication for all parties involved? And the list goes on…
Ladies and gentleman, if you can’t articulate a clear process for the task at hand, you’re off to a bad start I’m afraid.
More importantly, if you need help and turning to an external solution, make sure said solution is able to demonstrate their ability to genuinely serve your business well. They must have a methodology that isn’t just “fluff”, expertise, integrity, along with the ability and desire to represent your company well to truly deliver results.
The Cost of Onboarding
There’s no denying that onboarding a new employee can be a costly and time-consuming process — and indeed, this is where much of the losses your business can experience from a bad hire take place.
Just take a moment to consider the expenses that go into bringing a new hire into your company. There’s the cost of the initial recruitment process. The salary that goes into those initial months (or years) of their time at your company. The cost of training. Benefits. The list goes on.
All these things add up quickly. In fact, some estimates peg the cost of onboarding a new employee at nearly $60,000 — and that’s without considering training costs or the gap in sales targets and actual performance, which can vary widely from company to company.
The stakes are even higher if you’re a startup. The expenses of needing to frequently onboard new team members after bad hires don’t work out can quickly put you into serious financial trouble.
Bad Workers Are Contagious
It starts with their impact on employee morale. Colleagues who are excessively negative, pessimistic, and refuse to collaborate can put a big damper on the workplace. They might disrespect the ideas of their fellow employees, badmouth the management or simply disrupt the workflow.
It doesn’t matter how great the rest of your company culture may be. When a lousy worker spreads their influence in the office, you could soon find even your best employees becoming disengaged, work quality deteriorating or heading for the door.
Productivity can especially take a dive when a bad hire is allowed to take root among your sales team. As morale decreases and employees become less engaged with their work and customers, they’re far less likely to reach sales goals, maintain positive relationships with clients or perform other key tasks that are essential for your business to turn a profit. Is that really the kind of message you want to portray internally and externally?
The longer you let the wrong person remain in your company, the worse of an effect they’ll have on your team’s morale and productivity. If you aren’t willing to respond quickly and proactively to correct the problem, you could soon find yourself with an entire department full of unhappy, unproductive workers. I can’t think of anything else that spells “Doom” for your business quite like that.
The productivity conundrum doesn’t just impact your sales team, either. While sales productivity will naturally take a dive when a bad hire decreases team morale and engagement, one study found that supervisors spend 17% of their work week trying to manage poor employees or make up for their deficiencies.
That’s nearly a full day out of your work week that you could otherwise spend developing new strategies or campaigns, working with clients or taking care of other important tasks.
In the end, it’s not just your team’s productivity and morale that will be hurting — it will be yours, too. Let alone what your online reviews will start saying…
Making a Change
Naturally, you don’t want to find yourself stuck with a bad hire who ruins the output of your sales team. So, what can you do to dodge this hiring bullet?
It starts by understanding how the recruiting process is supposed to work. During my years in the sales recruiting world, I’ve seen many businesses that don’t understand how important hiring the right people the first time can be.
Oftentimes, they’re willing to just plug in anyone who seems like they’ll fit in a particular gap, with little regard for company culture, setting realistic goals, or understanding who will truly bring value to their business because they are scaling fast or need that hire “yesterday”. As a result, they make bad hires through hasty decisions, and their business experiences long-term pain.
On the flip side, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with incredible people like Zac Lowder of Inspire, who came to Avenue Talent Partners because he understood that sales recruiting is a people-centric process — one that requires much more than simply shoving bodies through the door for interviews and hiring the first one that “sticks”.
In reality, you need to look for the sales leaders and performers who mesh well with the “fabric” of your company. These are people who are driven to succeed, have the results to back it up, and are passionate about your business to provide lasting value. As someone that has spent a ton of time in the sales and recruiting world, I’m proud of the remarkable experiences created where taking the time to truly dig deep into a company’s needs and culture (while using an in-depth process infused with service, insights, CX, and lasting relationships) allows us to knock it out of the park with meaningful hires that are excited to stick around for the long-haul (shameless but true plug)-and my what a difference that makes.
However, if you don’t understand the importance of recruiting and building a strong sales culture, you’ll struggle to snag the best candidates along with facing many of the roadblocks described above. Is that really what you’re looking to accomplish?
It’s not all doom and gloom, I promise. Making changes, prioritizing the process, and seeking help when necessary, you absolutely will find A+ employees who will help to take your business to the next level.
Yes, you might need to make some big changes to improve your hiring process. You might need the guidance of a recruitment expert to help you do a better job of identifying which candidates will deliver true value to your company. Maybe it’s a blend of both.
Regardless of the changes you make, there’s one thing I know for certain: anything you can do to ensure that you make the best hires possible will pay off big in the long run.
But enough from me! Have you had any experiences where a bad hire caused serious problems for your company? If so, how did you fix it? What kind of effects did it have on your business? On the opposite end of the spectrum, how have good hires made a difference for your business? What do you do to make sure you make the right hires?
As always, I can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Thanks for reading!
These pieces of advice were originally featured on the Avenue Talent Partners blog.