UGH! It's a nightmare. Your new employee exaggerated their skill set, and here you are three months in, and you have someone on the payroll who needs to pull their weight. You're probably paying them too much, and to add insult to injury, you still need a person to do the job they are underqualified for!
It's an awkward situation when you discover an employee has exaggerated their skill set after you hire them. The most important thing is to take action quickly and be prepared to act in a firm but fair manner.
The first step is to have a conversation and let the employee know you are aware they exaggerated their skill set when they were hired, and explain why this is unacceptable. Make it clear that if future performance does not improve, you may need to consider other avenues, such as demotion or termination.
Depending on how wide the divide is, you may want to provide training or resources, so the employee has an opportunity to develop their skills and reach expectations. Pro tip—Always gather evidence of substandard work before taking any disciplinary action; this will make your case stronger if the employee challenges your decision later on.
And what about the Quiet Quitter?
This phenomenon happens when an employee begins to put no more effort into their job than is absolutely necessary. It's difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons why this happens, but it usually results from a disengaged employee who feels unappreciated or undervalued in their current role. They may also be dissatisfied with their salary, benefits package, lack of career progression opportunities, etc. It's a double-edged sword because the thing they want—better pay, new opportunities—is the very thing they won't get when they put so little effort into their current role.
In order to prevent this from happening – and retain valuable employees – showing employees they are valued and appreciated is the first step. Other steps include offering good working conditions, including competitive salaries and benefits, ongoing training and development opportunities, fostering an inclusive workplace culture, supporting mental health awareness initiatives, being transparent about company goals and progress, and offering flexible working arrangements. Honest and open communication with employees about their job satisfaction, listening to feedback, and acting on it where possible helps build trust and create an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and motivated.
What to do?
Ultimately, it is important to prioritize learning, growth, and positive reinforcement for all employees so everyone can reach their fullest potential. This will ultimately create a healthier work environment and help ensure that similar issues don't happen in the future.
Take a hard look at your interviewing process, so you're better able to assess potential candidates accurately and identify the exaggerators early on. Stay flexible during the onboarding process since no one can guarantee perfect performance from day one. With time and proper guidance, that underqualified employee just might develop and become a valuable team member.
Looking to refine the candidates you attract? I can help you build out your customized employment journey!