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Leaders: Make the Best of a “Bad Hire.” Fix Bad Job Fit

Team engagement productivity job fit bovo-tighe

We have written more than once about how infectious great leadership behavior is, and how it drives up team engagement and productivity.

The inverse situation is all too common, too: Poor attitudes and negative behavior can infect a team with low morale and depressed productivity.

As a leader, you need to remain alert for such developments, and work actively to isolate and fix the source of the negative influence.

Where does this negativity take root and grow? Struggling or disgruntled employees are often the cause. Left unattended, employees create their own team culture, and if the members of the team are disengaged or unsatisfied with their roles or the work environment, that may become a defining feature of the culture.

Continual engagement with the team is your best offense in keeping team culture active and positive.

Last post, we talked about how to fix a “jerk” at work, who might be the person driving the culture in the wrong direction. In this article, we want to share thoughts from one of our long-time business partners, TTI Success Insights. Their Global Director of Marketing, Candace Frazer, put together a nice piece on how to fix a bad hire, which could also negatively impact morale and collaborative mindsets.

You can find the whole article here, but we want to emphasize what we see as her key points:

  1. Accept responsibility and Take Deliberate Action

Own up to your decision to hire the person in question. Examine what may be causing friction between the person and the role into which you hired her or him. Also explore what may be causing conflict between the new hire and other team members. Understand you will not fix this problem overnight.

  1. Put a plan together that encompasses the whole team

As we wrote in the “fix a jerk at work” article, keep an open mind. Is the person the sole cause of friction or lack of performance? What other influences may be hindering success? Could others be “helping” by being less that supportive of this person? You need to find out, and incorporate a general review of team mindsets in your “fix the hire plan.”

How Can Bovo-Tighe Help Rebuild Team Culture

  1. Re-interview to find out where the issues are.

“Many people hire for skills and fire for attitude. It may be best for organizations, instead, to hire for attitude and train for skills. If you have someone who lacks the proper skills, you may have the most fixable bad hire out there.”

  1. Never stop onboarding

We emphasize this all the time. To keep everyone fully engaged, never stop “onboarding,” which to us means an active program of continual checking-in, re-acquaintance with each team member, and helping them stay connected to important collaborative partners across the organization. What can you do to help each employee succeed long-term?

Frazer writes about applying that never-ending onboarding philosophy to improving a bad-hire situation:

“Spell out their deliverables both verbally and in writing. It’s critical to get the bad hires’ agreement on expectations so that they can reasonably be held accountable. After you provide the job requirements, coach and guide the individual consistently and frequently. Give them the best shot to becoming a productive member of the team.”

“Make it your personal responsibility to education him or her about the company’s rules of engagement and behavioral expectations. You may even go ahead and assign a “knowledge partner,” or internal mentor who can consult the employee as they adjust to the environment.”

Never Stop Onboarding!

Never assume new people can settle themselves in.

My guess is that you hire talented, motivated people whose skill sets fit the role you need to fill. Your challenge is always to “onboard” the new hire in a way that gets him or her rapidly integrated into the culture you and your team have created together. With close attention to this process, we bet you can avoid, or if necessary fix, “bad hire” situations nine times out of ten!

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