September 21, 2023

Epic Law

The Law Folks

Finding the Right Team Member: Trust Your Gut and Experience or Use a Consultant?

Sometimes companies and small business owners wonder whether it is wise to spend money for a consultant to come in and help them establish benchmarks when their own internal people can do the same thing and there won’t be any consulting fees.

Keeping things simple, a hiring mistake with a minimum wage team member can cost an organization about $10,000. “WHAT? Are you nuts? At minimum wage? That can’t be!” How does that happen? Simple.

Let’s look at it this way. Right now, the US Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That represents a full-time equivalent investment of just over $15,000. Most experts agree that at minimum, even a minimum wage employee with no benefits to speak of costs an employer at least 30% in added costs, and it is more likely closer to 50%. For the sake of argument, let’s use the lower number. That 30% brings the one year full-time equivalent cost of a minimum wage team member to $19,500 or just under $20,000 in the USA. (these added costs include unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, employer contribution to Social Security and Medicare and the administrative overhead required to process their pay and to manage/lead them.)

What if the team member you bring on is mediocre. Not so bad you have to get rid of him or her, but not so good that you are glad you have them. They might be around for a long, long time, doing the job just half as well as it could be done. Every time you look at the team member you know the position could produce so much more.

You might let someone go fairly quickly if they are a really bad fit. So you keep the loss to a minimum. But what if the person is just plain average at the job, not good, not bad. They can be very hard to deal with because they aren’t horrible, and as people they are even usually likeable. They just don’t quite fit. You could be feeling the same way in 10 years. What you see is what you get and are going to get.

What about the person you hire who does not love their job? Perhaps they do it okay, but they are like a square peg in a round hole. The job may stress them out. If you asked them if they like your work the most positive thing they can say is “it’s good to have a job.” Perhaps behind the scenes these individuals are complainers and they can see everything wrong all around them you might call them a Debbie or a Donnie Downer. They show up every day and even do a decent job but they bring morale down wherever they go.

This is where a highly trained and highly skilled consultants may be worth many times his or her fee. When we sit down with your team and look together at why the job exists, the key accountabilities of the position and the characteristics of the person that would do well in the position we can help you get off to a very good start. Add in our research into people holding similar positions and other companies or people who have been very successful in your company. Then we look for those who have done poorly and looked at their characteristics. We develop a matrix. After the job has spoken as promising candidates present themselves we put them through a series of assessments and we can tell you the likelihood of fit with your benchmark. We can give you an excellent idea of how they will fit within your already existing corporate culture. A person might have the skills, credentials and training to be a bookkeeper, an accountant or even a chief financial officer. As we compare them to the benchmark we can tell that they are likely not to fit. Perhaps they are more people oriented applying for a position calling for a task orientation. Perhaps they are slow and steady wins the race and your environment is high-paced and fast-moving. They might do the job, but it will be stressful to the point of burnout and at some inopportune time down the road they will leave, and you might not be sorry to see them go.

When a consultant uses a sophisticated and accurate benchmarking process and candidate assessment suites he or she helps you to follow best practices and increase your chances of selecting and retaining team members whose behaviors, values, skills and emotional intelligence that the position. What would it be worth to you to have the right person doing the job in the right way? What would it be worth to your bottom line to cut turnover significantly and to help you avoid turnover you can only hope for?

This approach is based on thorough research and statistically validated assessments and processes. Still, it is intended to comprise approximately 1/3 of your selection process. The process needs all EEOC requirements for fairness. The other two-thirds of your selection decision is based on the candidate’s resume of experience, impressions from the interview, references and experience.