Radical Candor Podcast

Podcast Season 5, Episode 5: Quiet Hiring—Opportunity or Dumpster Fire?

On this episode of the Radical Candor podcast, Kim, Jason, Amy and Brandi discuss Quiet Hiring, Turnover Contagion and Layoff Survivor Guilt. These byproducts of layoffs can lead to a culture of fear, and when people are working out of fear, they start to avoid taking risks. They learn less, they grow less, they innovate less, and they become less than they could be. The way you treat people when times are tough determines whether you’ll get their best effort, a perfunctory effort, or an effort to sabotage you. When you treat people like cogs in a machine, you’ll get no more than you demand, and you create an incentive to break the machine.

Listen to the episode:

Radical Candor Podcast Episode At a Glance

On our last episode, we talked about the emotional and financial effects of layoffs on folks who’ve lost their jobs. Now we’re going to talk about what happens to the people who are left behind.

We’re going to explore a few different terms you may have heard recently: Quiet Hiring, Turnover Contagion, and Layoff Survivor Guilt. 

Radical Candor podcast

Quiet Hiring, which means — in the context we’ll be discussing it — that those who’ve retained their jobs will be doing a lot more work because the work still needs to get done and the people who were doing it are no longer there.

In this current landscape, some companies are framing Quiet Hiring as a path to upskilling and career advancement, but many employees experience it as being tricked into doing undesirable work for little or no rewards.

Turnover Contagion a phenomenon that occurs when an increased number of employees resign after a round of layoffs.

According to a report from Visier, a human-resources analytics company, “There is a ‘contagion’ effect inside teams when people are asked to leave involuntarily: some of their peers are more likely to resign in response.”

Layoff Survivor Guilt — feeling guilty to still be working for an organization that just conducted a mass layoff. In addition, those left behind may also be fearful that they’ll be next. This means managers must prioritize rebuilding trust with their employees after a layoff.

On Twitter Catherine Morgan, author of This Isn’t Working! Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, said:

I was talking with a client about the ‘survivor guilt’ she felt, having made it through a big round of layoffs. It is an unnerving and heartbreaking experience — even if you still have your job. You feel untethered and you can smell the fear.”

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1.  If you suddenly find yourself experiencing Quiet Hiring, talk to your manager about how you can leverage your new responsibilities toward your professional development goals. It’s also appropriate to ask how you’ll be compensated for doing additional work.
  2. When you do have information that affects your team, commit to delivering it as soon as possible in a way that’s kind and clear. Allow the people who are left behind to ask questions and provide answers if you have them. If you don’t know the answer, it’s OK to admit that you don’t know, but be clear that you will deliver relevant news as soon as you have it.
  3. If you’re a manager, have intentional Career Conversations with each person on your team. Let them know that you’re doing this in good faith and not to use it against them. Based on these conversations try to redistribute the work.

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Radical Candor by Kim ScottThe Radical Candor Podcast is based on the book Radical Candor: Be A Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

Episodes are written and produced by Brandi Neal with script editing by Amy Sandler. The show features Radical Candor co-founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff and is hosted by Amy Sandler.

The Radical Candor Podcast theme music was composed by Cliff Goldmacher. Order his book: The Reason For The Rhymes: Mastering the Seven Essential Skills of Innovation by Learning to Write Songs.

Sound editing by PodcastBuffs.


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