It’s amazing – the United States economy keeps rolling along. In January, despite job layoffs at high-profile companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, and Goldman Sachs, 517,000 jobs were added in this country. But the experts continued to project the beginning of much higher unemployment rates. However, another 236,000 jobs were added last month, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.5 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 7, 2023). But still, organizations are having difficulty hiring to fill open positions. What’s going on?
But wait – it’s even worse. Many of you have probably heard that a trend is moving throughout many organizations. Something called “quiet quitting.” This is a phenomenon where employees do only the minimum job requirements and put in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than is absolutely necessary. As such, it is something of a misnomer since the worker doesn’t leave their position and continues to collect a salary (Daugherty, Greg, What Is Quiet Quitting—and Is It a Real Trend? Investopedia, February 25, 2023).
In a September 2022 Harvard Business Review article, professors Anthony C. Klotz and Mark C. Bolino attempted to explain the quiet quitting phenomenon to worried executives. In their words, “Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.” (When Quiet Quitting Is Worse than the Real Thing. Harvard Business Review, September 2022).
The reaction of managers to the phenomenon has been mixed. Some have been tolerant, partly because the tight labor market of recent years makes replacing quiet quitters difficult, at least for the time being. Others have responded to quiet quitting by quietly or loudly firing employees they see as slacking off. In fact, “quiet firing” has become a buzz phrase in its own right, generally defined as making a job so unrewarding that the employee will feel compelled to resign. A 2022 Gallup survey suggested that at least half of the U.S. workforce consists of quiet quitters. (Is Quiet Quitting Real? Gallup, 2022).
Unfortunately, a more recent trend has emerged – “Bare Minimum Monday.” Marisa Jo, who boasts 154,000 followers on TikTok, popularized this term. Her posts criticized what she calls angst-filled preparation for the workweek and ambition-fueled exhaustion brought about by overactivity on the first of five consecutive workdays. Instead, Marisa Jo encourages workers to do as little as possible on Mondays, restoring their energy and focusing on other interests. (‘Bare Minimum Monday’ is the Newest TikTok Trend of Quiet Quitting and Cyberloafing Throughout the Work Day. Kelly, Jack, Forbes Leadership Series, February 2023).
Researchers say, “People have been annoyed with their work for a long time. Now all of a sudden, there’s a lot of media attention to worker organizing and strikes. It has made many workers say, “Oh, gee, maybe that would be better for me than putting up with this,” Ileen DeVault, a professor of labor history at Cornell University, told ABC News.
Most employers have already experienced much of what these university professors are documenting. The number of legally documented workers of our typical employment age range has declined for the past ten years. Then, COVID-19 accelerated that trend. Today, employers from all industries compete for good or minimally qualified employees like never before. Well, what is an employer to do, not hire anyone?
The answer is “no.” Instead, the most successful employers are looking at these times differently – the chance to hire, and retain, higher quality employees who will help lead the company toward the top of its business category, whether manufacturing, shipping, retail, wholesale, or yes, even IT.
But how can this be done? By hiring a different type of person than their competitors. That other employee has an internal drive to do the best possible consistently. These are the people who are driven to grow, succeed, and then advance continuously. These are not the” typical” job candidates. However, if you are a leader at any company today, these are the people that you want to hire consistently. But the secret is identifying these people when they apply to your company.
More than 15 years ago, E.A.S.I.-Consult® began developing and validating an online assessment process to identify candidates with the key skills for a specific job and the essential internal and interpersonal capabilities that distinguished between an average employee and an exceptional employee. Through these efforts, we documented that attributes such as dependability, teamwork, adaptability, and ability to learn and apply information separated the most successful workers from all others. From this, we created the Work Styles Predictor® (WSP®) pre-employment online questionnaire.
That’s right – the WSP doesn’t just evaluate a job seeker’s ability to perform critical activities on the job, such as reading a gauge properly, accurately discounting a product, or correctly obtaining a patient’s vital signs. It also identifies a person’s ability to speak with a customer effectively, work with fellow employees, along with their propensity to show up on time every day, and put forth a high level of effort throughout the workday. And, as we knew years ago, these overall skills, or as some say, “softer skills,” actually lead to the difference between an acceptable and outstanding employee. We’ve also found that this approach leads to lower worker turnover.
So, how do we identify these types of outstanding employees? It’s simple – use a validated WSP customized to your company and its target job(s). With years of experience, E.A.S.I-Consult can efficiently develop and validate a WSP and integrate it into your online employment application process in weeks. As a result, your organization can quickly find a different type of person for a final job interview. They will then begin to work effectively with your top-performing, longer-tenured workers.
Since hiring will not be any less challenging, it makes sense to turn to a proven approach. As one long-time client company noted, “We saw a difference among new employees in their first three months. They began doing a good job immediately and stayed with us.”
Contact us, and we’ll help you transform your organization.
About the Author
Joseph Gier, Ph.D. is Vice President – Consulting Services at E.A.S.I-Consult® and is a licensed Psychologist. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized organizations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. For years, E.A.S.I-Consult has been helping companies identify – and then develop – persons to become more effective in a variety of roles. As a leading company in researching, identifying, and developing key capabilities, we assist organizations in a wide variety of businesses. Our specialties include customized assessment of a variety of roles, including individual contributors, and hourly positions, along with leadership skills and leadership potential, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, along with online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. To learn more about E.A.S.I-Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com, or call 800.922.EASI.