How To Tell When Your New Hire Isn’t Working

9 April, 2015
Charlie Hooper

How To Tell When Your New Hire Isn’t Working

9 April, 2015
Man covered in post-it notes
We've talked previously about how an underperforming intern should be dealt with. We discussed how an employer should first address questions that could save them from having to move forward with disciplinary action, and that will also help out the SME in the long run.

But sometimes a new hire just doesn't respond. Once you've considered the common solutions and problems here are some signs that it’s now time to go further.

If it’s ongoing. You've done everything you can, and now you need to get a bit sterner with them. Remember, its bad practice not to give a warning and transition plan before dismissal (unless for something like gross misconduct), so you should let them know that they need to make a change if they want to keep their job. This is where the ability to wear more than one hat is crucial. You’re starting a disciplinary, rather than nurturing, process. They might be trying their best but just not cutting it, but you need your SME to be running at the top of its game. You need the best.

If they can’t adapt. Our ‘common problems’ blog demanded adaptation from both you and your intern, but this isn’t just about resistance to your efforts. In a SME, growth is crucial. You need the new hire to keep pace with and move in the same direction as the company.

If they don’t they don’t fit the culture. We’ll talk more about making sure they do, but it’s difficult to predict from an interview. This isn’t about being social, it’s about being cohesive in the work environment. It might be time you both had a think about it.

If they start to have a detrimental effect on other workers. This could be their fault. However, it’s just as likely that it’s your fault. If you’re keeping an underperforming employee or intern around, it’s likely that you’re stretching yourself or others in the office a bit thin. This is OK to a point, as the long term gains of providing a little extra training can be exponential. After a while though, this both weakens the productivity of the rest of your work force and weakens their morale as they see standards slipping and you not taking steps to correct it. Something’s got to give.

If what they need, you can’t supply. It’s one thing taking the time to train and build up an intern or new hire’s skills or knowledge. That can be done. It’s a whole lot harder to teach things like intelligence, diligence, or social behaviour. Whilst these things can be influenced, it’s much harder to change someone’s attitude towards work than it is their ability to do it.

Terminating someone’s employment is one of the hardest things you have to do, especially in an SME, but it’s crucial that you recognise when it’s no longer an option, but a necessity.


Instant Impact are the UK's leading graduate recruitment agency. We specialise in helping SMEs and Startups hire graduates from the top universities.

If you need help with your hiring process, get in touch on 0203 762 2134.

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