Keeping Toxicity Out of Your Onboarding Process is More Cost-Effective Than Hiring Superstars, Says Study

onboarding processAs an employer, you’re always on the lookout for your next superstar. The employee that takes a leadership role, heightens productivity by improving processes and shows exceptional dedication and loyalty as they work. However, while you may get excited to usher a superstar into your onboarding process, a new study out says that you should spend less time identifying superstars and more time weeding out toxic candidates.


Recently Entrepreneur reported on a study released by Harvard Business School that focused on the damage that comes with a toxic employee. The findings reveal that the cost of a toxic employee is high, with some estimates over $12,000 including factors like insurance and legal costs. By contrast, the same study estimates that a standout employee provides a financial benefit of around $5,000.


Your company, like many others, may spend a lot of time and energy hunting down your next superstar. Your talent management process may be centered on identifying applicants with a stellar educational background, extensive experience and multiple awards, paired with a personality that shines during interviews. Again, like many companies, you can likely think of a time when you thought you had a superstar pegged and then ended up regretting the hire.


How can you identify a toxic employee? The study from Harvard Business School identified some interesting trends that provide critical information for your onboarding process.
While you might expect toxicity to stand out, objective data shows that toxic candidates and superstars may look deceivingly similar. For instance, toxic employees often have high productivity rates, a quality companies usually identify with high-priority hires.


Toxic employees also place a high priority on rule-following. While this may reflect a candidate’s desire to communicate what a hiring manager wants to hear, it may also indicate inflexibility in a candidate. Ideally you want a candidate that generally follows rules, but knows when it’s appropriate to expand upon or analyze a rule, too, in the name of productivity or calculated risk.
Toxic employees may also exhibit passive-aggressive or narcissistic tendencies. These undermine company culture and create an atmosphere that feels “unsafe” for fellow employees to learn and grow.


The similarity between a standout employee and a talent acquisition move you’ll regret points to the need for objective information in the hiring and onboarding process. Implementing a behavioral assessment in your talent management strategies provides a data-driven approach to hiring. You’ll see clear information about your candidate with reliable predictions about their likelihood of success in a position.


A behavioral assessment gives you critical measures of a candidate’s motivations, values and behavior patterns that go far beyond what an interview, resume or even a personality test can tell you. In addition, the value of using behavioral assessments doesn’t end at the onboarding process; it is a tool that can bring benefits across your organization with ensuring you have your employees matched with their best possible role.


PI Consulting Group offers the Predictive Index, a reliable behavioral assessment that brings a data-driven, objective clarity to your hiring process. Don’t let a toxic hire you’ve mistaken for a superstar cost your company money, time and other resources. Call PI Consulting Group to begin a conversation about your talent management strategies.