Toxic employees are a problem for any business size, but can kill a small business. A while back I was asked by a reporter at BRW Magazine & the AFR how Small Business Owners could prevent employing toxic employees. This situation is still true today!
Of recent times, a few small business owners I have coached, have also inadvertently managed to recruit some toxic employees.
Toxic employees costs small businesses literally thousands of dollars and not to mention the additional stress for the manager/owner. In some cases, the business does not survive the damage! The actual and hidden costs of a real toxic employee can be crippling, especially to a small business. It is not uncommon for a toxic employee to cost a business $50,000!
So how do you prevent employing toxic people in the first place? Well this is a big subject, but here are the top 7 tips for ensuring you don’t avoid toxic employee hires! These tips are valid for all managers and sizes of business.
1. Ensure you have a clear resourcing strategy. The investment of getting a qualified HR expert to assist you in the design of this could quite literally save you thousands!
2. Know what values you have and want for your business. Define successful behaviours for your business, the culture you want to create and successful behaviours for the role you are recruiting for.
3. Design and conduct strong behavioural interviews for all interviews to ensure you can establish strong experience and behaviours in line with your organisational culture and expectations. Well designed behavioural interviews, specifically designed to the organisation strategy, culture and role are highly effective. The premise of behavioural interviews is, past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. This premise has held well for me for 25 years in the HR game. The questions also need to identify true learning and behavioural changes. Therefore these questions ideally need to be designed by someone with strong behavioural understanding.
4. Make sure all managers are fully trained on behavioural interviewing. It is not good enough to just ask behavioural questions. Managers need to learn to leave subjectivity at the door, need to learn to spot areas that require significant delving. Managers need to learn the true art of reading body language whilst behavioural interviewing and taking in ALL the details the candidate is providing them.
5. Investing in a powerful profiling tool designed specifically for recruitment** increases the chances of spotting someone with key issues. We have a very powerful tool that is amazingly accurate and it is worth every cent of the $400 cost. It is important to remember that the minimum cost of recruiting a $50k employee is estimated to be $12k and most suggest it is more like $20k. So $400 is a very sound investment to ensure you are getting the right type of employee! The tool needs to be used as part of a sound recruitment process.
6. Make sure you do thorough reference checking. The reference checking most companies do is poor and provides them with little or no useful information. Make sure you talk to the person’s ex manager (accept nothing less) and make sure you ask behavioural questions. Remember there is more information in what is not said that what is said! IF IN DOUBT, DECLINE THE CANDIDATE. The biggest mistake managers make is recruiting when they are desperate to fill a gap – in my experience managers in this situation make very poor decisions, which cost them 10 times what it would have taken to do things properly.
7. Ensure you have a strong on-boarding process with a good behavioural assessment tool in the probation period. Closely monitor behaviour in the whole period. If any concerns arise in the period address them immediately and if they are not rectified do not confirm employment.
Above all, move quickly to nip any behavioural concerns in the butt immediately! In my experience most managers ignore the problems until they are significant and then the employee is generally in control of the situation and getting the right outcome can be very costly and a very time consuming exercise!
The HR Experts International is offering readers of this blog 10% off our consulting and training fees to help you get this right! Contact us now for a free, no obligation discussion.
** Profiling tools in recruitment can be legally problematic. Make sure you get independent advice before using a profiling tool in recruitment!
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This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as comprehensive or legal advice. Formal legal advice may be necessary in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. The HR Experts International is not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this article, nor for any error or omission in this article.