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Ducks in a Row Recruitment Process Uncovers 2 Percenters


Monday, 18th January 2016 at 10:14 am
Di Armbrust
Hiring the wrong person for your organisation can have detrimental effects, including contributing to the loss of good employees, writes HR specialist Di Armbrust.

Monday, 18th January 2016
at 10:14 am
Di Armbrust


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Ducks in a Row Recruitment Process Uncovers 2 Percenters
Monday, 18th January 2016 at 10:14 am

Hiring the wrong person for your organisation can have detrimental effects, including contributing to the loss of good employees, writes HR specialist Di Armbrust.

Marking sure your new hire can do the job and is the right fit for your organisation is important because the effect of hiring the wrong person (a “2 percenter”) can cause significant ripple effects throughout the organisation.

The most effective way to ensure you hire the right people is to have a robust recruitment process in place.

But it can’t just be any process – it needs to be a risk management process. It’s a process that needs to be conducted effectively and should not be rushed. Because if you get it wrong, the repercussions can have devastating effects on the productivity and performance of anyone who regularly interacts with the 2 percenter.

Without a robust recruitment process in place, it is easy for the 2 percenters – those that struggle with their job or have poor behaviours (the troublemakers and disrupters) – to slip through the cracks. They can look great on paper. Their references can be excellent and they can even interview well. But once they are entrenched, the cracks can start to appear.

Digging deeper will help you uncover these 2 percenters – the small number of people who can make the workplace a place to dread, particularly if you are a manager.

2 percenters come in many guises. The ones with behavioural issues need to be dealt with immediately. Ignoring bad behaviour is a slippery slope – the longer a poor behaviour is exhibited the harder it is to change. The organisation can be exposed to around a 20 per cent loss of productivity of all those who work around a 2 percenter. That’s one fifth of the wages bill for these people.

If you don’t act swiftly, the organisation can also be at risk of losing good employees because they see their manager as a poor manager. This is called the “Killing Bambi” lifecycle. Bambi is a euphemism for your good employees.

Another ripple effect is the risk of cross infection. Workplaces are microcosms of emotions, thoughts and feelings – we are human beings and we are impacted by the energy of others. When someone is unhappy, negative or disruptive this touches those around them. While the infection can be fleeting, it does impact productivity and the culture of the workplace.

The best course of action, to avoid these situations, is to spot the 2 percenter during the recruitment process. It is easy when you are under pressure to fill a role quickly, to cut some corners – but you end up paying for it in the long run.

Embracing a “ducks in a row” recruitment process sets up the steps you need to go through before you offer a contract. This process has a number of check and cross check steps designed to establish why you should not employ someone. It is about looking for and checking and cross-checking threads of information.

There are a 100 reasons why you should employ someone, however a recruitment process should be about why you shouldn’t employ someone. It is more time consuming to manage a 2 percenter once they are employed. It makes more sense to identify them before hiring them.

There are only a small number of people – the 2 percenters – that need to managed, with the other 98 per cent just needing to be led. This 98 per cent can be trusted to get on and do the job as long as their manager has made it clear what needs to be done and their team know the parameters in which they need to operate. This allows people management to be simplified.

Many organisations keep putting in rules because of the small number of people who break the rules (the 2 percenters). This just stifles innovation and creates a bureaucratic nightmare. The key to building a strong and efficient organisational foundation, starts with the recruitment process – not just any process but a risk management process to try to identify 2 percenters before they are employed.

About the Author: Di Armbrust is a senior HR consultant based in Brisbane and the author of The 2% Effect – Removing Complexity and Managing for High Performance. She is a Certified Professional member of the Australian Human Resources Institute and is a Commissioner for Declarations in Queensland. Di is a recipient of a Pride in Workmanship Award from the Rotary Club.


Di Armbrust  |   |  @ArmbrustDi

Di Armbrust is a senior HR consultant based in Brisbane and the author of The 2% Effect – Removing Complexity and Managing for High Performance.

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