Christian was hired onto a team of artists. He was an ideal employee—he had a great work ethic, great attitude, and was a great cultural fit. There was only one problem—as the company grew, it became apparent that his artistic skills weren’t up to their standards. Going down a traditional route, Christian was offered the additional training and resources he needed to bridge the skills gap from where he was to where he needed to be.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t working. Many employers can appreciate this dilemma. What could you do with someone like Christian who couldn’t do his job but embodied the ethos of the company?
Right person, right seat
No one starts a company with the intention of firing people. It’s hard to see your people fail. According to a research project by author Jim Collins, companies find success when they focus first on finding great people.
While it might be tempting to cut someone loose if they’re struggling to succeed after traditional attempts of offering more training, the turnover may cost more than you think. A study by the Center for American Progress suggests replacing an employee can cost more than 20 percent of their annual salary, while the Society for Human Resource Management pegs that number as high as 50–60 percent. That doesn’t even mention indirect costs, which SHRM suggests could be up to 90–200 percent of their salary.
Let culture be your gateway
Although Christian was struggling to succeed, one of his teammates, Jeff, was a very talented designer. He got along with most of his colleagues, he did great work and consistently made great contributions to the team.
Jeff, however, harbored a racial prejudice,...
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