Low Performing Workers Take a Toll on Managers and Staff

CFOs tried to quantify the toll a low-performing worker takes on employee morale.

An employee who can’t keep up with work demands takes a heavier toll on a business than some may think, new research suggests. Global staffing firm Robert Half recently asked CFOs to estimate how much time is spent coaching underperforming employees, and the answer was 26% of working hours, on average—translating to more than 10 hours out of a 40-hour workweek.


Finance executives also acknowledged that hiring mistakes negatively affect team morale.


CFOs were asked, “To what extent do you think making a poor hiring decision affects the morale of your team?” Forty-four percent said it has a great effect on employee morale, while 47% reported it has somewhat of an effect on employee morale. Only 9% said a low-performing employee does not affect employee morale at all.


“A bad hire is tremendously expensive for a company,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “The time and money managers spend on recruitment and training is lost, and they also have to fix underperformers’ mistakes and deal with their effects on staff morale and productivity.”


The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.