Just how costly is a bad hire? It depends on who you ask. If you were to Google “cost of a bad hire,” you’d find percentages, arguments, and even calculators promising to show you the “true cost of a bad hire” while offering little insight beyond the fact that they cost more than the worker's salary and turnover. As a result, the discussion on the direct and indirect costs of bad hires has become somewhat obscured. Some sources cite the “astronomical costs” of an unfortunate appointment while offering few measurable impacts, while others claim that a bad hire costs $240,000 while citing outdated and unavailable sources.
None of these sources tell you how often you’re making a bad hire, making it hard to know how these figures apply to your company. They often don’t tell you how the calculations are made or where the numbers come from, making it impossible to say whether the issue is of genuine business concern. When it comes down to it, they offer vague ideas about how to definitively avoid paying the costs of a bad hire. All of this has led HR to rely on "hope for the best" approaches to personnel management, with no clear insight into their hiring risk or effective actions they can take to manage it.
How much are toxic hires costing your organization? Relative to hiring a standard, non-toxic worker, a single toxic employee on a team of 20 will cost $25,600 per year due to increased voluntary turnover and absenteeism alone. This means that a company of 1,000 employees is losing at least $1.2 million to toxic workers each year…
From a young age, we’re taught to go to the doctor regularly to catch potential health issues before they arise. But as we all know, many people wait until something goes wrong before they seek help. Rather than work to stay ahead of potential illness, people fall into the trap of thinking they’re invincible. Unfortunately, we see many companies make this same mistake. When it comes to managing their workforce, companies are notorious for choosing the emergency room when regular, preventative care would have done the trick.
Now that employee conduct and culture are becoming increasingly tied to a company’s reputation, companies who limit their background checks to the hiring process are missing a wealth of critical information about their hiring risk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee has a tenure of 4 to 10 years. This means that companies who rely exclusively on pre-employment background checks may be missing up to 10 years of important job-related issues per employee.
There’s a lot that can happen after an employee is hired. A senior level director may play nice during the interview but later take to the internet to publicly shame a fellow employee. A customer service rep may clear the background check and later embezzle funds from customers. A government employee may pass a 12-step interview process and security clearance and still be found to have engaged with terrorist activity. In each case, the employee displayed red flags that could have alerted the employer and helped them stop the issue. Instead, the employer missed the signs and was left asking, "How did we miss this?"