I'm hearing a repeated story: “No one wants to work anymore.” And it’s tied to quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, and—the newest trend—“QuitToking.” There’s a myth that no one wants to work and that it’s tough for companies to find talent.
That narrative is generally untrue. While the current economic headwinds are confusing, people are hiring and getting hired.
A more curious phenomenon is that people have forgotten how to work.
We hear from executives and managers constantly that employees don’t work with pace—they dawdle on projects, take a week to finish something that could be done in two to three hours, and generally seem unclear on priorities.
As a leader, I have experienced this kind of disconnection where I must question my team. Every leader does.
Here is one reason why people might be struggling with “how” to work:
The pandemic changed our connection to work. Many of us re-evaluated and said, “This is not the biggest thing in my life anymore.” There is a Great Reconsideration of the meaning of work in our lives.
How does this state of mind, this “Great Reconsideration” of how we relate to work, inform our hiring processes?
Hiring: Revising the ProcessThe logical truth of the resume submission + interview(s) hiring process is that it’s cheaper for companies to manage. We’ve known for decades now that realistic job previews are a better indicator of someone’s ability to fit within a culture workwise. Still, realistic job previews are expensive to coordinate and logistically daunting. I’ve known some companies that fly people out to work alongside potential future teammates for three days, but that’s less and less common in an era of belt-tightening.
In certain hiring processes, work samples or sample projects are requested. There’s been a pushback on these in recent years because candidates view it as “free work” (some validity there) and are reluctant to offer it. Some hiring managers don’t have the time to assess six projects from final candidates, so that’s why other organizations keep with the job posting + a few rounds of interviews model, even though we know a few generic interviews won’t land you the best fit, purpose-wise, culture-wise, or even work style–wise.
I recommend a sample time management exercise: Give your finalists three to four competing projects and the scope of each project. Then ask them to diagram out (in writing or on video) how they’d go about determining the order of work, the pace of work, who they’d ask for advice and context, etc. See how they think about managerial structure, asking questions, and prioritizing tasks. That will tell you plenty about how they’d fit in with your work style as a group.
Would some hiring managers recoil from this method? Of course. But if you want quality people, you must know how they work, not just what they’ve previously done.
In my next post, we will look at ways you can engage your people to reenergize and connect to purpose.