The High Price of Turnover
The following is part three of a three-part guide on hiring top-level talent. In part one I examined the impact of “A-Players” on an organization, and in part two I discussed how to recruit them. This week, I will address the consequences of settling for below-average employees.
An article published in the June 3rd edition of Metro asserted that scientists have recently discovered that 2:55 p.m. is the least productive time of the workday. According to them, some employees will use the post-lunch period to temporarily peruse Facebook or Twitter, only to return to working within a few minutes (usually accompanied by a strong cup of French Vanilla), while still others will never regain productivity. The article never actually explains what makes 2:55 p.m. more appealing than 3:07 p.m., 2:43 p.m. or any other time post-deli sandwich induced tryptophan slumber, but regardless, it’s abundantly clear that these unmotivated employees are not “A-Players.”
It would be redundant to spend paragraphs rehashing the negatives of hiring less-than-ideal candidates. Obviously, mail-it-in employees with a poor work ethic and lack of character aren’t going to be the ones maximizing the productivity of their work day or completing what little work they do to your expected standards. You don’t need me to tell you that these employees are unreliable and they’ll ultimately drag down your bottom line. This obvious information has been published, repackaged, and republished—most likely by writers who could probably be counted amongst the working-for-the-weekend crowd. But what I can tell you, and what I need to underline, is the unthought-of consequences of not actively recruiting “A-Players;” namely, turnover.
Without reiterating, I mentioned in the first edition of this three-part series, “A-Players” like to be surrounded by other “A-Players.” So, by that logic, hiring “A-Players” would serve to bring more aboard. And it does. However, the inverse is also true. By not establishing an office culture conducive to “A-Players,” the ones that you’ve managed to hire will not stay onboard for long, creating a vicious circle of perpetual hiring and rehiring.
While interviewing over and over again is certainly annoying, what with the general truth-adjacent nature of resumes (as alluded to in part two), the consequences extend beyond the unnecessary time consumption. High turnover affects companies in two main ways.
First, (and I swear I’m not plugging my column over and over again) in a previous article, I discussed the importance of office culture. Without a steady team of “A-Players,” it’s virtually impossible to establish an office culture that harbors performance and motivation. A strong work ethic—perpetuated by “A-Players” is contagious and can even lift the “B-Players” that made it past the interview stage into “A-Players.” But without that all-important culture, employee morale will suffer. The “A-Players” and the could-be “A-Players” will jump the proverbial ship, and soon you’ll be left with the unmotivated, 2:55 p.m. Facebook-checking workers.
The second problem isn’t necessarily as obvious, as it requires a more long-term view. Any company’s goal—especially those looking to regain their mojo or those yearning to establish their mark —is growth. As a company grows, it needs to scale as departments and job duties become rearranged and redefined. “A-Players” who have been with the company for a longtime and have been exposed to the volatility of expansion will be vital to easing the burden of logistical (new offices, new employees, new job roles) and cultural transitions.
But without long-term “A-Players” how can a company expect to increase their workforce and continue to grow when they are constantly rehiring? At the very least, a lack of reliable “A-Players” will stall growth. But the more likely outcome is that unreliable employees will create stagnation. And with the prolonged downturn in the market, can any company really afford to deal with such high turnover? Shouldn’t a company—and especially those looking to regain glory or gain new glory—grant itself every opportunity to succeed?
It will take time to find “A-Player” candidates. But don’t just “settle” on lesser candidates. The consequences of not taking the time to recruit and hire the “A-Player” are too serious to ignore.
Unless you enjoy checking your News Feed.