HR Management & Compliance

Pros and Cons to Hiring Star Employees

Some organizations view hiring star employees as a no-brainer: hiring top talent means higher performance and higher profits. Others may be wary: hiring star employees comes at a high price, and it may not be justified. Where does your organization stand? What are some of the pros and cons to recruiting and hiring star employees?

Benefits to Hiring Star Employees

The benefits to recruiting and hiring star employees range from performance to management considerations. These include:

  • Better performance. An individual with a higher level of skills will bring a higher level of performance to the team.
  • Raising the level of coworkers. "When people see this superstar . . . they tend to start to work a little bit harder. They want to rise to the level of that better performer." Ronald M. Katz explained in a recent BLR webinar.
  • Increased productivity and profitability. This is the primary reason to try to recruit higher performers. This is what makes the increased recruiting and other costs worthwhile.
  • Ease of management. When someone is hired who already has ample experience, they should be easier to manage because they require less hand-holding and training. (Be careful on this one, however—it can’t be assumed that they won’t need managing at all!)
  • Short learning curve. Star employees are often fast learners, or they already know the function. This can mean less time spent ramping up to full productivity levels.

Drawbacks to Hiring Star Employees

Oftentimes the idea of recruiting and hiring star employees is met with resistance from some people in the management team. HR and managers alike may have concerns like:

  • Star employees cost more in terms of pay and recruiting costs.
  • They may actually be harder to manage because of their attitude or because they cause others to be resentful.
  • They may seem harder to fire because we’ve put our credibility on the line with the hire. Since they cost more, it can seem more difficult to justify the firing.
  • They may know more about the job than I do and make me expendable and take my job. (If you have a manager who is hesitant, consider that these people may need reassurance that the new hire is not being hired to replace others. Communication is key).

There are other challenges of integrating a star as well:

  • They may expect special treatment. Often this is true and needs to be managed. "You need to make sure that when you are bringing the person in (when you’re integrating the employee into your team), you’re working with them and you’re explaining to them exactly how things are going to work." Katz told us. Some differences in treatment may be justified, but be careful.
  • They may think they’re better than you, than their co-workers, or than the company. You may sense that they feel "you’re lucky to have me working here!" This may happen if you’ve recruited them from the competition, for example, especially if they previously worked at an organization with a higher market position or reputation.
  • There will be an impact on the rest of the team, and it may be unexpected. "You would hope when you hire somebody new – especially someone with all this skill and all this knowledge – that there would be relief amongst the team. They’d be happy to have the person there. They’d be so glad that we’ve finally filled out the team, and with someone so spectacular! And yet, a lot of times, there is resentment—particularly if they come in with this ’I’m better than you/you’re lucky to have me’ attitude." Katz explained.

It could be a good idea to have a mentor or buddy for the new hire. This can break down any resentment and help the person integrate better. Take care to integrate them in a way that makes them seem approachable. They should be recognized for their talents while ensuring they are treated as fairly as possible compared to the rest of the team.

For more information on hiring star employees and integrating them successfully, order the webinar recording of "From Star Hire to Star Performer: Ensure Your New Employees Shine – and What to Do if They Don’t." To register for a future webinar, visit http://catalog.blr.com/audio.

Ronald M. Katz, SPHR, is the president of Penguin Human Resource Consulting, LLC. He consults and trains in performance management, staffing, diversity, sexual harassment and fostering intergenerational harmony.

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