All Articles Leadership Management How to make sure your new employees fail from day one

How to make sure your new employees fail from day one

4 min read


Recently. I read that 20% of new employees either quit or are terminally disenchanted after only 45 days on the job.

Personally, I think it’s wonderful that so many companies are doing so well that they can afford to throw away that much money on hiring people who immediately learn to hate the jobs they get hired for. I’ve always said that the recession was simply a figment of our imagination, and now we finally have proof.

But I want to take this one step farther. I think some of these companies are accidentally rubbing their employees the wrong way. I think sometimes it just happens. And I don’t want my readers to have to rely on random chance when it comes to driving their new employees into the ground. So let’s look at some of the things you can do to actively oppress and demoralize your workforce. Sadness, engage!

Give your new employees only the most thankless assignments

We all know that new employees are hired specifically to do the things we don’t want to do anymore. It’s the same reason older children get so excited when they find out they’re going to have a new baby brother or sister, because they know they’ll get to pawn the vacuuming off on their little, weaker sibling. So make sure the work you assign to your new employees is menial, monotonous, and as unpleasant as possible.

I’ve actually heard one story (totally, completely not making this up) of a new employee who was asked to fire an older employee on his manager’s behalf.  Seriously. And what an opening-day message! “Welcome to the team, son! Now go make the team smaller. Oh, and by the way, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about the next time I hire someone. I’m like 75% sure I won’t ask that person to fire you. Glad you’re here!”

Provide little or no training

Learning takes time, and time is money. Which means you need to remind your new employees how much money they’re wasting by learning things.  I’m pretty sure they offer degrees in payroll processing and oil drilling and product consulting and every other job you could possibly be hiring people for, so there’s no reason these people should need any extra education. And don’t even think about sending them to a conference. You know all they’re going to do is sleep in and watch HBO anyway.

Give them opportunities to showcase their ignorance

You’ve burdened them with all the menial tasks you can think of, and you’ve given them no opportunity to learn the ropes. Which means now is the perfect time to expect them to perform at the same level as everyone else!

One innovative solution I’ve heard to make new employees feel confident and excited is to provide them an opportunity to present on a topic they know a lot about; it shows your older employees that your new hires actually do know something useful, and it shows your new hires that you appreciate their knowledge and experience. But I’m pretty sure “innovative” is a synonym for “dumb.” They’re pretty close to each other in the dictionary. So instead of coaching them and scaffolding off of their existing skills, drop them into the deep end and watch them flail! Assign them to lead important projects that you haven’t had time to get to yourself, then berate them loudly when they inevitably find themselves in way over their heads!

I hope this helps. At least one study suggests that each new employee you hire actually costs twice as much as the salary you pay them. And what’s the point of all that money if you can’t spend it on something extravagant and unnecessary? There are literally millions of luxury items you could buy if you wanted to, and there’s no reason that “endless stream of new, soon-to-be-unhappy employees” can’t be one of them.

Jeff Havens is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer who addresses leadership, generational issues, and other areas of professional development through a unique blend of content and entertainment. He has been a regular guest on Fox Business News and featured in CNBC, BusinessWeek, and Bloomberg News.  To learn more about Jeff’s keynote presentations and corporate training, visit