It’s no secret that the events of 2020 have had a significant impact on the workplace, including the fact that many workers are taking stock of their work environment and evaluating whether or not it’s working for them. Which means shifts, transitions and the seeking of new opportunities. For leaders and managers looking to hire, exit, or keep people in their companies, special attention is needed to ensure that practices are as enlightened and respectful of people’s experience as possible. Hiring and firing can be one of the most important roles that managers and leaders play because the right (or wrong) employees can have a major impact on the success and culture of a team. The cost of getting it wrong is high. The cost of replacing an employee who has left can be upward of one to two times the employee’s salary.
At ROI, hiring for culture fit and alignment with our values is a priority. We outline how we work together in documents shared with all employees called “The Spirit of ROI.”
- Cultivate a healthy team We are balanced, collaborative, energetic, fun, creative, positive, and continuously learning and growing
- Respect each other We treat our team members, clients and partners with respect, honoring everyone as equal, valuable and important
- Focus on the customers We are insightful, experienced, proactive, business-minded, responsive, and flexible
- Make a difference We are committed to adding value, building relationships and delivering results for each other, our clients, our communities and the world
- Maintain high standards We deliver excellence and quality in everything we do
- Act with integrity We are authentic, trusted, respected, accountable and reliable
Enlightened hiring starts with ensuring you have a diverse pool of candidates and are deliberately seeking to expand the diversity of the company. While culture fit is important, leaders and managers need to also think about hiring people different from themselves – people who can add diversity, new points of view, and who can challenge the status quo.
This tendency toward hiring people like oneself also extends to promotions. Leaders need to pay attention to their often-unconscious bias toward promoting people who have a similar life experience to their own.
Research shows the business value of having a diverse workforce:
- Diverse executive boards generate better returns and more money.
- Diverse groups uncover more angles leading to better decision-making.
- New viewpoints lead to better results.
- Diverse teams build better products when judged by peers.
Source: Andrew Marder, Capterra
Respecting the Experience
Another important element of enlightened hiring is ensuring all candidates have a respectful experience, including when they are not hired. Many candidates report having a negative experience in the hiring process, where there is little communication, even when they ultimately end up being hired.
Enlightened hiring includes regular communication with existing candidates and respectful and kind communication to candidates who will no longer be considered, especially if they have been through the interview process. The way candidates are notified and treated after the interview process, when they are not hired, will be remembered and will influence how they speak about the company. A simple “no thank you” email is not enough, particularly for people who go through several rounds of interviews. Practices that show care, value and respect include showing appreciation for the candidate’s time, outlining the strengths and talents that the team recognized in them, and transparency to the extent possible, around why the decision was made to decline them. This approach honors the individual’s time and personal investment in the process.
Paying attention to how a new employee is onboarded is also critical. It will be their first impression as a part of the company and that will set an important tone. At ROI, we send flowers or a plant to new hires and they are touched and grateful to join an organization that attends to such a detail.
When it comes to an employee exiting the company, enlightened workplaces treat this transition with the greatest respect possible. Firing or laying off employees is never easy and must be done with dignity, which helps the experience for both the employee and the manager. What is appropriate and enlightened is treating each person with care and respect. Abruptly turning off an employee’s access to company information and walking them out the same day is almost never warranted and can have devastating consequences for both the employee being let go, as well as the employees who remain. Even when an employee leaves an organization voluntarily, it’s important to extend the same level of respect and kindness. We believe that what is right for the employee is right for the company. Therefore, we honor when someone chooses to transition to another opportunity. By doing so, that employee leaves with gratitude, instead of feeling like a traitor. The result is a former employee who may return to the company, may engage the company from their new position, and will have good things to say about the company.
Regardless of how an employee exits a company, be it voluntary or involuntary, it’s important to recognize the transition for both the departing employee and the remaining employees. Treating everyone with humanity and compassion – and showing respect for the value the employee gave during their tenure – is how enlightened workplaces thrive.
Here’s the bottom line: Leaders and managers do not need to harden themselves to hire and fire employees. This is a human process. The hiring and firing of team members provide leaders with an opportunity to be vulnerable, transparent and authentic.
Want to Learn How to Create an Enlightened Workplace?
Kristin Brownstone is Vice President, Strategist at ROI, co-creator of The Enlightened Workplace Project, and a professional public speaking and personal transformation coach.