According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged. The report also indicates that a disengaged employee can cost a company up to $3,400 per year for every $10,000 of salary. As costs set in, managers must ask themselves: should we invest in additional training in hopes of productivity and efficiency improvements, or begin the hiring process to start with fresh talent?

Of course, there are many factors that go into deciding whether to invest in training or talent acquisition: an employee’s track record, aptitude, work ethic, etc. There are many ways for employers to track the performance level of employees to determine whether it’s time to bring in fresh talent.

Keeping Employees Engaged

If managers are inclined to invest more time and training into retaining current employees, a key point of focus is maintaining the engagement of employees in their position and their goals. To avoid disengagement among their team, leaders should ensure employees are working toward obtainable short and long-term goals. Company leadership would also benefit from continuously seeking ways to recognize employees for outstanding work and encourage greater work-life balance.

Understanding the Root of Underperformance

There is a natural ebb and flow that is expected in employee performance. However, when entire teams begin to underperform a common culprit is that they are overburdened. An overworked staff can often lead to decreased efficiency, poor morale, and overall ineffectiveness. A symptom of overworked employees is an input of longer hours yet a disproportional level of effectiveness. Checking in with employees to evaluate their stress levels and perception of their workload is important for a manager to evaluate. Reviewing customer satisfaction surveys, growth analysis data and other performance reports can also uncover the latent status of current employees.

A state of stagnation among current team members is another indicator of a need for change. If employees aren’t continuously pitching new ideas, making an effort to bring in new business, or constantly bettering themselves, those employees are dragging the business down. At this point, hiring managers may consider bringing in new, motivated talent who will drive the business to success.

Perfect Timing

It’s important to know the market and when to start the hiring process. The current low unemployment rate can make hiring quickly and efficiently more difficult than ever, resulting in costly vacancies. Approximately 60% of positions are still vacant after 12 weeks—costing productivity, culture, and affecting overall employee retention.

When Mark Zuckerberg brings new talent to his team, he does so based on the talent of the individual, not any set of skills he’s looking for. He believes that finding a role for a talented person is more beneficial for efficiency and success than looking for someone to fill a specific position.

Regardless of how businesses choose to react to a lingering need in the company, it’s crucial to take action fast. It’s essential for businesses to be preemptive of hiring needs and bring in talent before desperation sets in—leading to suffering from the cost of a bad hire. Partnering with a search firm allows companies to maintain productivity, while the firm headhunts the perfect talent for the role. Recruitment firms have the ability to contact currently-employed professionals with track-records of success who can quickly and efficiently make up for the cost of lost productivity from the ineffectiveness of those who were previously in the position. There will consistently be roles to fill, so companies should be prepared by always searching for great talent.