No recruiter wants “refund cases”, where the client is entitled to a partial refund due to an engagement ending prematurely. We know in the end we must somehow be responsible, even though in the great majority of cases the issues are out of our control.
JAC Recruitment has researched the causes behind early terminations of its placed employees in the UK, and I am pleased to share the results with you.
There are four main reasons permanent placements turn out to be more temporary than anticipated, which break down as follows:
Poor performance – 42%;
Expectation discrepancy – 35%;
Internal relationships – 15%; and
Finding another opportunity – 8%.
Poor performance does not always mean a lack of effort or bad attitude on the part of the employee. This does not only relate to Sales roles in terms of targets not met either, but also to Back Office roles. In general terms, we found that despite getting through the interview some employees turned out in fact not to have some required “basic skills” – language, IT, numeracy, etc. – at the level the employer needed. In some cases there was sadly a minority who, despite the best efforts of all concerned to find the right people, were found simply to lack basic common sense!
The “discrepancy” category relates to people who have some expectation about the broader nature of the job which is dashed by the reality. What was described as an easy role by the interviewer but soon materialises into a more demanding job with the line manager is an example of this. Unmet expectations with regards to the workplace’s language environment or the amount of overtime required are further examples. There were also some more complex cases where the new employee’s hopes and expectations were “sabotaged” during handover from a disgruntled employee exiting the company.
Internal relationship breakdowns can arise very quickly. This may happen if existing staff resent the new arrival (perhaps they preferred his/her predecessor). Maybe they are guilty of “power harassment” – not necessarily anything to do with the race or sex of the new employee, but more a question of giving difficult or unpopular work to the newbie from a position of relative authority. Alternatively, the new employee’s point of contact can be away for a period, and this can leave the employee feeling untrained, unintegrated and alone. And of course, no-one can guarantee to like all their colleagues, whether they are new or existing.
Where people find other opportunities and leave quickly, the obvious question is why? The “push” will usually be one of the reasons above. However, there is also a “pull”, especially for the employee who agreed to a new role knowing it wasn’t really what he was looking for. We often find this to be the case with employees accepting fixed term contracts who soon found a similar job but with a permanent status. The only consolation in these cases (except for the recruitment consultant!) is that it is probably better for the employer to find out sooner that the new employee isn‘t committed, rather than investing heavily in training, building client relationships, etc., and then discover later that it was all wasted.
Next week I will consider in Part 2 of this article what you can do as employer to minimise these risks.