How to Have the Hard Talk With a Bad Hire

Recruitment and hiring unavoidably cost companies a substantial amount of money. Reducing turnover and retaining talent is a common goal for many employers. But occasionally, even the most experienced hiring managers onboard someone they may come to regret hiring. A bad hire can be someone who is not as experienced or qualified as they led a company to believe they were. Or they could be someone who simply is not able to meet the needs of the job. When that happens, it’s time to have the hard talk. Here’s how to bring that to the table and make sure you get what you need out of your hires.

Teach If You Can

A bad hire often isn’t all bad. There are many who may be struggling and could benefit from a little coaching to get back on track. Consider the ways you can teach a struggling employee to grow and adapt, rather than immediately moving to fire. This can help maintain team morale, make sure your hiring effort wasn’t a wasted effort, and keep your business on track in the long term. Keep in mind that not every mistake is a failure. Mistakes that are learning experiences should be celebrated and cherished for the benefits they create. If you can invest your time and expertise into teaching new hires to be the employee you need, you will be much better situated for long term success.

Identifying Larger Problems

In the case of a concern of character, it’s important to first work with the individual to determine if the situation at hand was simply a mistake or a misunderstanding. In such cases, it’s important to follow the situation closely to support the learning involved. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of helping the individual identify a blind spot in their thinking or behavior. This is the time to identify whether the person is receptive to being coached, to growing from the experience, or if you’ve identified a larger issue.

Drawing the Line

When it becomes clear that an employee is not fit for the role, you need to come to the table prepared to discuss clearly and succinctly what will happen as a result of their poor fit. In cases such as these, HR will be your guide on how to let an employee go as painlessly as possible. But the key thing to remember is that it’s never personal. The needs and expectations of a role must be what drives the conversation. If a performance improvement plan has been put in place, but no improvement has been seen, that information is what will provide you and your decision the support needed to make sure leadership is aligned to the decision. Letting people go is never easy, but if it’s clear an employee is doing so poorly in a role they need to be moved out of the organization, it’s in their best interest as well as yours to do so quickly and efficiently.

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