Quiet Hiring

In commemoration of Memorial Day there will be no article posted next week. I wish all my readers, veterans and their families a meaningful Memorial Day.

Quiet hiring is a new term for what used to be called “professional growth.” Instead of hiring someone new, the company gives an existing employee new responsibilities. Personally, I think it is excellent for all concerned for the following reasons:

  1. The company is offering the employee a chance to build new skills. They are paying for their education. This should also mean a higher salary.
  2. The company does not have to go through the process of hiring a new employee which will cost them time and money, and will include a learning curve to understand the company.
  3. The employee should be grateful for the opportunity the employer is giving them and that will increase employee loyalty, meaning retention.
  4. The only thing that the employer has to be aware of, and this is also part of the employee’s responsibility, is that the new responsibility will not negatively impact their existing responsibilities. Put differently, the employee should not be overwhelmed and suffer burnout. Perhaps hiring an assistant for the person, when the time is right, will solve the problem, and will still cost less than having brought on a new person, making what clearly is a part-time position, full-time.

Some people think this is unethical. What could be unethical about offering an employee the chance to better themselves? What’s unethical about saying to someone, worst case scenario, “Look, we need to hire someone to take care of X. You are doing a great job. We can’t afford to bring someone new on and we certainly don’t want to have to let you go. So, we will train you (or pay for your training), give you this added responsibility, and a salary increase of Y, along with a new title.” It’s not a punishment; it’s a compliment. It’s also being open and honest. They are being given the chance not only to continue being employed but to advance in their career.  If you will, they are not being shown the front door (being escorted out of the building) but the corner office door (being promoted).

Of course, there is another solution. Instead of “quiet” hiring, try “mature” hiring, bringing on a retiree who can do the job, and will be grateful for the opportunity. Here’s one way to find such individuals.


Emotional Intelligence

To begin with, you have to know my definition of EI. One word: maturity. How does it reveal itself? One word: adversity. When a person can confront adversity, calmly and rationally, i.e., with maturity, they are exhibiting high EI. If not, it’s low EI and that is the example I want to share with you because I encountered it recently. High or even just decent EI is crucial because you can’t have your employees blowing things out of proportion, panicking every time something does not go the way they planned, or if a real disaster occurs. Having employees who are calm under pressure is vital to the success of a business.

Yesterday a man called me, asking for my advice. He is a regular reader of my weekly LinkedIn newsletter and a business owner. This is the story he told me:

A woman employee came to his office in tears. She was furious. She saw a male employee getting out of his car, exhaling cigarette smoke, and putting what she assumed to be breath mints in his mouth. She said that this man was harming the environment, harming her by smoking, and “is a murderer.”

That is someone who is woke and therefore has no EI. Ironically, the two employees had always worked well together. No complaints. Nothing inappropriate. But here she was, crying and trembling in the boss’s office, calling her colleague a murderer. His question: “Can I fire her?”

My response was to say that first, I am not an attorney so what I was going to say was not legal advice and he should speak with an employment attorney. Then I said, that in my opinion, wokeness is a mental health disorder and, as such, anyone who is woke is a “protected class,” and the “reasonable accommodation” that can be offered is psychiatric counseling. After all, even a few years ago the reaction to her actions would have been, “She’s nuts. She’s fired.” Today, that won’t wash.

I also suggested that he call a staff meeting to say, without mentioning her name or the incident, that he has recently become aware of the great mental health stress that some employees are feeling. He has therefore made arrangements for a “counselor,” (I told him saying “psychiatrist” may be problematic for some people), to come in once, twice, three times a week, whatever, to meet privately and confidentially – no records would be kept, or reports given to management – with any employee wishing to take advantage of the program. I told him to reiterate that mental health is as important as physical health and needs to be taken seriously. I also suggested making it clear that if someone were to suffer a physical injury which would prevent them from doing their job, with regret, they would have to go on Workman’s Comp. The same should be true for anyone suffering a mental collapse. Just as he has in place safety measures to prevent or minimize the chance of someone suffering a physical injury, now they are going to have the same for mental injuries. And then I reminded him that I am not an attorney and not to follow my advice without first speaking with one.

He called me the following morning. He said his lawyer approved my suggestion and he was going to implement it.  Then I asked what I had forgotten to ask at the start of our initial conversation, “Why are you talking to me and not your HR director?” He said he didn’t have one.  I told him to get one. He laughed and said that’s exactly what the lawyer told him to do and recommended someone to him who had been an employment attorney. I told him that they make the best HR directors and can save businesses a lot of money.

Of course, hiring mature employees eliminates the problem before it even begins. My recommendation is prejudiced.

The Woke – Robot Continuum and the End of the Social Safety Net

A hypothetical but totally realistic scenario:

An employer has a small business. He’s making enough money to support himself and his family, and just as importantly, his employees and their families. Then one day he decides he wants to “take the business to the next level,” the phrase that is used by business consultants looking for clients who will pay them a monthly fee indefinitely, as they help them grow their business (meaning the employer’s, i.e., their client’s) until their services are no longer required because the business closed (bad) or was sold (good).

In order to get to the next level, naturally, the business owner has to hire more staff. Up until now, it has figuratively been a family business. Everyone was friends. Everyone got along. Now the business owner has to hire new people. At first things appear to be going well. But, just to be on the safe side, the owner, on the advice of his business consultant, hires an HR director. She writes a personnel handbook and all employees sign off on it. A standard, intelligent, wise operating procedure.

But then they hire a new employee who is woke. They don’t know it at the time. She recommends a friend. He’s also woke. Now, instead of doing their job they go crying to HR because they overheard two employees, friends for years, kidding around in a private conversation which they found offensive. They also complain about the company’s carbon footprint. They then throw out acronyms such as DEI and ESG. The “family” atmosphere of the company is gone. Morale sinks and the original employees, with regret, leave. The owner then decides to shut down operations. Instead of the enjoyment he had from owning his business, he now has grief and aggravation.

But then the business consultant, who got him in this mess (at least partially – the employer is ultimately responsible for the decisions he makes) points out the fact that, except for the office work – accounting, sales, marketing, customer relations – everything else can be done by robots. So, what does the owner do? He hires back his original employees and automates production. The people who had made his widgets now “supervise” the robots, in other words, they are now responsible for quality control.

So, the owner has his loyal employees back. Robots are not woke. He can get rid of his HR director. Life is now good. But is it?

Each robot represents a person who lost a job or will not get one. Which means, with the exception of the robot manufacturer and service technicians who drop by to fix any problems, no one new (remember, the original employees are all back) is earning a salary. Which means that nothing new is being paid to Social Security, Medicare, Workmen’s Comp, etc. So the governmental social safety network is being harmed. On top of that, the mom and pop stores and restaurants where the former employees would go to to buy lunch and incidentals have lost customers, and since there will be no new employees, no new customers. Their revenue is down. (Robots don’t eat and don’t buy magazines or newspapers…at least not yet!) If it happened at one business it could happen at another and they, the small convenience stores, might also find themselves out of business.

That, ultimately, is the danger of hiring the woke. I am not an employment attorney. This is not legal advice. Check with an attorney. This is my opinion:

If being woke is a mental health disorder then the woke are a “protected class” and can’t be fired, except for cause. If being woke is a “creed,” then in some jurisdictions, that also makes them a “protected class” and they cannot be fired, except for cause. So my advice is to state clearly in your personnel handbook that talking about politics in the workplace is grounds for immediate dismissal, as is making demands for policy changes which are not required by law. In other words, find a way to silence the woke before them can even open their mouths. Just make certain it is legal, written in clear English, and every employee signs off that they have read the rules, understand the rules, and accept the rules. And for that, you will need a good lawyer. It will be money well spent, and a lot better than the money spent on the consultant who got you to the next leve, which turned out to be the ground floor!

This could be devastating, for example, for New Jersey. I have it on good authority that the State is 600 miles from one-third of the population of the United States. That is why there is literally no warehouse space available in the Garden State. As Amazon has shown, warehouses can be automated. There can easily be more robots working in a warehouse than humans. If the woke don’t stop their “wokeness,” if the malignant disease is not eradicated, it will be quite easy to see an end, not just to those mom and pop stores I mentioned earlier, but to our social security safety net, in all its aspects. Just something to think about before you go to sleep tonight!

But fear not. Last week I wrote about the solution.

Hiring Seniors/Retirees

Definitions. For present purposes a “senior” is anyone who is 55-years-of-age or older. “Retired” means not gainfully employed and living off savings or a side gig. “Woke” means the belief that an individual’s beliefs, priorities, and/or desires take precedence over everyone else’s even if it is to the other person’s detriment.

As everyone knows, I am not a fan of the woke. In my opinion, which I will reiterate in next week’s article, it’s either a mental health disorder or a creed, both of which may make them a “protected class” in some jurisdictions. This means, and, as I always say, I am not an attorney and this does not constitute legal advice, firing them may be very difficult. They will claim discrimination and you will have to have an air-tight personnel handbook, written by a first-rate HR attorney, to protect yourself.

But there is another way around the woke.

By definition, the woke do not want to work. The woke want to be paid to complain. They have no work ethic. The only thing they learned in college or university was that if you yell loud enough you get what you want. In other words, they believe that they, not the employer, have the right to set the agenda for the company.

So, who is it that actually wants to work? Retirees. Seniors. They are bored. They don’t like sitting around doing whatever it is they are doing. They need intellectual stimulation and, maybe even more importantly, feeling once again that they are useful, contributing to society.

Employers can, in my non-legal opinion, hire seniors. Discriminating on the basis of years of experience is perfectly legal. An employer can require 25 to 30 years’ work experience. No one who has worked for a quarter of a century is woke (at least I hope not!). They know how to work. They understand the concept of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. They don’t go crying to HR every time something does not got their way. In a word, they are “adults.” In two words they have “emotional intelligence.” They are, therefore, not woke.

What is more, they will support the local economy by making purchases at local mom and pop stores. And there is the not so little matter that many, if not most, lack the funds they thought they would need to retire. In other words, they need the money!

Hiring seniors/retirees is, I believe, a smart move. And I am not alone.

In the April 6.2023 edition of The Wall Street Journal, there appeared an article by Callum Brochers titled, “Bosses Want Hard Workers-So They’re Hiring Older People: Some companies are recruiting seniors on the premise that age equals a stronger work ethic.” The title and subtitle say it all, but I still recommend reading the full article! You’ll learn that “People 55 and older are the fastest growing segment of the workforce…”

I believe that it is so important to get seniors to either remain in, or return to, the workforce and, yes, to get the woke out, that I am offering a new service. Seniors can go to my website, fill out the simple registration form, and send me their resume. No charge! I will then list, by area of expertise, those who have registered, and employers can then ask to see their resume. Once I get premission from the applicant, I’ll video interview them and send the video link and the senior’s resume to the employer. If the employer hires the person, all the employer will owe is $500, a steep reduction from the usual recruiting usual fee. (There is no charge for seniors and no guarantee to the employer.)

So, seniors, if you are interested in employment, register. Employers, if you want hard workers, review the list. It will start off small but I am certain it will grow.

Together, we can make a small contribution towards saving the American workforce from the cancer that is wokeness and help grow the economy.