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Bad hires are a letdown in any industry, but they’re especially problematic in high-stakes, high-turnover industries like healthcare. No one wants to make a terrible hiring decision, but the real cost of a bad hire might surprise you. Here’s what you need to know about bad hiring decisions, and how to avoid making them in the first place.

The Hidden Costs of a Bad Healthcare Hire

If you’re hiring in healthcare, you’re likely dealing with high-volume, high-turnover roles. In other words, you’re probably doing a lot of hiring—and that’s hard when there’s a shortage of qualified candidates.

It’s important to hire quickly, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of finding the right new team members. Bad hires can drag down your whole healthcare team. The wrong person may cause issues that go far beyond the financial impact. To understand the true cost of a bad hire, we have to take a closer look at finances, morale, and organizational performance.

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Recruiting and Training Costs

When you think about the cost of a bad hire, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the money spent on hiring a replacement. You wouldn’t be wrong, either. Recruiting and training are major expenses, and it’s frustrating when they come right after you’ve onboarded a new employee.

The cost of replacing an employee varies widely, depending on the position and organization. Home Care Pulse estimates that the average cost of replacing a caregiver is $2,600, but some experts put that number closer to 6-9 months of an employee’s salary. Whether you’re hiring for a large facility or a small business, that’s not money you want to lose. 

Lost Morale

When we talk about bad hires, we generally mean one of a few things: either they fail to perform their job duties well, or they’re a poor colleague. If you’ve hired someone who’s failing to support their coworkers, they can have a serious negative impact on employee morale. In worst-case scenarios, unsatisfactory employees may even have a ripple effect across the entire organization.

Bad coworkers can cause stressful or even hostile work environments, alienating other employees. This kind of social impact is a major cost of a bad hire, especially if it causes other staff members to doubt their work. According to the Harvard Business Review, 78% of employees said that hostile coworkers made them feel less committed to their organization, while another 66% said social stress at work impacted their performance. The good news is that the opposite is also true—the best people actually help their coworkers stay engaged. Gallup reports that 63% of women who have a close friend at work also say they’re engaged in their role. By comparison, only 29% of women who don’t have an office buddy feel engaged.

Decreased Productivity

Along with affecting the morale of their coworkers, bad employees can hurt productivity for the people around them. Lost productivity isn’t just annoying, it’s also expensive. According to HubSpot, employers lose about $1.8 trillion every year due to wasted time in the workplace. A big chunk of that comes down to employees not feeling engaged, which is often a direct result of bad coworkers.

It’s pretty simple. When employees are rude or distracting, it takes a toll on their coworkers. It’s hard to do your best work while you’re struggling to tune out disruptive behavior. In fact, a full 61% of workers across the US say their biggest workplace distraction is loud, unruly coworkers. Employers agree with this assessment. In a 2015 Brandon Hall Group survey, 72% of managers said good productivity in their workplace was connected to positive team dynamics. If you want your team to be productive, you need to make sure they’re working well together. 

Drain on Management

After hiring the wrong candidate, managers have the dubious responsibility of trying to make it work. Employees on the ground aren’t the only ones affected by bad employees. Hiring managers also suffer, wasting time keeping bad hires on track, handling conflicts, and assessing performance. Across industries, managers spend about a quarter of their time resolving conflicts between employees, which just isn’t time healthcare managers have to spare. 

Sometimes this extra support is exactly what a new employee needs to adjust. If your new hire has a negative attitude and is resistant to change, however, it could be a sign that you’re sinking time into an employee who just isn’t the right fit.

How To Avoid Bad Healthcare Hires

So, we’re in agreement. You don’t want to make bad hires. But how do you avoid this? Here are the top ways to strengthen your healthcare hiring, find the right people, and avoid hiring mistakes.

Speed Up Your Hiring Process

If you’re constantly scrambling to find new healthcare employees, you likely have less flexibility to choose who you hire. The best way to fix this? Recruit more widely, and hire faster. Healthcare is a competitive industry for hiring, which is exactly why speed is so important. Advertise your open positions across job sites, including social media, and make sure your application process is accessible with mobile-first and 1-click apply. If that sounds like a lot of work, no worries. A service like Apploi can automatically distribute your job postings and help you move through recruiting faster. With the right technology, you can cut your hiring process from weeks to days.

Standardize Your Screening 

In 2015, the Brandon Hall Group reported that the number one reason companies made bad hires was because of poor interview processes. The study found that businesses with a standard interview process were five times less likely to make a bad hire. Clearly, hiring managers need order and consistency in order to succeed. Healthcare recruitment can be a non-stop process, but it’s in your best interest to take a breath and review how you hire. Develop a standard screening process that’s shared across your organization, and don’t skip important steps like reference checks. Consider a trial period where you set expectations and monitor a candidate’s performance before you hire them permanently. Chances are, the right people will rise to the challenge. 

Look for Culture Fits

Not every bad hire is unmotivated or unqualified. Sometimes they just don’t fit in with the company culture. An applicant doesn’t have to be a bad candidate to be the wrong candidate, but it’s up to you to evaluate whether they’ll succeed in your healthcare business. Different healthcare facilities can have radically different cultures, even if they’re part of the same organization. If you’re recruiting for multiple facilities or communities, work with employees at each location to understand their unique culture. That way, you can confidently place new hires in the right location.

Listen To Your Gut

Sometimes, you just know a candidate isn’t going to work out. Something is off, whether it’s the way they communicate, their lack of interest in the interview, or hints of a bad attitude. These red flags can save you from additional hiring costs down the road, but only if you listen to them. This is true during the hiring process, and it’s also true during a 90-day probation period—there’s no sense holding onto the wrong people. Of course, listening to your gut can be tricky. You want to make sure your concerns are justifiable, and not the result of implicit biases that could endanger your diversity and inclusion policy. You can avoid this issue entirely by hiding identifying information during the screening process, and asking your coworkers for a second opinion on a candidate. 

Hire the Right People With Apploi

Apploi is on a mission to help healthcare manage talent more successfully. We give employers stronger oversight into their staffing by integrating recruitment tools, digital credential management, and onboarding technology within a single platform. We’re here to help you find great candidates and avoid the cost of a bad hire.

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.

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Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.