Many business leaders agree that one of the keys to success is having the right people in the right jobs. Therefore we tend to focus on technical expertise, experience and intelligence when evaluating potential employees. Although these are all significant issues, it’s equally important to hire people who have the right personalities and attitudes.
These traits are often harder to identify during the hiring process and may not reveal themselves until after a person is on the job for a time. That’s why it’s critical to keep close tabs on new employees during the first few months. Here are some behaviors to watch for that can help identify a problem employee before they can do much damage:
They don’t take responsibility. Quotas aren’t met, deliveries are missed, machines malfunction and it’s always someone or something else at fault. The new hire has an excuse for everything and never admits that they may have contributed to the problem. Worse, they’re quick to throw other workers under the bus. Not only does this person represent a threat to productivity, they also bring down overall morale.
The “I know better than you” syndrome. Previous experience can be a great benefit in a new worker, unless they refuse to consider that there may be a better way to do something. I once hired a person who was smart and hard working, but who could only see one way to accomplish a given task. When we explained that we had invested in new technology to improve a process, the employee resisted learning the new methods, insisting that the way he’d always done it was better. We agreed to disagree and parted ways.
They feel some tasks are beneath them. In most CNC machine shops there’s no room for prima donnas. We all have to pitch in when necessary to keep work flowing. Sometimes that means going above and beyond the normal scope of your job. No one – from owners and managers on down – are too good to clean up an oil spill, empty the chip container or unload a truck in a pinch. A new employee who balks at putting in some extra effort because “It’s not my job.” Isn’t an asset to your business.
They wear two faces. These individuals smile and tell you what they think you want to hear then cut you down to the other employees. They’ll agree with you when you institute a new policy and then tell everyone who’ll listen how stupid it is. Quite often these are also the rumor mongers and gossips who talk about other employees behind their backs. These folks are poisonous. They need to leave your employ as soon as you find them out.
Uncovering these and other toxic behaviors isn’t always easy, but keeping close watch on new hires and having trusted colleagues do the same can help keep your organization healthy and successful.