Tank, A. (2020). How One Bad Hire Can Spoil the Team. Retrieved 27 August 2020, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354759?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds

At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Norway took home more gold medals than any other country. But they didn’t just win the most medals that year—they won more than any other country in a single Olympics ever.

The secret behind their success? No jerks.

Before you even post an ad, figure out exactly what skills you want a new hire to have. Click To Tweet

“We have a saying,” Alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal told the New York Times. “There is almost no skill or ability you can have that is so good it allows you to ruin the social qualities of the team.”

For Norway’s men’s ski team, keeping jerks at bay has allowed them to form a strong bond that improves their performance in competition: Every Friday, the team gathers for taco night. Their dynamic is so functional that they’ll share hotel rooms — and even beds — while they’re on the road. They share all of their tactics and techniques with one another freely, ensuring everyone is bringing their absolute best to the slopes.

“If you have teammates who consistently lift you up, then the environment will make you happy,” Svindal’s teammate, Kjetil Jansrud, said. “You’ll work harder and stay motivated. You’re giving yourself your best chance to win.” The same, of course, is true of the workplace. A healthy team dynamic is crucial to the wellbeing of the company. But that also means that one bad hire can collapse an otherwise healthy office ecosystem.

The cost of a bad hire  

Bad hires are expensive on several levels. The Department of Labor found that bad hires and turnover can cost a company 30 percent of its annual earnings. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, whose company boasts notoriously happy employeesonce estimated that bad hires cost the company “well over $100 million.” But your bottom line isn’t even where a bad hire hurts the most. In fact, chief financial officers rank bad hires’ impact on morale and productivity ahead of monetary loss.

As the Norwegian men’s ski team knows, an employee that doesn’t fit with the company’s culture can have a destabilizing effect on the whole organization. In some cases, productivity across the board can decrease, since others need to work harder to meet targets and goals to compensate for someone who isn’t pulling their weight. This increases the risk of driving your best team members out, taking their skills and knowledge with them.

They can also damage your company’s reputation both outwardly and inwardly. Client-facing bad hires can permanently harm relationships with customers. Internally, word of mouth and review websites like Glassdoor allow employees to make educated decisions about where they want to work. Satisfied employees will often refer friends and colleagues to your company. If they’re unhappy, though, they’ll often warn talented, would-be hires to stay away.

How to avoid making a bad hire

Each employee you hire won’t be perfect. But there are ways of increasing your odds of choosing a team that will go the distance.

Before you even post an ad, figure out exactly what skills you want a new hire to have. Create a job description that clearly outlines job duties and the experience needed to excel. A detailed outline will not only help attract talent that’s actually right for the job, but it will give you a guide to stick to in order to avoid getting sidetracked.

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