October 2022 Newsletter

What Change do you want to make in the world? 

Sage encourages people to be their true selves at work, and their approach is outlined below. It’s fantastic.

If you need to attract and engage candidates, this is how.

If you’d like to learn more, just get in touch.

Thought and comments welcome.

Highlighting Humanity Amanda Cusdin @SAGE

Why We Can’t Quit Talking About Quiet Quitting

The viral trend of the summer, “quiet quitting” has been anything but quiet — and some would argue that it’s not even a trend. What started as a 17-second TikTok meditation on hustle culture has quickly become the latest battlefront between employees and their bosses.

Some say quiet quitting is a response from pandemic-worn workers fending off burnout; others dismiss it as a Gen Z buzzword for the age-old practice of slacking off on the job. Media mogul Ariana Huffington went so far as to call it “a step toward quitting on life,” while the Boston Globe hailed it as the beginning of a quiet revolution that could expand to quiet cooking, quiet parenting, and quiet laundry.

The term itself is fraught with imprecision. Quiet quitting doesn’t actually involve quitting. Instead it describes what some call “acting your wage,” that is, doing precisely what your job requires of you. Full stop. 

“All jobs have core elements, which we call in-role performance . . . quiet quitting is quitting everything beyond that,” says Anthony Klotz, a management professor at University College London and the person who coined the term “great resignation.”  

Anthony doesn’t see quiet quitting as inherently good or bad. He thinks that workers who go above or beyond the call of duty — those who exhibit what he calls “citizenship behaviors” — tend to do so when they think the organization has rightly invested in them. The ones who feel that they’ve been left out to dry, he says, are bound to do the bare minimum.

Bonnie Dilber, a recruiting manager with Zapier, goes a step further. In a recent LinkedIn post she admonished companies for what she terms “quiet firing.” “This happens ALL THE TIME,” she wrote, listing some common symptoms: “You don’t receive feedback or praise”; “You get raises of 3% or less while others are getting much more”; and “You’re not kept up to date on information that is relevant or critical to your work.” 

When this happens, Bonnie says employees are made to feel underappreciated and will eventually leave to find another job. Or worse, their performance will dip so badly that they’ll be terminated.

In a recent column for the Washington Post, writer Karla L. Miller posits that the quiet quitting/quiet firing phenomenon may be a byproduct of the work-from-anywhere model. With remote employees moving further away from their jobs and employers reducing office spaces, she says, “it’s starting to look like they’re daring one another to end the work relationship.” 

Veteran recruiter Adam Karpiak proposes an idea: “Instead of complaining about ‘quiet quitting’ companies should focus on ‘loud retaining,’” he wrote in a recent LinkedIn post. Organizations, he suggested, should put more effort into making employees feel valued rather than merely tolerated.

Embedded in that notion is the basic concept of fairness: Workers should be compensated accordingly for the job they do, extra mile and all. Robert Lloyd-Charles, a senior learning and performance support analyst/officer at U.S. Bank, offered to rebrand the trend as “100 Percenting.” “Quiet quitters are giving 100%,” he wrote. “They are doing their jobs. . . . [T]hey are demanding to be paid 150% percent of their wages when they’re asked to do 150% of the work. That’s not laziness. That’s math.”

Indeed many in the TA community are uncomfortable with the framing of quiet quitting. Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify, an HR services company, said in a LinkedIn post, “I’m very heartened by the volume of HR practitioners in my network calling bs on the term.”

Despite an uptick in employee disengagement, Lars thinks that calibrating your professional commitments and capacities in order to protect your well-being is a natural function of what it is to be an employee in 2022 — or any year, really. (As Adam wryly phrased it in a LinkedIn post last month, “it’s only quiet quitting if it comes from the Champagne region of France otherwise it’s just sparkling boundaries.”)

In fact, once you scratch away the layers, it can start to feel like quiet quitting is just noisy social media shorthand for a more universal human condition: work.

“We’re desperate to try to find some unique rationale for these very normal employee sentiments and actions,” says Tricia Mansfield, the chief talent officer at Porter Novelli. “It will always be as simple as ‘take care of your employees’ (however you may define it) and they will take care of your clients.”

Andrew Gadomski, the founder of Aspen Analytics, adds: “We have bigger problems to handle in HR beyond current employees that meet performance, claim decent personal boundaries, and stay.”

Full article from Forbes here.

Talk the Talk: 4 Tips for Better Conversations with Your Top Candidates

Consider the job interview. The worst ones can feel like an interrogation, with one party grilling the other. But the best unfold like a dialogue, a two-way exchange of information that’s relaxed, focused, and insightful. 

A successful interview reveals the candidates strengths and weaknesses while whetting their interest in your company. And an effective interview also requires more than a go-to list of time-tested questions — it requires good conversation. 

“We talk all day every day, it’s the No. 1 thing we do” yet we’re not very effective at it, says Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School. Michael, along with his colleague, Alison Wood Brooks, used sophisticated algorithms to analyze thousands of everyday conversations — from parole hearings to speed-dating sessions to coffee shop chitchat — to find out what works and what doesn’t. 

The new field of research is causing some business professionals to reexamine their approach to our most basic social interactions. The thinking goes that if you can use data to optimize conversation, be it a sales call or a candidate screening, you’ll have a better chance at a positive outcome. And these days, companies are starving for positive outcomes.

With offer acceptance rates in many industries having dropped significantly, there’s never been a better time to touch up your talking skills. While candidates want great comp and a strong company culture, they also want to be wooed. 

Here are four tips for having better conversations with your top candidates:

1. Listen more than you talk 

You don’t need to be a social scientist to know that active listening is the cornerstone of good conversation. Great listeners can make a candidate feel comfortable, supported, and confident. Poor listeners run the risk of coming off as apathetic, even hostile. 

But just how much listening should you do? Gong, a Palo Alto software company that focuses on customer interactions, crunched data from 2 million sales calls and learned that top performers had a talk-to-listening ratio of 46:54. 

Of course you might argue that recruiters aren’t making sales pitches — but aren’t they? Companies need to be all-in to land candidates these days. And passive candidates, who aren’t actively looking, may be particularly challenging to persuade.

“Most passive candidates are willing to casually discuss potential career moves,” says recruiting veteran Lou Adler. As tempting as it is to launch into a list of ways in which your company can further a candidate’s career, it’s just as important to slow down and let the candidate know that they’re being heard and appreciated.

2. Ask follow-up questions

There’s a common misconception that good listeners are like sponges, passively soaking up everything a person says. But research shows that the best listeners are more like trampolines, says the Harvard Business Review. “They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy,” HBR says, “they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking.”

One way to keep the conversation bouncy is to ask lots of follow-up questions. They signal to the speaker that you’re interested in what they’re saying, and not just biding your time until it’s your turn to speak. They also have the ability to route a conversation into a new direction that offer insights about a candidate that you might not glean otherwise. 

As a bonus, follow-up questions don’t require a ton of preparation. If you’re an on-the-ball recruiter who spends a lot of time talking to candidates, they should come naturally. So long as you’re listening.

3. Keep questions open-ended

Yes-and-no questions may be the coin of the realm in the courtroom but they’re conversation killers in the workplace. Great listeners tend to be insatiably curious, says John Stewart, author of U&Me: Communicating in Moments That Matter. The best way to exercise that curiosity: Ask more open-ended questions. 

Talking to Scientific American, John said that an easy hack is to structure your questions around the phrase “say more about.” For example: “Can you say a bit more about how that makes you feel?” or “Can you say more about that to help me understand?” 

Open-ended questions also give you a bigger window into a candidate: their motivations, hopes, concerns, problem-solving strategies, etc. Ask enough of them and you’ll have a more complete picture of what kind of employee you’re recruiting.

4. Have a sense of humor

According to behavioral scientists, one of the core traits of conversational excellence is the ability to use humor effectively. Telling a good joke can make a person seem more likable, confident, even more competent. But there are risks. 

What is funny to one set of ears may fall flat on another or, worse, be offensive. How do you navigate the minefield of playfulness without doing more damage than good?

Know the boundaries, says Alison Wood Brooks. In an experimental study, Alison and her colleagues found that people who told inappropriate jokes were perceived as lower status and less competent, even if the joke was funny. However, an unfunny joke that was appropriate did no harm to the joke teller and in some instances increased their status.

Too much to untangle for a quick punchline? Then stay away from jokes. Unless you’re skilled at telling them, they can come off as clumsy and scripted, whereas a real-life story that’s funny and relevant to the conversation will be a lot more effective. In the end, the goal is to make a connection with the job seeker not show them how clever you are.

Full article from NPR here