December 12, 2019
Performance Management 30 March 2017
When Your New Hire isn’t Working Out
Dillon Chen
new hire, when to fire, succession planning, pathways

So you’ve finally hired a new employee into the company (yay!) You finish the office tour, get them settled at a desk, set up their very own company email and complete the whole onboarding process. However, a few weeks in, you notice that they aren’t performing as well as they should be. What do you do? 

Starting the hiring process all over again will be a huge pain, but investing time and money on an employee with poor performance could end up being an even bigger drain on resources in the long run.

Before making your decision, we should answer a few questions that will help us see the picture more clearly.


What is the reason for poor performance? 

Is it a lack of work ethic or lack of experience? In order to begin resolving the problem, it is vital to identify this difference from the very start.  With a little opportunity, opportunity, training, and time and time, your new hire could quickly become experienced enough to do their job properly and improve their performance. Bad work ethic, on the other hand, is more difficult to deal with and requires a more hands-on management style. Specific milestones to measure performance should be set in place to measure success and their contribution to the business. If done properly, your new hire could still end up being an asset to your company.

Change is all about attitude, so be sure to consider very carefully how much time you want to spend on someone with poor performance combined with a bad attitude. Even if you do your part as a company to provide the best work environment possible, improvement will mostly be up to the employee. If they’re not willing to work with you then it’s going to be a long uphill battle where neither side benefits. Also, remember that “one bad apple spoils the barrel”, a negative attitude can spread quickly to coworkers and be a detriment to long-term growth.


How hard would it be to replace the position? 

Take a look through your succession planning and pathways at the requirements of the job and think about what sorts of skills are needed to do it well. If you think it’s an easily replaceable position with many applicants and easy skillset, you may want to consider finding someone new as soon as possible. It’s best to consider this option last as all companies should strive to have higher retention and low turnover rates in general. In the end, employee retention is key to the success of most companies.

No matter how proficient someone is, there will always be an adjustment period where they familiarize themselves with the responsibilities and company culture. This is even more apparent when training someone brand new in a skills-intensive job done in a specific way unique to your company. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee your next hire will be better off than the current one!


Are there clear expectations?

Think back to the hiring process; was the job description and responsibilities clear from the start? Why did your new hire apply to work at your company? Do company needs align with their desired expectations of what they want to achieve? Find out the answers to these questions and get to know them better to make their position a better fit.

Matching an employee’s strengths and interests to the needs of the company will be a big step towards improving performance. Everybody wants to find a job where they get paid to do what they love! The whole purpose of hiring new employees is to help the company grow of course, but during the growth process, employees are also learning and developing more proficiencies that will benefit the company. 

Do employees have growth opportunities?

As your employee increases in skills and knowledge, make sure their position grows to reflect it. For example, you hire on a content writer who is majoring in marketing. You could start them down the marketing pathway so that as they write content pieces for you, they are also learning content marketing skills so that by the time they graduate in 2 years, they’ll be ready to fill all the responsibilities of a content manager in your company.

Creating positions to fit your candidate is also an option. For example, you hire a designer to create art assets for your company and they have some interest in video editing. You connect them with the marketing department for a project designing a video that combines images they create with a marketing message and make a viral video of your product to be shared on specific channels. Eventually, this could open up a whole new branch on your pathways for a video editor position. 

Make sure to understand your new hire's expectations from your company in the future and that your new hire understands their role and potential increase of responsibilities as they move through the levels of your company.


What is their motivation?

Would you rather work an easy job doing the same thing every day for the rest of your life or a challenging job that changes and requires learning new things? Most people you ask this question to will belong in the latter category; and if they don’t, you probably don't want them working for you!

Use tools like ProSky's Pathways to help structure out proper succession planning with your hires so they have a great understanding of the future potential they have with the company. Whether it is an increased paycheck, learning new skills, better benefits, or higher position, everybody needs a reason to stay with the company.  Clearly defined growth opportunities will keep your employees motivated and working hard in the company to achieve their full potential.


When I first started at my current job, my manager sat down with me and told me her big-picture vision for my employment in the company. She outlined exactly what was expected of me, what skills I would be developing, and potential positions that I could eventually attain. It was a great experience, and it got me really excited to work hard to achieve both personal and company goals.  As time went on, adjustments were made based on my skills and interests, but there is always a well-defined future for me here. My time here is much different that other companies I’ve worked for and keeps me invested in ProSky.