Hiring for healthier employees

Employees at companies with high turnover are likely to have high levels of stress

Have you ever worked for a company in which employee morale was low and there was a significant disconnect between management and non-management?

Most people at some point in their lives can answer “yes” to this question. Furthermore, if they were asked the level of stress involved in the situation, they would likely rate it as high. And when stress is high, employee health and wellness suffers.

Companies with high turnover are likely to be companies with high levels of stress. Keeping in mind that all areas of our lives are connected physically and/or emotionally and affect our health and wellness positively or negatively, hiring the right employees can have far-reaching positive effects for countless co-workers and the company as a whole.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by Nicole Torres, “It’s Better to Avoid a Toxic Employee than Hire a Superstar,” smart hires can be four times as productive as the average worker, while bad hires bring much more costly problems, such as violating company policies, sexual harassment, workplace violence and fraud.

Although the direct financial costs to companies hiring average, or worse, non-productive workers, can be high, the associated costs can be even greater, including increased employee stress, illness and turnover. These far-reaching financial losses are more difficult to quantify but are very real, nonetheless.

Getting back to the basic human need to feel safe, employees who work in an environment in which their employer hires people who work well together creates an atmosphere in which people feel comfortable and can better focus on being productive.

When employees who intrinsically want to be productive team players are repeatedly challenged with co-workers or supervisors who create friction, the negative effects create a multitude of problems, all of which are likely to decrease overall employee health, and unhealthy employees are costly employees.

Hiring the best employees is one part of the equation. Another is management’s willingness to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for employees, including listening to employees’ suggestions and concerns seriously — giving employees a voice in their daily work environment.

Armand Hebert, business coach and owner of Hebert Consulting, specializes in helping companies hire the right employees, in part through pre-employment assessments.

Weighing in on this topic, he shared the following: “Too often, employers hear, ‘I quit!’ Seventy-five percent of all hiring is due to employee turnover. The top two causes of turnover are behavioral issues and poor organizational fit—issues which can and should be caught before an employee is hired. Companies need to proactively build teams that are happier, more productive and nontoxic. I always tell my clients that we can teach skills, but we can’t change attitude!”

Attitude is important. Negative people who struggle with working as part of a team are more likely to make unhealthy choices in life and create stressful situations for others. This bleeds into many different aspects of the work culture and disrupts a productive environment, causing stress to the rest of the team, if not the entire business community.

This problem costs co-workers their peace of mind and costs both the employees and the business money, time and has a direct impact on the health of the employees and the business. On the flip side, people who have a positive attitude, are flexible and work well with others, are more likely to make healthy decisions in many areas of their lives and are also more likely to contribute to reduced stress in the workplace.

Employers should view the hiring process as an important part of their employee wellness plan. Inviting the right people to join the team, while screening out toxic people, will benefit the health of your employees in countless ways, and increase your bottom line.

Carol Phillips, a Manchester-based health and wellness expert, can be reached through her website at HealthDesignNH.com.


Categories: Business Advice, Workplace Advice