Episode #262 – Why It is Not a Good Idea to Keep a Poor Performer on Your Team

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #262 - Why It is Not a Good Idea to Keep a Poor Performer on Your Team
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Joel: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we will be talking about why it is not a good idea to keep a poor performer on your team. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Joel. As always, I am glad to be here with you.

Joel: Stacy, we have not discussed this topic before on our podcast,  have we?

Stacy: No, not really, although we have touched upon it in passing. It is an important topic all the time, but it is especially timely right now.

Joel: Why is this topic specifically timely right now Stacy?

Stacy: Because of the state of the job market. It is a candidates’ job market and employers are finding it difficult to find the people they want to hire, especially in the Veterinary profession. Due to these conditions, an employer may be tempted to hang onto a poor performer at their Veterinary practice or Animal Health company. After all, it is difficult to replace people these days under any circumstances, let alone when you have to fire someone or let them go.

Joel: But some people have a tough time firing employees, don’t they?

Stacy: It is never easy to fire someone. Or, if that language is too severe, then it is never easy to “let them go,” which is a phrase I just used a few moments ago. However, there is no overlooking poor performance. Or perhaps more accurately, there should be no overlooking poor performance.

Joel: So why is it so difficult to do?

Stacy: Well, there are a variety of reasons, starting with the one we just addressed, that it is difficult to replace workers these days. Another reason could include that the employee’s supervisor does not like conflict or awkward situations. Sure, no one enjoys these kinds of situations, and some people go out of their way to avoid them. And that includes not addressing a poor performer. And when a person wants to avoid conflict, then they will start to make excuses as to why they don’t do what needs to be done.

Joel: What are some of the excuses that a hiring manager or boss will make in a situation like that?

Stacy: For example, perhaps the supervisor likes the employee. The person has a good attitude. That makes it easier for the supervisor to avoid addressing the situation. Or maybe the supervisor is completely overwhelmed with everything involved with the business, which is more than likely the case. They start to think, “I don’t have the time to hire and train a new person right now.”

Joel: Do they think that if they just wait long enough, the situation will get better?

Stacy: Yes! That does happen sometimes. That hopeful thought, in turn, makes the supervisor feel better and less guilty about contemplating terminating one of their employees.

Joel: But that is not a great solution, is it?

Stacy: No, it is not. We have mentioned this in previous podcast episodes, but the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is very low at the moment. In fact, you might way that it is pretty much nonexistent. However, that does not mean that holding onto poor performers is a better alternative to firing them in this current economic environment.

The bottom line is that keeping a poor performer can do more harm to your business than good.

Joel: Why is that, Stacy? What are some specific reasons why that is the case?

Stacy: I have three big reasons, starting with the fact that a poor performer can bring everyone down, starting with their performance. If they consistently miss deadlines or make mistakes, then the other employees in the business are affected, including the owner of the business. Having to deal with that on a daily basis can wear a person down. Not only that, but what if the poor performer does not have a good attitude, as opposed to the scenario we posed earlier? That will make the situation even worse and bring morale down even further.

Joel: Doesn’t that put the business at risk because people might want to leave?

Stacy: That is a great question, and you are absolutely right. You could find yourself in a situation where since you kept a poor performer, you are now at risk for losing your high performers. That is exactly the opposite of what you want.

The second reason is company culture. Employee morale is a big part of the culture of your Veterinary practice or Animal Health company. If morale takes a hit, then the culture takes a hit. When employee morale is suffering, the people who work for the organization start to not look forward to going to work. That is the “beginning of the end” of a good culture. That is because if they are not looking forward to going to work, then they probably also cannot wait to leave work and put forth the least amount of effort necessary to get through the day.

Joel: And company culture is a big part of what candidates are looking for in an employment opportunity these days, isn’t it?

Stacy: Yes, that is the case, and it underscores the importance of maintaining a great culture. You cannot sacrifice the culture that you already have because you are afraid of firing one person. And this leads to the third big reason, which is customer satisfaction.

This might the biggest one, because if there is one thing worse than losing good employees, it is losing good customers. And when you have poor employee morale, declining employee performance, and a deficient company culture, then you’d better believe that customer satisfaction is going to suffer, as well. And the long-term health and well-being of the practice depends upon the satisfaction of its customers.

In the veterinary profession, repeat customers are vital. So are “word of mouth” customers. People want to take their pets to a place they can trust. That is why customer satisfaction is so important. Without repeat customers and without current customers telling their friends and neighbors how great your practice is, your practice will invariably suffer. That means fewer appointments, less revenue, and less profit.

Joel: That sounds like three good reasons right there—fewer appointments, less revenue, and less profit.

Stacy: You are right! Those are three good reasons!

Joel: Stacy, what else can employers do in this situation?

Stacy: They can conduct a confidential search. In such a situation, the employer enlists the services of an executive recruiter or search consultant to conduct a covert search to replace the underperformer.

Joel: So, the underperformer is still working while the search is ongoing?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. However, once a suitable candidate is found, then that employee is let go in lieu of that replacement.

Joel: Stacy, does this happen often?

Stacy: It happens more often than you might think. A confidential search like the one I just mentioned is part of the “hidden job market.” This job market exists because there are employers that want to fill open positions within their organization on a confidential basis. As a result, they do not advertise these positions through traditional means, such as online job posting.

In fact, according to ExecuNet, 80% of executive-level jobs are not posted online. For the purposes of ExecuNet, an executive-level job is one that involves a starting salary of $150K or more. According to Business Insider, at least 70% of jobs are not listed online. According to Forbes.com, approximately 80% of jobs are not listed or posted online.

Joel: Wow, that is a large percentage of jobs that are not posted online!

Stacy: It is a lot more than you think.

Joel: So, while there are many jobs out there right now in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, jobs that you can see online at places like the AVMA website and Indeed, there are also other jobs that you cannot see. Jobs that are part of the “hidden job market.”

Stacy: Yes, that is absolutely right. This is yet another reason why it is a good idea to build a relationship with an experienced and reputable recruiter in your field. There are two other reasons to have a relationship with a recruiter.

Joel: What are those?

Stacy: Second, recruiters have inside knowledge about these employers. They know about the company culture, they know about the management and leadership, and they know about the history and vision of the organization, among other things. A recruiter who has a relationship with you, will share this information with you, and they can give you an advantage over other job candidates who are being considered for the position.

Third, recruiters know what it takes to find and then land the job of your dreams, so that you can grow your career the way that you want to. We at The VET Recruiter can help you do all of these things, starting with the Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs that our clients have asked us to fill.

There is an important thing to keep in mind about recruiters and confidentiality.

Joel: What is that?

Stacy: A reputable recruiter will keep the confidentiality of both candidates and clients. They know how valuable information is and they know the best time to share information. If a client wants to conduct a confidential search, the recruiter will keep their confidence. If a candidate wants to conduct a confidential job search, the recruiter will keep their confidence, as well. The recruiter has nothing to gain by breaching the confidence of the people they represent.

Joel: Stacy, we are just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?

Yes, I would like to add that in addition to being a Certified Personnel Consultant, I am also a Certified Employee Retention Specialist. I am one of less than 50 professionals and search consultants around the world who holds this certification. This certification helps our clients become better at retaining their employees in order for them to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Once again, hiring the best candidates is only part of the equation. The other part is doing what is necessary to retain those candidates for the long haul so that you can benefit from the tremendous amount of value they provide to your organization.

Joel: Stacy, thank you so much for all this great information about the candidate and employee experience in Animal Health and Veterinary hiring. And there is additional information The VET Recruiter website about your services for employers, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. We have information about our services for employers, including a detailed breakdown of our recruiting process and testimonials from Animal Health companies and Veterinary organizations that have used our services and continue to use them. And since The VET Recruiter has a long history of success during the past two-plus decades, we also have a list of positions that we have placed in the past.

I also recommend that those who visit the website also sign up for our monthly newsletter, which also contains hiring tips and strategies. You can also follow The VET Recruiter on the various social media channels, including LinkedIn, and you can do that right from The VET Recruiter website.

And of course, you can get a quote of our services, submit a job order, or request a consultation. We would be happy to speak with you about your Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring needs.

Joel: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Joel, and thank you. It has been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!