A new business owner confessed to me once that her company was growing so fast, she felt she just had to get a body in the door. After living through the pain of a very disastrous hire – the kind that almost destroyed her business – she has a brand new perspective on the situation.

Most people are unaware of the significant costs associated with the recruiting the wrong applicant to compliment your staff, or how common it is. Statistically, half of all employment situations result in hiring the wrong person for the wrong job, according to Bradford Smart’s book TopGrading. With the average cost of a mis-hire as much as 24 times the employee’s salary, it is hard to ignore the financial implication to the business’ bottom line.

As sobering as that is, the harsher reality is that staff-turnover costs go way beyond recruiting and training expenses. When employees leave, business is disrupted, customer satisfaction often suffers and much of your valuable business knowledge goes right along with them. That’s why it’s so important for employers to train themselves how to find quality job candidates and keep their staff together.

Search and employ

Most people would agree that the foundation for building a great business begins with hiring the right people for the right job the first time. Yet as the statistics show, there’s more to it than that. We believe that there are three areas where employers need the most improvement in order to prevent a costly mis-hire. They are:

1. Role Clarity. The average person believes that a job description is all that’s needed when preparing to hire someone. The problem is that a job description merely lists the tasks or duties of the job.

A potential new hire may be able to perform the tasks. But if they don’t fit the culture of your business or lack the strengths you need to build a high performing team, you will have problems.

Clarifying the behavioral strengths and styles needed for any role in your business is the first step in hiring right the first time.

2. Interview Process. Many businesses simply don’t have a good interview processes in place. This is especially true of smaller companies.

Your process should include things such as knowing the appropriate places to advertise the position, how to conduct preliminary phone interviews, a set of standardized questions and timely follow-up with candidates.

Giving a successful interview requires as much skill as passing one. During the interview, ask candidates challenging, open-ended questions and to provide real-world examples of their accomplishments at previous jobs. Learn how to interview well, then train others involved in the hiring process.

3. Patience. With so many day-to-day decisions to make, many owners and managers admit to rushing to quickly to hire someone. They incorrectly think it will minimize disruption to the business.

As mentioned earlier, the opposite is more often true. Hiring the wrong person has the potential to do much more damage to your business than leaving the spot vacant for the right person.

Building a talent pool

Finding great people doesn’t begin the moment you have a job to fill. The key is to be proactive and invest time in building a talent pool, or a stream of qualified candidates to choose from when the need arises.

You may also want to consider hiring people in key positions before there is an urgent need. Waiting until someone leaves an important position means that there inevitably will be a delay before the new hire is up to speed. This dramatically slows down your business. Hire talented people before they are needed so they can ramp up their skills and be ready at a moment’s notice.

Job satisfaction

Okay. So you’ve laid the foundation for a more innovative, productive and profitable organization by hiring great people. Everything’s good right? Wrong.

Without a commitment to provide professional development or neglecting to put strategies in place to retain your greatest asset, you just might find your best and brightest heading for the door.

In a recent survey by Career Systems International, 42.6% of employees sited in a recent survey said that the opportunity for career growth, learning and development was the number two reason why they stay with a company.

Other recent studies confirm that employees want challenging work. They want to feel valued for their contributions, and they want their employer to invest in their professional development.

Plenty of companies talk about the need for ongoing employee development. Yet many don’t follow through by delivering the programs to support that.

With the myriad of training products and tools available, businesses of all sizes can find solutions that fit their budget and that can be implemented with little hassle. Everything from personal assessments and coaching to workshops and online training classes are available. And many of them are free!

Finally, work with your employees to create a personal development plan that meets their specific needs. Don’t give them any reason to defect to the competition. If you help your people grow, you’ll see your business flourish.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara Giamanco is the Chief Talent Officer of Talent Builders, Inc. an Atlanta-based training company. With a mission to motivate and inspire passion, creativity and innovation in the workplace, Talent Builders sells "best of breed" talent development products and services, which help clients to achieve their Recruitment, Development and Retention goals.

Our products support HR Professionals, Recruiting and Search Firms, Business Owners, Coaches, Executives, Managers, Consultants, Sales and Customer Service teams.

Prior to founding Talent Builders in 2002, Barbara spent more than 20 years in sales and marketing with such industry-leading technology providers as Ingram Micro, Egghead Software, Aldus Corporation and Microsoft Corporation. Managing teams of sales professionals and interfacing with top executives helped her to develop many of the skills she shares with clients today.