Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, and Quiet Hiring? Yikes. Welcome to 2023.

January 13, 2023 00:17:34
Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, and Quiet Hiring? Yikes. Welcome to 2023.
The Josh Bersin Company
Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, and Quiet Hiring? Yikes. Welcome to 2023.

Jan 13 2023 | 00:17:34

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Show Notes

More layoffs, more worries about the economy, and lots of discussions of "Quiet" things: quiet quitting, quiet firing, and quiet hiring. In this podcast I recap the first week of the year, discuss these issues, and give you a sense of what it all means. I also discuss the latest about the economy, the enormous growth in talent mobility, and my high level perspectives on Chat-GPT. It's going to be a tumultuous year, so stay tuned for our big Predictions for 2023, coming later this month. Resources A Skeptical Look at Chat-GPT by Ezra Klein and Gary Marcus 2023 Predictions: Webinar (report to come) Why Employees Are Really Quietly Quitting, 4-day Workweek and More Irresistible: The Seven Secrets Of The World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations (my book) "A must-read primer for business leaders considering how and why to build a people-centered business.", by Arianna Huffington. Join The Josh Bersin Academy: 50,000+ HR Professionals Learning Every Day    
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:08 Okay, we made it through the first week of the year, and let me give you some ideas and some perspectives on what's going on. And in about a week or two, in about two weeks, we're gonna do a big report on predictions you're gonna be able to download for free. That's a very, very in-depth report about what's gonna be happening this year and what you need to look at from a talent and leadership and management standpoint. And a couple things, I wanna mention this, this week. First of all, the number of layoffs keeps growing. Meta's laid off 11,000, Amazon laid off 10,000, Salesforce laid off 8,000, Amazon laid off 8,000. booking.com, Cisco, Uber, Twitter, better.com, Groupon, Peloton, Carvana, Zillow, crypto.com, Airbnb, Instacart. Yesterday, lattice laid off 15% of their workforce. There is a theme that all of these companies that are laying people off went through massive hiring growth in the last two years. Speaker 1 00:01:00 They overhired, they weren't paying attention to their own businesses, and most likely their investors were telling them, hire, hire, hire, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. And nobody was thinking about the fact that the economy goes in cycles and we're at the end of a cycle. We're at the end of a 15 year cycle and just get used to it. It's not the end of the world that we're going into a down cycle. It's kind of long overdue. I'm not sure I remember a growth cycle as long as the one we've had, and I think the pandemic elongated, but we, we were due for a correction for a long time. So anyway, so there's a lot of layoffs and then there's this issue of will it spread throughout the economy? Yes, I do think it will. I, I think there's a lot of evidence to prove that consumers are tapped out, credit cards are at their max, consumer debt is at its max. Speaker 1 00:01:46 A very high percentage of consumers are saying they are not meeting their needs financially anymore, and wages are going up, but not nearly fast enough. Now if inflation comes down, that'll get better, but I, I think a lot of the consumer spending that we've seen for the last few years is just gonna moderate. And that just forces everybody in the economy to slow down. Now, there's three things that have been happening that I think are interesting also along this that have come up this week. Quiet, quitting, quiet hiring and quiet firing. And it's been funny for me as an analyst and a consultant, I talk to a lot of press people and the press is always looking for clickbait headlines and quiet. Quitting was a great one. The idea behind quiet quitting was employees who don't feel they're being well paid or they're not able to keep up with the workload are saying, I'm just only gonna work as much as I'm worth. Speaker 1 00:02:35 I'm gonna work at my level of pay. And that's the new theme is, if you're not gonna gimme a raise, and if you're not gonna pay me what I think I'm worth, then I'm just not gonna work quite so hard. I'm not gonna quit. I'm just going to chill out a little bit, take care of the rest of my life. By the way, that's a significant trend. There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago, I wrote about it, uh, a week or so ago that almost 60% of workers under the age of 40 or 45 have said they don't want to get promoted and strive for constant career success. They want more work-life balance. They want to have a better life. They want to enjoy their families and their fun time. And you know, this is very expected coming out of the pandemic. Speaker 1 00:03:19 And so we have to create work experiences that are meaningful and fun and enjoyable for people, not just ask 'em to do more and more and more. By the way, baby boomers still, 70 or 80% of them are still high achievers. We grew up my age. We grew up in the world where rambling to get ahead was what work was all about. I mean, that's all we ever did. This idea of work-life balance and taking care of your family, I mean it, it just didn't exist when I got outta college. I mean, that was just not what you thought about. And by the way, I remember quite vividly in the first 10 years of my life working, you never went to work and said, I was tired. I'm burned out. I'm too stressed out to do this. You never even mentioned words like that. So get comfortable with the fact that in this very constrained labor market, quiet, quitting is a real thing whether you like the name or not. Speaker 1 00:04:08 And the solution is making work more productive and giving people support. By the way, as I've talked about a lot, and I will talk about some more from my book and other sources, the best way to overcome that problem is to make work better for people and more productive and they will throw more energy into their jobs. Money is not the answer. Paying people more money, as you'll see in our research from on a rewards research that's coming out in the next 60 days, is not the only way to create a more engaged workforce. Okay, then there's quiet firing. Now I would say firing hasn't been quiet at all. In fact, it's been very vocal. Everybody from Elon Musk to Jack Altman to Goldman Sachs has been very open with their need to lay people off and let them go. As in every downturn, we're going through a lot of discussion about the best way to do this. Speaker 1 00:05:03 My recommendation for those of you that are going through downturns is a couple things. Number one, when you let people go, it is an opportunity for you to improve your brand or destroy it. The people who are leaving have voted with their lives and their wellbeing and their personal energy to help your company grow. You owe it to them to do something for them as they leave. I think the email that went out from Jack Altman at Lattice is a good example of how to do this. Well, give them a generous exit package. Give them an out placement service. Maybe let them keep their computers vest some of their options. Maybe you put together a website for them to look for jobs and talk to each other because believe it or not, they're going to be coming back. They're going to be customers, they're going to talk to their friends. Speaker 1 00:05:53 Your brand will be very influenced by the way you manage this process. And yes, it is expensive to do a layoff, but the cost of the exit package is a tiny fraction of the cost of ruining your brand and having thousands of people out there who hate your company or hate your ceo. So I won't write the book on that right now because there's a lot of things written on it, but that is my issue with quote unquote quiet firing. By the way, yesterday I had a call from a reporter on something called Quiet Hiring, which is an in insane phrase. I think they're going nuts with this idea of quiet stuff. But what he mentioned to me was a lot of companies are not hiring. They're moving people to new roles. What I said to him was, this is crazy. That is the biggest trend in business right now. Speaker 1 00:06:40 Redeploying people, retraining people using a talent marketplace, creating career pathways, giving people the opportunity to do new projects, facilitating mobility. Not everybody needs to be promoted every time they get a new opportunity. In fact, I've mentioned this in another podcast, more and more companies have now decided that getting promoted is not that important. What's really important is giving you the opportunity to grow as an individual. So this new meme of quiet hiring, which I am going to ignore, is all about moving people around inside of the company. And right now all you can read about is layoffs, but I think for the year ahead 2023, intelligent Mobility, talent, marketplace, talent Intelligence, all the things you guys are reading about in our research are gonna be huge. We just published, by the way, three fascinating video stories of companies doing talent marketplace projects. It's available to our corporate members. Speaker 1 00:07:35 We're not gonna put out on the internet. And what you hear, and this is MetLife, it's Seagate, it's Schneider. You hear that? What these companies have done is transform their employee experience, transform their learning, transform their career growth, transform their ability to adapt by doing a much better job of facilitated AI powered, well designed internal mobility projects. By the way, SAP does this very, very well. There's a lot of companies, Allstate does this very, very well. There's a lot of companies that do this very well without a lot of tech, but the tech is getting so good now, you can almost turn this on and create a highly dynamic agile workflow and workforce system with these tools. And of course, the vendors that do this are companies like GLO and Fuel 50 and Eightfold and Beamery and others. Okay, so all of that's been happening this week. Speaker 1 00:08:26 The third thing that's been going on this week as I prepare for my presentation next week on predictions, is the changes in pay. Kathy Anderes are beloved SVP of research who is going to be going on the road with me this year, is finishing a absolutely fascinating study of Pan rewards. I'm not gonna give it away right now, but what we've discovered, just to give you the high level, is that there is much more to this than you realize. Not only do you have have to think about pay equity, but go way beyond this idea of total rewards. Total rewards is not the nirvana answer. There's a lot of opportunities to improve rewards by creating more differentiation, more pay for performance, and what we call a more systemic model of pay. And virtually every company we talk to is telling me pay has risen to the top of the employee experience pyramid. Speaker 1 00:09:19 And that is because of all the things I just talked about. It's because of the inflation, but it's also because people are saying, listen, I've been working awfully hard. Am I really getting paid what I'm worth? You know, when the company isn't treating me as well as they should? Another thing that happened this week is Glassdoor produced their a hundred top companies in large company segment in their a hundred top companies in the medium segment. What was interesting to me about this is those reports came out on data collected before the layoffs. So I almost feel like we need to ignore those lists for a little while and redo them after the Glassdoor ratings come from the layoffs, because that does change the culture of the company. But what you find in there, as I went through the list, is two things. First of all, a lot of really well run companies that have been on the list a long time are still on the list. Speaker 1 00:10:06 A lot of the companies that were at the top of the list and they listed by one to a hundred are now at the middle of the list and they've been overtaken by others. And then of course, many of the small companies that are really highly regarded are companies you don't know very well. And what that tells me is something I know you know in my heart is that the employee experience issues and strategies and innovations that are going on are very creative. Things that work 10 years ago are not as relevant today. I had a really kind of funny conversation with a, a PhD academic on the issue of how to make meetings better. And he's created a career for himself writing books on how to have good meeting culture. Well, all of a sudden, going back to stuff that we talked about 25 years ago, there's a lot of conversations about having too many meetings and meetings are too long. Speaker 1 00:10:57 The big Shopify story about getting rid of meetings, deleting all the global meetings and starting over, making meetings optional. These are really important things that we haven't talked about enough. I know in my case, when I get an invitation to a one hour meeting, I actually win and I think, God, do I really have to sit in this meeting for an hour? Is it really worth it? The cost of a one hour meeting is very, very high in your company. I would take all your Outlook settings and I would change them to 25 minutes and 55 minutes and maybe even 15 minutes. I think five minute and 10 minute meetings are sometimes much more useful than hour long meetings. And so EX is much more than going out and buying service now and adding more to the benefits package. It's thinking about all these daily, hourly, monthly things that are wasting people's time and just getting rid of them. Speaker 1 00:11:50 Marie Condo them. And that's why, why these companies that have risen to the top of the Glassdoor ratings are not the same companies that were there a couple years ago. They're companies that are a little more creative. And I do believe, as I told Jack Altman yesterday, that the CEO is the Chief Empathy Officer. You as an HR person can do a lot of this, but if the CEO isn't with you, then it's gonna be hard to implement some of this stuff. Okay, so that's all going on this week. The other thing that's been huge this week is all the noise about chat, G P T. I've read a lot of it. I'm pretty much into this stuff. I'm not an AI engineer, but I am a mathematician and an engineer and a scientist at heart. And here's what I've learned. The chat, G P T and other tools are what I call bullshit machines. Speaker 1 00:12:39 They go through billions and billions of characters and words and sentences and articles, and they determine what words go before what words, and they can create BS extremely well. If you give chat G P T A corpus of conspiracy theory about the vaccine, it will do a magnificent job and write a Harvard Business Review quality article on why the vaccine is killing everybody. So what these things really are is they aren't intelligent in a sense. They are pattern matchers. And there's a really, really good podcast that Ezra Klein did from the New York Times with a really eminent AI engineer that explains this. And I really recommend people listen to it. It's an hour long podcast and you will learn a lot. So yes, chat g B T is amazing. And yes, it does a really pretty amazing job of stringing words together, but it doesn't know what it's saying. Speaker 1 00:13:39 It doesn't know what's cre, correct, what's incorrect. Now, there are engineers working on algorithms that look through the results of a chat G B T and try to validate the quality of the answers in Wikipedia in other places. So there's algorithms being developed now to try to improve accuracy, but there is no transparency to this. You can't look at chat g p t writing and understand and ask it, why did you say this? Where did that come from? What is the source of this? That kind of code isn't, isn't available yet. So I think we're over glorifying the value of this. I'm not gonna talk you guys out of this. I mean the, the market's already decided that this company's worth 29 billion and Microsoft's throwing another 10 billion after it. So there's no question that language processing software is really, really valuable. It threatens people like me, but I'm not that worried about it because I'm a human being and I know how my mind works, and I know these tools don't work the way my mind works. Speaker 1 00:14:42 So lot of interesting conversation there. I'm not gonna nail it in this podcast, but it's been, you know, you know, very, very big this week. I think the last thing that I would summarize on this week is what happened with the crypto meltdown and the pretty big failure of ethics and honesty that came out of ftx. Everybody knows what happened there. It goes back to pretty important part of my book and the irresistible organization, which is if you really wanna build an enduring company, an enduring team, an enduring career, your ethics and your honesty and your care and empathy for other people are fundamental to your success. They aren't additional or incremental. They are fundamental because organizations live and die on trust. Many studies have proven this, all the great Place to work research proves this. Lots of great academics have studied it. It is when people have trust that they do more work together, that they innovate, that they create, that they bring their best selves to work. Speaker 1 00:15:50 And every time I read another story about Donald Trump or SPF F or somebody else lying or cheating or misleading people because they could get away with it, I think bad example, bad role model. I hope people aren't copying this. And so more dose of that this week to think about two. This hasn't been a super topical focused podcast, but given that it's Friday and it's been a very, very busy week and I've been through a lot, I thought I would just give you some things to think about. I will point to some of these things in the podcast outline and stay tuned for some pretty cool stuff coming out from us Next week. Next week in the middle of the week, I think it's Wednesday, I'm doing a webinar on the predictions for the future. It's only an hour. It probably is more like a two or three hour discussion, but join me and I'll put the link to the registration in the podcast. See you guys soon.

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