As summer winds down, many churches are gearing up for a new season of ministry. Perhaps you're one of them. And if your church has an open staff role or two, you may be deep in the hiring process right now as well.
Finding the right people to fill important ministry positions is crucial. Make a mistake here, and it can end up being extremely costly for your church in many ways.
So how can you avoid making a detrimental hiring blunder? One that sucks up precious resources and sets your ministry back rather than moving it forward?
To help you hire wisely, let's look at 5 key costs your church faces when the wrong person is brought onto the team.
Financial Costs Add Up
The most obvious expense is your salary and benefits to the mis-hired employee. This alone can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
If the fit is bad enough, you may have to dismiss the person and provide severance pay. Or go through a lengthy (and exhausting) performance management process.
Either way, their lack of productivity equates to sunk costs and wasted resources. The money could have funded more deserving ministry efforts.
Low morale and disengagement also reduce staff effectiveness. Co-workers start clocking in and out, doing the bare minimum to get by. Resentment builds when some pull more than their share of the weight.
Regrettably, firing and replacing a bad hire costs even more money. Job posting fees, background checks, interview time costs, training and ramp-up all take their toll.
Not to mention potential unemployment insurance premium increases.
The financial toll of a wrong hire decision is steep.
Leadership Credibility Takes a Hit
When an employee doesn't work out, it's seen as a failure of leadership. After all, the top church leadership hired the person.
If multiple bad hires happen in succession, confidence in leadership erodes. People understandably doubt their judgment and decision-making.
This "hit" to a leadership team's credibility can linger and be difficult to undo. Any change or initiative they propose down the road may face resistance or skepticism.
Morale and Culture Deteriorate
Toxic hires infect workplace culture and morale like a virus. They drag down the overall mood and spirit of your team.
Your staff wanted the open role filled with an eager team player ready to embrace the church's vision and values. When that doesn't happen, disappointment sets in quickly.
A bad hire disrupts camaraderie and unity. They don't fit in socially, or grumble about having to participate in team activities outside their strict job description. Some foster gossip and form cliques.
Your once harmonious and collaborative staff dynamic becomes strained. Productivity suffers, along with joy and passion for ministry.
The situation festers until the problem employee departs, but the damage can linger long afterwards. Healing divided staff relationships and lifting morale is a long process.
Your Reputation as a Church Suffers
Word spreads quickly in church circles when a staff member doesn't work out. And unfortunately, gossip about the problem often travels farther than the truth.
Rumors circulate that the church leadership is in disarray, or that the church is an unhealthy place to work or worship. This hurts your reputation and makes it harder to attract quality candidates to future open positions.
You may also lose great prospective staff, volunteers and members. People may seek out other churches rather than risk joining what they hear is a troubled faith community.
Repairing reputation damage is difficult, especially if it deters guests from ever setting foot in your doors.
Opportunity Costs Limit Your Ministry
When your team is focused on managing a problem employee, their time and attention is diverted from more important ministry initiatives.
Rather than serving members, innovating and planning for the future, they're locked into addressing ongoing performance issues. Effort that could further your mission is redirected toward limiting damage.
The problem hire also monopolizes your time as a church leader. Counseling them, documenting issues and structuring performance improvement plans take priority. This keeps you from pursuing growth opportunities or advancing your larger vision.
In a very real sense, the opportunity cost is all the good that could have been done, but wasn't. And imagine the progress you can't make because your bad hire holds you back.
Are You Ready to Hire Well?
The risks and downsides of making a wrong hire are massive for any church. How can you avoid getting stuck with the costs of a bad apple?
First, take your time and thoroughly vet each candidate. Look beyond superficial charm or credentials on paper. Probe their true character, competence and motivations.
Check references diligently. Look for small clues that reveal work ethic, integrity and relational abilities.
Involve other staff members throughout the process. Get their take on finalists. They'll provide insight into culture fit you may miss.
Most importantly, bathe the process in prayer. Ask God to clearly reveal his choice to you. Be willing to keep looking rather than settle.
Remember, who you welcome onto your team impacts all facets of your ministry. So choose wisely and carefully. The dividends will be well worth the diligence!
That sounds like a lot of work, right?
Well… it is!
That's where Chemistry Staffing comes in. Our team of experienced church consultants get to know the unique needs and culture of your congregation. We then leverage our expertise and network to help you hire someone who aligns with your vision and values.
Don't struggle through the hiring journey alone. Let's connect and discuss how Chemistry Staffing can help your church.
Schedule a free 30-minute Zoom consultation with us to explore your staffing needs. We're happy to answer any questions you have about optimizing your search process.
Pick a time that works for you. Let's start a conversation about powering your ministry with the right staff team. Our goal is to serve your church and equip you to find the healthy long-term fits your community deserves.
We are here when and if you need us.