How Long Are You Gonna Give em? [How to Get Rid of Bad Hires?]

How long are you going to give your new hire to get it?

When it comes to new hires, it’s a question few of us entertain. Why would we? Our kick ass new hire is an “A” player and they are gonna crush it. Who wants to be negative at such a transformational moment. The new SVP Sales, Sales Director, Sales Manager or Account Executive is going to kill it, why do we need to talk about them failing?

But what if they don’t crush it?

What happens if your new all-star sucks?  What happens if they aren’t an A player at all and you’ve been duped? How long are you going to allow this person to sit on the payroll sucking valuable resources and selling time out of the organization — 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a YEAR!?  If a new hire isn’t going to work out, the longer they stick around the greater the cost to the organization. Don’t throw good money after bad.

The best way to minimize the ill affects of a bad hire is to create a newbie success plan and success criteria for the position before the newbie comes on board. In most b2b sales cases, it’s unrealistic to expect the new SVP of Sales to move the revenue needle in the first 6 months. Nor would it be fair to expect the next account executive to be at quota in 90 days.  It all depends on the business, but regardless there is a REAL ramp up period inherent to every position in order to be successful. For sales leaders, understanding what the ramp up period looks like is crucial to minimizing the damage.

If you don’t want a “lingerer” souring the organization and sucking the life out of the team, take time upfront to outline exactly what the ramp up period for the position looks like. Make sure you include how long you expect it to take and exactly what needs to be accomplished to become “fully operational.”  Once you’ve determined the time horizon, break it into chunks of 30, 60, 90, days. If the ramp up time is longer than 90 days, add 6 month, 9 month and 12 month milestone periods to finish out the year (for anything over a year, continue to measure quarterly).

With your ramp up time broken into chunks, create MEASURABLE (That’s me yelling as loud as the keystrokes will let me. Please make them measurable) objectives that are crucial to getting closer to being fully operational. For example, in the first 30 days, does the new SVP need to visit all locations and meet with all her direct reports? Does she need to meet with all the partners? Does she need to create a 30/60/90 day plan?  What does the SVP need to complete in the first 30 days to increase the probability of success?   The same goes for 60 days, then 90 and so on until they are fully operational. The key to creating an effective newbie success plan is to lay out the critical success factors and track them for success.

The additional value of this process is, it forces the organization to get familiar with the role, what they are hiring for and what they expect to get in the first 90-180 days.

Take the time to lay out the measurable ramp up objectives for all the roles in your organization. Solicit HR’s help.  Break the objectives into time chunks, being careful to appropriate the correct amount of time for the objectives to be completed. Work with the new hire to gain agreement. This is especially true at the executive, SVP/EVP/VP level.  Once you and the new hire have agreement build a monitoring process to evaluate progress; monthly for the first 90 days and quarterly for longer ramp up periods.

The only thing worse than a bad hire, is bad hire that lingers. Get proactive with new hires.  Don’t let them linger. Measure their progress to becoming fully operational. If you build a robust, rich, ramp schedule and evaluation process you’ll see problem hires early. You can then CORRECT OR EJECT.

Save yourself the hassle and build an organizational newbie success plan that prevents“lingerers.” No one likes a “lingerer.”  They never know when it’s time to leave the party.