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Angelica Rains

Quiet Quitting: Separating the Symptom from the Cause

By | Hiring Strategies

Quiet Quitting: Separating the Symptom from the Cause

Quiet quitting. What began as a viral video has become one of the most talked about (and written about) topics this year. Is it a valid phenomenon, or is it nothing more than catchy clickbait? To a certain degree, the answer to that question does not matter. Rather than debating the significance of the symptoms, this is an opportunity for leaders to proactively address the more important matter: the cause. While many organizations excel in the areas of employee engagement and retention, the tenor in the marketplace (and perhaps why the original video gained so much traction) is that this is the exception – not the rule. The symptoms indicate that something has shifted; the cause of that shift deserves a discussion.

What’s New?

In the video – which has over 3.5 million views – 24-year-old TikToker Zaid Khan (@zaidlepplin) states that “work is not your life.” This is not a new concept. But assuming that work is a requisite part of life, to view the act of employment simply as a means to an end overlooks the opportunity that purposeful, gratifying, challenging work can provide. When given a choice to do the bare minimum necessary to stay employed, or proactively constructing a professional environment that provides meaning, which would most choose? The latter is the obvious choice, but is easier said than done. And although the need for professional fulfillment is nothing new, the external factors have changed:

  • The pandemic shifted people’s attitudes toward work, creating a time of reflection during which some reassessed the importance of things in their lives beyond work.
  • Remote and hybrid work environments have created employees who feel disconnected from their work, workplace, and coworkers.
  • Lack of boundaries between work and personal life have created, for some, an “always working” dynamic that leads to burnout.
  • New career and early career employees have never “gone to work” and thus have no personal investment or commitment to an organization, its people, or its mission.
  • Lack of organizational focus/attention necessary to keep employees aligned, motivated and moving forward in their organizations and in their careers. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not an effective formula for employee engagement and retention.

Uncovering the Cause

“What is your why?” It sounds like an esoteric question, but why is it that you choose to go to work each day? Why do you choose this profession, instead of something else? Why do you choose the role you are in, as opposed to others?

Encourage yourself and others to press beyond the obvious answer of “I need to make money.”  There are countless ways to earn a living; why have you chosen this one?

Incorporate The Five Whys, which originated within the Toyota Production System and are an integral part of Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen, and Six Sigma. Taiichi Ohno saw the Five Whys as an especially important part of Toyota’s overall philosophy. The process is simple: Just ask why five times in succession to get to the true root cause of the problem. This is a remarkably simple process, but more often than not, we stop at the very first “why” and try to do something about the symptoms rather than getting to the true root causes.

Once you begin to list all of your whys, you will notice they fall in two categories. The first category is similar to Maslow’s lowest hierarchy of needs – food, water, shelter. “I’d like to be able to pay my mortgage.” “I want to send my children to college.” “My elderly parents will rely on me to provide for them.” “I have always dreamed of buying a vacation home.”

The second category recognizes that there is a bigger purpose, a desire to make a difference, and a need to higher meaning behind the choices we make. Both categories are important and not mutually exclusive. An individual who only cares about money will likely live with a void in their life, while an individual who is all about the big picture has their head in the clouds but lacks feet on the ground.

Treatment Options

  1. Acknowledge this is a leadership issue. In his book Extreme Ownership, former Navy Seal Jocko Willink writes: “On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.” Leadership must address manager engagement first, then re-skill them to be successful in a hybrid/remote working world.
  1. Rebuild the psychological contract with employees. The 20th Century psychological contract was transactional: Employees showed up every day from 9-5, and in return were rewarded with a paycheck and a pension. The 21st Century contract is relational. Employees want a paycheck, but they want challenge, career growth, support, and meaningful relationships. More than ever, leaders must build (rebuild) trusting relationships with their employees. When people feel valued, they are more likely to naturally engage or reengage in their work.
  1. Commit to Offer High-Quality Work. High-quality work means having varied and meaningful tasks, clear goals, and a positive team climate. Particularly relevant today, high-quality work also means having reasonable demands and expectations of workers. Leaders need to be especially careful about not overwhelming people with excessive demands, long work hours, or unreasonable pressures.
  1. Acknowledge and Respect that Employees Have Changed. Quiet quitting is an identity shift. See employees as they are now vs. who they were pre-pandemic. Employees want autonomy over their work, not just in how they carry out their tasks, but also — as much as possible — influence over where and when they work.
  1. Work to Reconnect Employees/Teammates. Employee engagement relies on feeling connected to one another individually and connected as at team to a bigger purpose. Leaders must be intentional in creating interaction and cohesion.

Quiet quitting isn’t new. It’s a new twist on an old problem. But, it has captured people’s attention. As leaders, it’s on us to address it.

A Breakfast Worth Talking About

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Angelica Rains and Alexa Gulliford were thrilled to take part in an event put on by The Representation Project. A talk featuring Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer took on several prevalent issues regarding inequality in the workplace. We were happy to be a part of the conversation! Pictured above Angelica Rains [left], Nathan Ballard, Board Member of The Representation Project [center] and Alexa Gulliford [right].

How to Thrive In a Phone Interview

By | Interviews, Training | No Comments

Phone interviews are frequently used by companies to save time by pre-qualifying your interest and expertise. The following are some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful for you.

Isolate Yourself

Phone interviews place you at a disadvantage because you only have one tool of communication, your voice. The interviewer’s impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone. Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection. If the call is on your cell phone make sure the caller can hear you clearly.

 

Stand Up

During the call stand up, walk around and smile. All these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice.

 

What’s Next

At the conclusion, ask the interviewer about next steps and timing of their hiring process.

 

Prepare Your Responses

Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening you out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write down and practice your responses.

– Tell Me About Yourself.

– What do you know about our company?

– How did you learn about this position?

– What is our current salary?

– What are your compensation requirements?

– Why are you looking for a new position?

– What are your strengths?

– What are your weaknesses?

– Do you have any questions?

 

Questions You Ask

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. Questions help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview.

– What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?

– Describe the three top challenges that I’ll face in this job?

– What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?

– What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?

 

Closing Questions:

Questions you ask at the end of the phone interview.

– What additional information would you like me to provide?

– What concerns do you have at this point?

– What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?

– When is the best time to follow up with you?

EA Interview Questions

By | Interviews, Training | One Comment

Intellectual:

  1. Tell me about the last time you had to learn a new task. How did you go about learning? What, if any tools, did you employ?
  2. How do you stay on top of developments/trends in your field?
  3. Tell me how you keep your executive organized.
  4. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  5. What questions do you have for me?
  6. Who’s your mentor? Who is your role model, and why?
  7. What questions haven’t I asked you?
  8. What’s something that you can teach me?

Character:

  1. Was there a time when you had to agree to a decision even if it was against your will? Why did you agree?
  2. What bothers you most about other people?
  3. Tell me about the time a manager rejected one of your ideas. How did you react to his/her feedback?
  4. Tell me about the time you were asked to do something that violated your personal code of ethics.
  5. If I assign work that isn’t part of your job description, what will you do?
  6. Tell me a story about how you solved a conflict or disagreement between you and a former colleague.
  7. What are your hobbies?
  8. What is your favorite website?
  9. What are your favorite apps?
  10. Give an example of a time that you had to respond to an unhappy manager/customer/colleague.
  11. Tell me about a time that you disagreed with a rule or approach.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake, and how you dealt with it.

Relationship:

  1. Share a rewarding team experience.
  2. Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult team member.
  3. If I called your previous boss, what would they say your strengths are? What would your friends say?
  4. How could your colleagues describe you?
  5. If I called your boss right now and asked them about an area that you could improve on, what would they say?
  6. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?

Motivational:

  1. What motivates you?
  2. What are your career goals?
  3. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  4. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
  5. What kind of rewards are most satisfying for you?
  6. Tell me about a time when you were bored on-the-job. What did you do to make your job moreinteresting?
  7. Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient,or less expensive.
  8. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  9. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?

Work Function

  1. Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
  2. Why would you be an asset to the firm?
  3. What are your areas for development?
  4. What is the most difficult aspect of your current position? How do you deal with it?
  5. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  6. How do you handle pressure?
  7. Why are you interested in working for us?
  8. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days / 60 days / 90 days on the job?