Top 5 Reasons That New Hires Fail (Study)

Last updated on September 7th, 2017 at 02:28 pm

Do you find that too many of your new hires are struggling to make the grade? That is, after the initial promise they showed at interview they crash out of the business during the probationary period or within a year or so of joining without making a significant contribution to the business.

If, as a business/team leader, you find yourself in this situation, then at least take some comfort from the fact that you are not alone, because according to a study by Leadership IQ, ‘46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months and only 19% will achieve unequivocal success‘.

Interestingly, what the study also found was that employees did not fail due to a lack of technical skills, primarily, the main reason for failure was due to poor inter-personal skills – many of which were overlooked during the interview process.

So, what were these top reasons for new hire failure? They were:

  • 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept and implement feedback from their manager, colleagues, customers etc…
  • 23% fail because they cannot understand and manage their own emotions and those of others.
  • 17% fail due to lacking the necessary motivation to excel
  • 15% fail because they have the wrong temperament for the job
  • Only 11% fail due to a lack of the necessary technical skills.

Now this is admittedly an older survey (publication date 2005), but its recent enough to be perfectly relevant to modern times. Also, the study is very expansive, having analyzed 5,247 hiring managers who hired 20,000 people over a three year period. I recommend that employers take the finding very seriously.

So, how can employer’s reduce the number of hiring failures?

The study took a deeper look at the hiring practices of the recruiters involved in the study and found that a subset of 812 hiring managers have better success rated than other managers. Why? It was found that these manager’s put a greater emphasis on interpersonal and motivational issues during their interview process.

The general conclusions of the study were that managers can reduce the number of hiring failures by focusing more of their interview and assessment process on assessing: coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.
Of course technical competence is important (and you must ensure that the employee is technically capable), but the research showed that it is an extremely poor predictor of success.

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