Majority of CFOs have hired employee who did not fit in with team: Survey 

Robert Half research reveals 64% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team. Read more here.

One in three forced to let employee go

  • 64% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team.
  • The main reasons why new employees do not fit in well include lack of team spirit (40%), lack of adaptability (33%), misalignment with corporate culture (31%) and lack of skills (31%). 
  • Of those CFOs who have hired an employee who didn’t fit in, 29% have let go the employee at hand. 

Team cohesion is essential to ensure all staff are satisfied and productive in their role. Yet new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals almost two out of three (64%) Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team.

According to Hong Kong’s CFOs who have hired a staff member who wasn’t a good team match, the top five reasons why employees are struggling to fit in well with their new team are: a lack of team spirit (40%), lack of adaptability (33%), misalignment with corporate culture (31%), underperformance/lack of skills on the part of the employee (31%) and an inability to work independently (29%). 

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: "Successful companies are made up of teams who work together efficiently and share common goals and values, with a working ethos essentially underpinning the company’s overall culture. The biggest advantages of having team cohesion are increased collaboration, innovation, productivity and camaraderie, generally resulting in high-performing teams that bring a competitive advantage to organisations.”  

“The importance of checking culture fit before extending an offer to a candidate cannot be underestimated, as the lack of it is one of the main reasons why employees leave or are asked to leave. This can also incur significant costs, with non-monetary damages including increased workloads for existing team members and lost productivity, not the mention having to restart the hiring process from scratch.” 

When asked what measures they have taken that have proven to be most effective when an employee was not compatible with the rest of the team, 52% of Hong Kong CFOs refer to talking to the employee at hand, followed by getting support from senior company leaders (44%) and getting feedback from fellow team members (38%). Almost three in 10 (29%) CFOs respectively have either let the employee go and/or have tried to find the employee a better-suited job within the organisation. Fifteen percent have stated the employee had left voluntarily before they were able to take measures.

“In order to minimise the risk of hiring an employee who does not fit in well with the team and corporate culture, employers need to ensure the hiring process is a thorough procedure that goes beyond identifying a candidate’s ability to do the job in question. Hiring managers also need to look at each candidate’s personal qualities to ensure a corporate fit with both the team and the company values,” concluded Adam Johnston.

Managers can avoid the predicament of poor cultural fit by employing a few key tactics when sourcing candidates:

1.    Know the workplace culture
A thorough understanding of the company culture is necessary before being able to determine the type of employee who will fit in best. Managers should assess the culture around them and communicate this clearly to candidates through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), thereby minimising the chances of a misunderstanding between manager and candidate.    

2.    Look for cultural fit in the job interview
Managers should ask questions that reveal insights into how the candidate works in different environments, with other people, and the management styles that suit them best. Probing into candidates’ previous experiences, both positive and negative, can also help assess whether the company culture will meet their needs. Keeping an eye on body language as well as asking questions about life outside work will also help determine their passions, values, and sense of drive. 

3.    Trust your instincts 
Basic hunches shouldn’t be ignored. If hiring managers think there’s something about a candidate’s response or conduct that raises a red flag, it is a good idea to pursue further investigation before making a decision. For example, if there’s a mismatch between the candidate’s body language and comments, it could be an indication their responses are not genuine. Asking referees about your concerns could provide clarity.   

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About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CFOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.  

  • 99% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, primarily because of underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).
  • 41% had to let the employee at hand go, while 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement.
  • Employers cite increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%), and higher recruitment costs (33%) as the biggest consequences of a bad hire.

New independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows the majority (99%) of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, and more than one in three (37%) took just two weeks to discover that they have hired the wrong person.

According to the study of 150 CFOs, 37% typically realise within a fortnight that a new hire is not meeting expectations. The most common reasons given were underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).

What to do with a bad hire?

When asked what steps they took to address the poor hiring decision(s), 41% of CFOs say they terminated the employee contract, whilst 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process from scratch and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement. Close to one-third (31%) of finance employers decided to deal with the matter internally by looking for an internal vacancy the candidate would be better suited for and 30% developed a training program to develop the employee’s skills to the desired level. Still less than one in four (23%) adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if the employee’s performance would improve.

The cost of a bad hire

Hiring the wrong person for the job can significantly impact the organisation. The top three consequences of a bad hire according to finance employers are increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%) and higher recruitment costs (33%). Other cited negative consequences include increased workloads for managers (27%), lost productivity (26%) and low staff morale (23%).

Bad hires can be highly costly for companies, though many Hong Kong companies struggle with accurately calculating the cost of hiring the wrong person. While 11% say they don’t track these costs, almost half (47%) fail to compile all the data in a single overview. Almost three in 10 (29%) say some costs are not accurately measurable and 9% admit they have not looked at doing it. Merely 3% say they do not find it challenging.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Businesses go to great lengths to find the right candidate, but the cost of not hiring an adequate employee can be significant. Whether organisations decide to terminate their employment or invest in additional training, it will impact the company financially and can cause significant disruption and stress to the existing workforce, indicating the importance of getting it right.”

“While some factors, such as cultural fit, attitude, or even the credibility of candidates’ qualification or experience, can be challenging to account for in an interview; an experienced interviewer and a rigorous hiring process can prevent a wrong hire to take place, such as by asking the right questions, thoroughly testing skills and meticulous reference checking. Employers would benefit from reviewing their hiring policies to ensure they strike the right balance between efficiency and rigour,” concluded Adam Johnston.

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About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 150 CFOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. >

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