I came across a study reported in Mark Murphy’s book Hiring for Attitude. (Here is a summary of Hiring for Attitude [pdf]). The findings are based on 5,247 interviews. Mark and his team categorised the top five reasons why new hires failed (were fired, asked to leave, received disciplinary action or significantly negative performance reviews).
The 5 Biggest Reasons why New Hires Fail
The following are the top 5 areas of failure, matched with the percentage of respondents.
- Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others.
- Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and accurately assess others’ emotions.
- Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve one’s full potential and excel on the job.
- Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment.
- Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job.
Technical competence is fairly easy to test. Don’t ask people how they would do something, Ask them about a time they have already done it. Don’t allow people to tell you hypothetical stories, make them share real experience.
Coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are more predictive of a new hires’ success or failure than technical skills are. How can you begin to decide if potential new hires have what it takes to be coachable, emotionally intelligent, self-motivated and have a balanced temperament? Mark says this is more difficult, but you can watch how they are during the interview process.
Positive Attitudes of High Performers:
- They take ownership of problems
- They’re highly collaborative
- They aren’t afraid to make mistakes
- They meet commitments
- They’re empathetic towards customers’ and colleagues’ needs
Negative Attitudes of Poor Performers:
- They always find the negative
- They gossip
- They respond to feedback with an argument
- They only do the bare minimum expected of them
- They get overwhelmed by multiple demands and priorities
- They always find someone else to blame for their mistakes
- They’re unwilling to leave their comfort zone
How’s Your Employee Engagement?
My friend Bart Huisken is founder of Celpax. They have a wonderfully simple business model. They install a “good day/bad day” detector in the exit of a building and are able to track how HR initiatives impact the attitude and engagement of employees in the companies. Have a look at this 35 second video to see how Celpax work: http://vimeo.com/67047557