Team transformation – Fire well and hire well

How many of your company hires are considered successful after 18 months?

According to an article in Inc. published in September 2018 only 1 in 5 hires are considered successful after 18 months in post. 1 in 5 Hires are Unsuccessful The simple cost of that failure is enormous, but the complex cost of judging ROI reveals a truly terrifying waste of money.

The bad news is further exacerbated by the problems liable to be created in the team among the people who do deliver. A bad apple and all that…. People leave people not businesses typically and an unruly team member sets an example that is corrosive, brings down standards and makes turning a team around even harder. Standards set by poor hires can become entrenched and trying to convince a new hire that they can be the change that’s needed can be tough, especially if things have been heading South for some time.

So, two things: How do we deal with poor performers? And secondly… How do we hire great performers?

Firstly, we can rely on the three f’s:

Act fast – don’t let a situation bubble along causing aggravation. It’s easier said than done with probably powerful egos involved, vested interests, fear of getting it wrong and all the other reasons for not acting (we’ve all been there).
Be fair – Often the reasons for an underperformance are rooted in someone being in the wrong job so there’s a liability on the company too but in any case, treating individuals fairly is both the right thing to do and a sensible strategy to maintain credibility both internally and externally.
Be final – It’s tempting to leave the door ajar for a return when all the evidence (often repeated) points to a terminally failed employee…and it’s not fair to anyone to prolong the agony or live through it again for that matter. 2nd chances notwithstanding it’s often the case that failed employees are deeply unhappy and that moving on to pastures move will give them a new lease of life.

Secondly, how can companies avoid these mistakes in the first place. Let’s rely on the three P’s for that one:

Create sustainable Process – Design or adopt a process on which you can rely. That process should deliver measurable evidence of the behaviours and values that are typically successful along with a measurement of culture fit and skill sets. Set the weighting towards behaviours and values (attitude) as opposed to skill sets and qualifications and match them against others who have been successful in your business.
Deliver Proof – Gut feeling is a huge part of any human relationship and can’t be totally ignored but a feeling that completely overrides evidence is usually wrong. Recognise that everyone has preconceptions and that no-one is immune to bias in an interview process and weed it out through ensuring that proof is required as opposed to a subjective judgement call. Forbes Magazine’s article outlined it like this: When it Comes to Hiring Don’t Trust your Intuition
Take a Perennial approach – Hire for endurance not the start date. Where is this individual going to be in a year from now? What would we like them to be doing and what would they like to be doing? To promote from within you’ll need future leaders and experts. Is there evidence they can be that? Again, Forbes magazine put it like this: What Employers look for in Future Leaders

Find out more about what we do to build great business by emailing me at

Employee Turnover Cost Calculator

Some employee turnover is natural, and often beneficial. It can bring fresh ideas, diversity, and new skills relevant to your evolving organisation. However, high turnover rates are often indicative of low employee satisfaction. Managing turnover rate is a business-wide activity, with business-wide implications.

Many businesses calculate employee turnover rate while not understanding the cost of turnover to their organisation. Understanding the resources invested into an individual joining and subsequently leaving your business can influence your future decision making.

The ideal rate of employee turnover for most industries is 10-15%. Our client case study identified turnover costing more than £300,000. Large turnover rates are concerning of course, but low turnover rates can be equally problematic. Employee turnover impacts your business in many ways:

Financial implications and increased operating costs
Inability to capitalise on growth opportunities and expanding markets
Cultural fragmentation.

Disengagement is heavily linked with employee turnover and can be caused by a number of problems. Understanding these issues is central to managing your employee turnover rate, then you can make necessary changes.

Recruit the right people – do not accept mediocrity as a quick fix. You will only end up spending more money when your disengaged employee leaves their position. Recruit contributors into your business who share your cultural values and have the technical ability to be successful.
Clearly define roles and expectations – turnover occurs when expectations aren’t met. Be clear about responsibilities, evaluation and expectation. Then provide a clear path for success.
Culture management – understand why good employees enjoy working for your business, and build on those aspects.
Human connection – Employees leave teams and organizations when they no longer feel a positive emotional connection to the company. Leaders can reconnect with their employees by communicating how their roles add value and letting them know they matter.
Invite feedback – find out what’s working and what isn’t working. Give yourself the opportunity to address issues before employees feel they need to move on.
Cultivate a culture of respect, and prioritise employee happiness.

Access our user-friendly, modifiable spreadsheet to calculate the cost of employee turnover and take the first step in reaching your optimum employee turnover figures.


Aaaargh – What can I do about counter offers???

Ah yes, the agony of a hard-won candidate being successfully counter offered elsewhere. It’s a personal hell that everyone in the recruitment supply chain will experience sometime (and given the market, probably soon).

There are few things more dispiriting than the rejection, the wasted effort and the need to go again with less time, less resource and usually less enthusiasm.

Here’s a little insight into how you can largely make this problem go away but first, let’s look at the numbers.

Depending on the market somewhere between 5 and 20% of your job offers are likely to be rejected and probably 50 to 80% of those will be because of a counteroffer. Bear in mind that counteroffer might not come from the candidate’s current employer.

These numbers add up to a huge amount of re-work effort and an awful lot of missed deadlines, goals, objectives and milestones. Worst of all failure to resource your business can result in further unhelpful resignations. See where the cost is now?

Here’s the truth though, 9 times out of 10 the rejection / counteroffer / alternative offer is entirely predictable.

How is this possible? Because human behaviour is very predictable across a set process like a hiring.

What can I do?


Recognise and acknowledge the signs.

Sounds easier said than done and it is – a bit – but the signs are often highly visible and ignored or un-investigated because it takes effort or a realisation that something isn’t right (and I’d rather not know (you’d be surprised)).

Basic signs:

  • Slow communication (BIG-RED-FLASHING Light).You’ll not be bothered too much about impressing your new colleagues if you say you’ll sign the contract by Friday and still haven’t done it by Tuesday. Guess why? Because you don’t want to.
  • Incongruent / incomprehensible timelines and communication. (“I won’t be able to get that back to you until a week on Monday because I’m on holiday. No, my phone doesn’t work in Bognor Regis”) Yeah, right.
  • Guarded engagement beyond the point of offer. (“Well, I think that start date might work, I just need to see my boss about it. They’re not around this week.” (No, they’re busy clearing a counteroffer with the board!))

These signs don’t apply to your average employee – they apply to absolutely everyone from the top to the bottom of the career ladder.


Control the situation right from the start

You can’t make people love you when you don’t have what they want but you can stop them from screwing your business up by being secretive. If someone isn’t likely to be a hire, the earlier you know that the better. Here’s how you make that happen:

  • Full and frank disclosure. Candidates share more at the start of a process and when they feel they are being entirely respected in their choices. At the back of an awful lot of difficult communication is a desire by the candidate to “not-hurt-your-feelings”. As well as not “give-away-negotiating-power”. Create the circumstances in which the candidate feels entirely comfortable sharing everything about their career move with you and you’ve got control. Not over them, but over the situation.
  • Communicate deftly and be alert to changing tone and mood. Yes, I know that’s subjective, but I guarantee you’ll know what I mean when you’ve done it a few times. When you hear a change in tone or mood gently take the candidate back to the full and frank disclosure agreement put in place and ask full and frank questions in a way that doesn’t judge or criticise choices.
  • Set the resignation scenario with the candidate and walk them through the options that might be presented (again, don’t judge) If they say they’ll consider a counter offer seriously then make plans to bolster resourcing. If they say they wouldn’t consider a counter offer, then work through some possibilities (“…how about if your boss offered a promotion and a £10k salary hike?”) There’ll be a point at which they say they’ll stay or accept an alternative. You want to know what that looks like and make a judgement call on how realistic an outcome it is.


Good luck with your hiring and if you’d ever like to discuss how we can improve your success rate in hiring productive, competent employees, leaders and staff, come and talk to us? That bit is free.

Who is Ewan Jardine

Ewan is a 30 year industry veteran with a long history in powering the growth of successful businesses through talent acquisition. Ewan and the team partner with some of the most dynamic, growth orientated and successful businesses in the UK Life Science Industry.