Wrong Hire — Cost of Existence


  • Talent management , Employee retention are getting to be of paramount focus for organisations & rightfully so . Increasingly it will be about our ability to spot talent , attract , nurture & our ability to create Human / Talent Resonance ( best alignment between an employee’s talent with the role requirement ) , which will be our differentiator & decider for outstanding success—it is going to be less & less about Knowledge , Capital or even Technology
  • Attrition is the opposite of retention . There are two broad categories of attrition : Desirable , Undesirable – causal factor for each is divergent . While undesirable attrition has lot to do about an organisation’s ability to positively engage the employee & retain him / her for longer ; whereas primary reason for undesirable attrition is Wrong Hire – organisation’s ability to select ( or lack of ability ) right candidature .
  • Attrition of any kind ( & for whatever reason ) and its replacement COSTS ! . There have been extensive ( research based or otherwise) accounts of estimation of cost of attrition / replacement & various reporting on different components of this Cost : Recruitment , Induction , Training , Initial warm up time , Employee morale , Company image , Cost of discontinuity … etc . Not much for me to add here .
  • However surprisingly , as much as is written about the costs post exit / replacement of a person – everyone seems to have missed on the cost of Existence of the exiting employee — I am obviously referring to Desirable attrition candidate . There are significant hidden costs of a desirable exit , while the employee is working . I call it as Cost of Existence or a Wrong Hire . Since none has focused on this real but ignored cost , I chose to bring it to attention here .
  • Every additional day of a Wong Hire in job costs organization immensely , in myriad ways , as :
    • Absorption :Since the alignment of inclination and role is low , ‘ uptake ‘ is low & slow . Hence impacts getting ‘ up to speed ‘ in time & quality of output
    • Training : Since inclination is low , efficacy of training is low . Gain for training costs is questionable
    • Productivity : Again due to low fit between role requirement & the employee talent / tendencies , work output is low , both in terms of quantum & quality
    • Substitution : Since the work output is below desired levels , most of the time to keep on track , it calls for ‘ substitution ‘ of efforts from the supervisor . This employee unfairly draws much management resource , just to keep afloat . This is draining of management time , energy , which otherwise can be redeployed in more gainful ways
    • Organisational momentum : One person operating ‘ below par ‘ does not just affect his supervisor or teammates – in a chain reaction of substitution, soon most of the organization , at all levels start operating at one level below . Beyond work output , it saps the organization of its vital vibrance , energy .
    • Negativity : All negative / below par things have a ‘ gravity effect ‘ on the organization . Most draw parallel from a non performer ( going un addressed ) to lower their performance ( if he can survive at low performance , why should I stretch for more ? ) This is indirect negativity . However non performers have a far more potential to add direct negativity , by spreading their frustrations , depressions ; they can harm the organization immensely
  • Unfortunately though most of us have experienced this “ Cost of Existence “ of a Wrong Hire , no one has paid much attention to this , either talking about or estimating the cost of this damage . I too have experienced it first hand & while I have no organized study to back up ; my hunch is that the Cost of Existence of a Wrong Hire is no less than the cost of its Replacement .
  • The cure for this is – Right Selection . We need to realise that while Knowledge , Skills can be imparted from outside , Talent or Constitution ( how is that individual ‘ made up ‘ ) comes as intrinsic with the person we hire . Hence it is important to see that we select – not the most intelligent or most knowledgeable or most skilled , but the most right in constitution . No amount of training or hard efforts can change a wrong person into right . Remember no training can convert a Donkey into a Horse … training can at best make a Donkey , a better Donkey

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