HR

24
Oct

Want More Productive Employees? Match Their Work Schedules to Their Biological Clocks

Check, check – one, two, three check – ahem, ahem … is this thing working… I have big news for you, ladies and gentlemen. One that might change your life and business as usual.
Drum roll, please.

I apologize for being dramatic so as to get your attention, but what you are going to find out is so powerful that in all likelihood you might join us in drumming about it.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity, so I appreciate your giving me yours.
I know that your time is more valuable than money, so I made sure that your time investment in reading this gets you greater returns.

If you are a leader, you will discover here one of the greatest discoveries on how to maximize your team’s performance and productivity, how to get the most out of them, their 100%, and so raise your bottom line.
If you are a professional, if this catches on with your help, it will significantly increase your well-being, mental health, and performance, which will increase your value for your employer, along with your status, rank, and earnings.

Normally, I am all about virtues and consciousness, but this time, it is all about time and rhythms.
It is not about time being money, but about flextime at work, but not as you might know it. It is about the circadian rhythms or biorhythms of your people, which you need to consider in your business to take advantage of the time and rhythms. Circadian rhythms or biorhythms are biological processes, including sleep-wake patterns. Our biological clock regulates sleep patterns, feeding behavior, hormone release, and blood pressure – all of which determine our capability to function and perform our work.

You want your employees to be more productive, happier, and healthier, therefore here is an astoundingly powerful way to make that happen with one simple, cost-free measure: allow your people to choose their work times to match their own biorhythms or biological clocks according to their chronotypes – their tendency to be energized and fully capable at different times of the day. Simply put, don’t force your early risers to stay into the evening, and don’t force your “night owls” to come in before noon. Team activities, such as meetings and collaborative projects should be scheduled for afternoons when everyone can give their best and be productive.

All companies are missing out on enormous potential and profits due to the current paradigm that is reigning in most organizations. The problem is the deep-seated non-diversity or partial D&I policies. Meaning to say, “larks” (a.k.a A-persons) and “sharks” are running the businesses and “night owl” types (a.k.a B-persons) are forced to adapt, whereby they are not able to work at their peak and give their best. When you force your team members, whose biorhythm is that of the “night owls” to work in the mornings, they can only perform at their less than full capacity and become (mentally) ill.

There is nothing they can or should do about it because they are born this way – it is their chronobiology and genetics, but you can and should do much about it – allow full flextime at work, for one. Flexible hours schedule allows workers to alter workday start and finish times according to their biorhythms, and to be fair and not cruel to the “night owls”, the “core” period for local team activities should be in the afternoon (ideally between 1-5 p.m.) rather than in the mornings.

With postcapitalistic values gaining momentum, most companies are introducing new policies such as D&I and flextime, but in most cases, it is all just a front, which the executives introduced so that they could get more followers and customers.  Sadly, in too many companies, diversity means only hiring more women, and flextime means that you could come to work one hour earlier or later than the standard 9-5. Is that what “diversity” and “flexible working hours” really mean? Surely not in the eyes of the “night owls”’ types. Due to their natural biorhythms, evening persons can not give their 100% in the mornings, so they should be allowed to do their work at their peak times, given broad leeway in setting their own work schedule.

Various researchers looked into “chronotype diversity” of people in different occupations. They found that individual workers were more productive at certain times of the day depending on their chronotype. This refers to the underlying circadian rhythms or ‘body clocks’ of people which indicate their biological predispositions towards periods of activity and rest. Most importantly for employers and leaders, it refers to the periods of productivity of two different chronotypes of workers: “larks” and “night owls”.

Chronotype diversity may not be feasible for all roles or in every context but it is in most. For tasks that are interdependent staff needed to be on the same circadian cycle, such as emergency workers and surgical teams, they need to peak at the same and right time. However, for jobs that require “sustained attention” and a member of the team to be alert at all times, like long-haul flight crews, nurses, and police on surveillance, it benefits employers to have a mix of people who peak at different times.

A recent study aimed to discover when each chronotype was strongest. They tested early risers and night owls throughout the day and found that night owls hit their peak strength at 9 p.m. This is because their central nervous system and spinal cord excitability are each peaking at the same time. This gives night owls a burst of energy in the evenings to put toward things like creative endeavors, invention, and imagination. Early risers, on the other hand, never reach this same level of strength because their central nervous system and spinal cord excitability never line up at the same time. They hit a peak around 9:00 a.m., and then experience a downhill slope from there. Night owls are mentally alert for a longer part of the day than early birds.

One detail to bear in mind is that the majority – around 60 percent – of us are neither “larks” nor “owls”, we’re an intermediate mix of the two. Another factor to consider is that chronotype isn’t just about the time you go to bed and get up in the morning, it’s also about your optimal time of functioning – larks tend to be at their best earlier in the day, while owls tend to function better later on, which could have obvious advantages for certain career paths involving evening work or night shifts.

We live in a world that worships the early riser. The entire world wants us to be morning people. This pressure starts early in our lives with the school schedule and continues then with the traditional 9-to-5 workday. The early bird catches the worm, so they say, and pop culture is filled with variations on the theme that early risers do better in life, get more done, and usually with a smile or their face. This may be true in the current paradigm that favors morning persons but in reality, there is no such thing.

Both chronotypes can do equally well in life but if the “night owls” don’t do well, get less done, and have no smile on their face, it is only because they are forced to be like “larks”, to be what they are not, which is cruel.

Forcing one chronotype to live like the other chronotype is very much like forcing homosexuals to be heterosexuals or vice versa. It is pure cruelty and torture, leading to mental illnesses and reduced productivity.

The world isn’t full of “early birds”. And it’s not all “night owls” either. No one knows the exact percentages of different chronotypes (definite morning or evening types, or moderate morning or evening types) but regardless of whose speculations you take as the truest, according to every research, the “larks” are not a majority at all. Most studies show that less than a quarter of folks identify themselves as morning larks. Well, that’s really not much. Our entire approach to school and work is built around the genetic predisposition of less than a quarter of the population! How fair or wise is that!

Moreso, it’s actively terrible for more than a third that either identifies themselves as “night owls” or as moderate evening types who for medical, family, or other reasons prefer much more coming to work late. Approximately a third of the population are “night owls”, who are tortured every single workday to rise early to go to either school or work. This has to change for the world to change for the better. Because, how can any team flourish under a system that penalizes 30% of its members before they even come to work?

Equity is about respecting someone else’s conditions as much as you’d love for them to respect yours. This is also the golden rule – treating everyone as you would want them to treat you, or not treating them the way you wouldn’t want them to treat you (with disrespect, disregard, ruthlessness, cruelty, torture…).

The psychology of ‘chronotypes’, as it’s known, largely backs up the popular image of early rising, happy go-getters; though, as ever, the reality is much more nuanced. Like every propaganda, this one also serves an agenda of those who propagate it, nothing else. However, even if we ignore the torture and enormous cruelty towards the “night owl” types of people, we can’t ignore the fact that they can’t give us their best when we are cruel to them. If you want the “night owls” to perform to their full capacity, you need to stop being cruel to them and expect them to show up at work in the morning, when it is not necessary. It is against their nature. They are not lazy or lethargic or negligent or passive by nature; they are that way only when you don’t acknowledge their biorhythm and force them to live against their biological clock.

As it turns out, if you are a “night owl”, your sleep problem is not a problem at all. It is your nature, your biorhythm, your biological clock, your genetics, and chronobiology. Nothing to be ashamed of. Late sleepers are made to feel like losers, often mocked. They are tired of being discriminated against. And science has their back. But do you really need scientists’ studies to be humane to others?

Most of the night owl types of people are forced to either adapt or to choose the types of work that doesn’t require them to adapt, such as night-time jobs, which is not fair to them. Although the “night owls” flourish in professions without a time-frame (no shift-work), such as artists, musicians, writers, comedians, dancers, and so on, still, among them, many can give much in the professions that usually favor the early risers. In compliance with the equal employment opportunity, allow them to give you all that they can give by allowing them to work on their schedule.

That the “night owls” do well in life, get much done and with a smile or their face when they are allowed to work on their schedule, is evident in the list of famous “night owls”: Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Carl Jung, Charles Darwin, Charles Bukowski, Bob Dylan, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Kafka, Prince, Marcel Proust, J. R. R. Tolkien, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, John Travolta, Keith Richards…

According to Wikipedia, some research (the study of 20,000 participants in the U.K.) has found that “night owls” are more intelligent and creative and more likely to get high-paying jobs than larks, or morning persons. The results of many researches indicate that, contrary to conventional folk wisdom, evening-types are more likely to have higher intelligence and creativity scores. A study among 1000 adolescents by the University of Madrid found that “night owls” scored higher than early birds on inductive reasoning tests, which often serve as a proxy for intelligence. However, they lag behind larks in academic scores (when exams are in the mornings).

The Savanna–IQ Interaction Hypothesis holds that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal. – “Why night owls are more intelligent” from Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Department of Psychology, University College London and Birkbeck College, University of London.
Roberts and Kyllonen found in 1999 that, in a sample of United States Air Force recruits (n = 420), evening types were significantly more intelligent than morning types. 
Night owls are smarter, more creative & have higher IQs by Dr. Kroes

Therefore, if you need more intelligent and creative staff, then you should hire the “night owls” and allow them to match their work schedule to their biological clocks so that they could be more productive.

The systematic study of circadian typology (CT) is relatively recent and has developed rapidly in the two last decades. In 2017, Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American scientists (geneticists and chronobiologists) for their paradigm-shifting biological clock discoveries (molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm). All the existing data suggest that this individual difference of circadian types or chronotypes affects our biological and psychological functioning, not only in health and disease but also in work capability. There are countless studies (one of them also here) that reviewed the psychometric properties and validity of CT measures as well as individual, environmental and genetic factors that influence the CT, which tell us to allow professionals to integrate chronobiological aspects of human behavior into their daily practice.

In this day and age, it is ignorant and useless to ignore any longer the biological markers that define differences between CT groups (sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, cortisol, and melatonin), thus we assess here the implications for CT and adjustment to shift-work and jet lag. We all need to acknowledge the differences between CT in terms of cognitive abilities, personality traits, and the incidence of psychiatric disorders. Since it is necessary, I emphasize the limitations and suggest some future avenues of work to overcome them.

One such avenue of work to overcome limitations is the real flextime policy; another is office lightening Indoor Exposure to Daylight Improves Sleep, Cognitive Performance.
A real flextime policy allows staff to determine when they will work, without forcing anyone to jeopardize their health and well-being.

Advantages of complying with flextime

Academic literature has identified benefits of flexible working patterns to employees including life satisfaction, better well-being, a good work-life balance, and health benefits.
Advantages include allowing employees to coordinate their work hours with public transport schedules, with the schedules of their children, and with daily traffic patterns to avoid high congestion times such as rush hour.
Flextime is beneficial to workers pursuing an education.

Advanced organizations introduce flexible working patterns for their employee as a way to increase their productivity level, increasing profitability. Flexible working is also seen as a family-friendly policy, which leads to a good work-life balance for employees.
Many studies have shown that flexible working can provide a wide range of benefits for companies, including an increase in performance, productivity, and reduction in absenteeism, etc.
Flexible working arrangements may be a way for organizations to expand and increase their operations nationally and internationally at a lower cost.

With Millennials becoming the interest of many organizations, flexible working seems to attract them.
One of the positive effects of flexible working patterns is being able to attract highly qualified professionals regardless of chronotype. Early risers can see the benefit of flextime if they prefer to have the freedom to work whenever they want, as sometimes the life circumstances require them to change their schedule.

One of the main advantages of flextime is having freedom, as freedom is the highest goal of all human activity and endeavor. It is the natural longing in every human being.
For the “night owls” flextime means also the freedom from suffering because having to adapt to a disadvantageous schedule, they develop all kinds of afflictions, such as depression and other mental illnesses that lead to chronic physical diseases, addictions, relationship issues, and misery in general.

Many “night owls” are unemployed because they are unable to adapt to the rhythm of the “larks” due to health reasons. So, employment agencies could immensely benefit from a new flextime paradigm. Just think of all the immense unemployment payments that could be reduced and those resources transferred into some other social benefits or tax reduced!

Flexible employment is one of the vital factors in the European Union policy discourse. It is a means to reduce unemployment, increase economic and social cohesion, maintain economic competitiveness and enhance equal opportunities.

However, flexible working is not a standard yet, which is why I’m raising this topic and asking you to come on board for a paradigm shift. So far, it is mostly working parents and pregnant women who benefit from the measures regarding flextime, while the “night owls” are not considered at all.

Naturally, the propagators of the status quo and the current paradigm – the early risers – are quick and eager to point out the disadvantages of flextime but if you compare them against the advantages, they are not relevant enough. Most disadvantages are only real in the current paradigm but in the new paradigm (where flextime becomes the standard), they disappear. Overall, the advantages of flextime undeniably outweigh the disadvantages.

In the current paradigm, the flexible working pattern may not be applicable to all occupational fields but if we all shift the paradigm, then flexibility may be introduced everywhere.

Disadvantages of not complying with flextime

Let us now mention some of the many disadvantages of not implementing flextime into work schedules.

The time you wake up every morning is sealed into your DNA, so no need to feel ashamed about it. However, in the present paradigm, most “night owls” often feel guilt or shame for not raising early, which significantly lowers their overall level of consciousness. And, as we know now (Consciousness Theorem), the level of consciousness determines the level of success and well-being, so your feelings of guilt and shame rob you of chances to live well and be successful.

While staying up after dark was considered a negative trait, this changed in 17th and 18th century Europe (and subsequently spread beyond) due to the development and implementation of artificial lighting but the disdain and disregard for the “creatures of the night” still lingers in the minds of many inconsiderate “larks”. Many “night owls” feel stigmatized by it, which may lower their self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, and morale, subsequently lowering their overall level of consciousness and with it the level of success and well-being.

A bad repute is a disadvantage, which is often overlooked but it deprecates the value of the“night owls”. They are often blamed for unpunctuality or attitude problems by ignorant and inconsiderate “larks”. Advanced employers, however, have begun to learn to increase productivity by respecting body clocks through flexible working hours, while the Danish “B-Society” of “night owls” and the American Start School Later movement lobby actively for more school and workplace flexibility for the post-agricultural world. However, the majority of employers and colleagues are backward in that regard, having no consideration for “night owls”.

When there is a mismatch between our external environment and our internal biological clock, our well-being is highly disturbed. As countless studies show, chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with an increased risk for various diseases.

So, another major disadvantage is ruined mental and physical health. There are many causes of depression and one of them is being forced to neglect our biorhythm, to work against our natural sleep cycle. Defying our internal body clock is scientifically proven to be highly associated with levels of depression. A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry reported by CNN found that people with a misaligned sleep cycle are more likely to report depression, anxiety and have fewer feelings of well-being. Those who follow their internal circadian clocks may be less likely to suffer from depression than those trying to live on a different schedule.

“The health problems associated with being a “night owl” are likely a result of being a “night owl” living in a morning person’s world, which leads to disruption in their body’s circadian rhythms,” said sleep specialist Kristen Knutson, an associate professor of neurology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Therefore, if you are a “night owl” suffering from depression or a “morning lark” who has compassion for all your dear ones who suffer from depression due to a misaligned sleep cycle, then you should join us in drumming about the need for flextime becoming a standard, for a paradigm shift.

Depression is, unfortunately, not the only illness directly associated with chronotype maltreatment. There is a huge number of diseases attributable to it but let us just mention cardiovascular disease, since it is so prevalent in all societies that regard alarm clocks rather than biological clocks.

Forced to rise earlier than their circadian rhythm dictates, the “night owls” end up being chronically sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation has all sorts of consequences that are disadvantageous to both the “night owls” and everyone they interact with and work for. One of them is also obesityNot Getting Enough Sleep Linked to Unhealthy Snacking. You can diet and exercise all you want, but as long as you neglect your biological clock, you are disposed to stress that turns you to sugar, caffeine, alcohol, sedatives, cigarettes, drugs, or other toxins.

Sleeping disorders and deficits cause tiredness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty to focus and pay attention, lack of motivation, and mood swings, weaken our immune system, which gives rise to illnesses and can lead to serious health problems, such as gastrointestinal ailments, heart attack stroke, diabetes, vascular diseases, and even cancer. The risk for heart disease increases by 48 percent if we consistently sleep less than six hours.
Numerous studies have proven that insufficient sleep can lead to high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries, and heart failure.
People who can ascribe their sleep disorders to shift work show an especially high risk of cancer. WHO classified nightly shift work as “probably carcinogenic.” Shift workers, such as hospital personal and flight attendants, due to the permanent displacement of the biological sleep-wake order and the use of artificial light tend to develop tumors.

Let us not confuse being a “night owl” with having a delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), which is a chronic dysregulation of a person’s circadian rhythm (biological clock is delayed) that manifests itself as a difficulty with falling asleep and waking up (it takes hours to do both), falling asleep around 4 a.m. and waking up around noon. Approximately 17 percent of adolescents and adults have DSPD. This disorder affects the timing of sleep, the peak period of alertness, the core body temperature, rhythm, hormonal as well as other daily cycles. No cure is known, and research suggests a genetic origin (a genetic mutation) for the disorder, as well as changes after puberty or a traumatic head injury. Attempting to force oneself onto daytime society’s schedule with DSPD has been compared to constantly living with jet lag.
Many doctors are unfamiliar with the condition, which is why it often goes untreated or is treated inappropriately; DSPD is often misdiagnosed as primary insomnia or as a psychiatric condition.  At its most severe degree, DSPD is not just a disorder but also a disability.

If you need some more convincing about “night owls” being actually born this way (rather than just being lazy), I invite you to educate yourself further about it. For instance, countless studies show that genes determine whether a person is a lark or an evening person. The Per2 gene on chromosome 2 regulates the circadian clock and a variant of it was found in families that demonstrated advanced sleep-phase syndrome. A genetic predisposition is not the only factor, of course. The person’s age also factors in, with teenagers and young adults tending to be “night owls” more than young children and elderly people. Also, the environment we live in influences our biorhythms to an extent. Living in nature or boosting one’s exposure to sunlight (including offices with glass walls), while cutting their exposure to artificial light may turn “owls” into “larks”.

We focused here more on the issues that “night owls” are facing in the world governed by “larks” but the same issues are facing also all the “larks” who somehow ended up working night-shifts, so they need to be treated fairly, too. Regardless of chronotypes, as a civil society, we need to provide opportunities for everyone to work at our peak times and without jeopardizing our health and well-being.

Let us allow our results or outputs to speak louder than our work schedules. If your ability to be your best self and do your best work is being thrown off by a couple of hours one way or another, at what point are you able to recognize that a seemingly harmless adherence to rigid work times holds you and your team back?

Apart from work, it is necessary to consider the chronotypes in schools as well. Kids who are “night owls” are less likely to have good grades if the exams are held in the morning hours, which is both unfair and cruel to them. Poor grades or academic performance doesn’t reflect their intelligence level but sleep deprivation. So, if you are compassionate and a loving parent, you need to prevent this cruelty and unfairness, starting in your own home (acknowledging them as they biologically are) and lobbying and campaigning wherever you can.
According to chronobiology, at their age, due to changing bodies, hormones, and circadian rhythms, as well as puberty (the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain undergo a sleep-phase delay in puberty), teenagers’ biological (internal) clocks shift to release melatonin much later than when they were children. Since teens are biologically programmed to go to sleep later, then they need to rise later to function properly but schools’ regulations force them to rise early and deprive them of sleep much-needed for learning and passing the exams. This needs to change and needs to change now. When the school-children schedule is adjusted, then also working parents can better adjust their working time to the flextime with the core period between 1-5 p.m.

In summary, knowing that we live in a world that is regulated by the law of polarity, among other laws, let us embrace the fact that there is also polarity among the people in terms of biorhythms. Although the late risers may be seen as negative, they are simply another pole of the needed dynamics for the world to move forward. Polarity and diversity provide the dynamics for evolution and development. Disregarding and torturing one part of the population for the sake of being able to put everyone in the same “Procrustean bed”, that is, ruthlessly forcing them to fit into an unnatural scheme has a horrific effect on humankind as a whole. And, when it comes to business, it reduces the productivity and profitability of the whole organization.

Therefore, let us each do our part to shift the old paradigm. Let us start discussions about it in our circles because right now, we’re not having these conversations at all. And, as influencers and leaders, let us change the policy in our organizations to that of flextime in the true sense of the word, rather than just an hour or two flexibility. If there is a need for a “core” period for local team activities, let it be in the afternoon, such as between 1-5 p.m. This way no one is tortured or compromising their health and everyone is at their productive phase.

We need to break free from 9 to 5 society and its cruelty and lack of respect for “night owls”. Quality of life, health, infrastructure, and productivity would all improve if we offered people work hours matching their circadian rhythms. The world without alarm clocks is the world with much less cruelty, torture, disrespect, (mental) illness, and other sufferings – in other words, a world with more peace and prosperity for all. Switching alarm clocks with biological clocks and respecting the people of different chronotype – this is a human rights issue.

So, ask yourself, what can you yourself do about it. The least you can do is to help spread the word about it by liking and sharing this insight.
What do you say?!

For the sake of altering work schedules and flextime policy, we would like to know the percentages of different chronotypes, so please let us know yours and share it with others, so that the results of this survey are as accurate as possible: Chronotypes survey
13
Oct

Why You Should Stop Hiring for Culture Fit

If you are keen on following the trends, most likely you jumped on the bandwagon of the psychology-driven recruiters who embrace the “Cultural Fit Assessment” into their recruitment practice. The concept of culture fit somehow veered into buzzword territory without any substantial evidence whatsoever to back it up and much indicators against it, which is why one of the most argued topics in the talent acquisition space is hiring for culture fit.

As someone who has 20+ years in recruitment and who majored in culture, allow me to make the case against this practice, even though I have a great regard for culture. The fact that I have a 100% success rate and that the teams I recruited have topped the rank lists and won all the awards might give me some credibility but the facts alone will convince you, that is, if you read them with an open mind or while in a constructive mode of consciousness (objectivity, intelligence, rationality, wisdom, acceptance, willingness, respectfulness, considerateness, neutrality, trust, permissiveness, sensibleness, or thoughtfulness) rather than a destructive one (ungratefulness, rivalry, arrogance, skepticism, passivity, or criticality).

I am not the only one to discover the faultiness of this hiring malpractice, so if you can’t trust me because you don’t know me, make sure to inform yourself well enough so that you don’t make this mistake any longer:
Stop Hiring for Culture Fit – Harvard Business Review
Is Hiring For Culture Fit Perpetuating Bias? – Forbes
Stop Hiring for “Cultural Fit” – Kellogg Insight
5 Big Reasons Not to Hire for Culture Fit – Zappos and others show a better way to interview and hire awesome people
The Dangers of Hiring for Cultural Fit – WSJ (The Wall Street Journal)
Hiring for Culture Fit Doesn’t Work – Inc.
Hiring For Cultural Fit: More Harm Than Good – Built In
Why you should stop hiring for cultural fit – Applied
Why hiring for culture fit is misguided – Hive Learning

Also, in his bestseller Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making.

Like with anything else, also with this topic, there are two camps – pro and contra ones. Both camps have their valid arguments but no one has actual proof, like an actual scientific study on the consequences of hiring for culture fit. If you have one, please let us know down in the commentary box (provide us with the link to the study, please) and we will be happy to include it here but until then, consider any cultural fit assessment as nothing but a theory or assumption.

Since there is no replicable evidence that hiring for culture fit is a legitimate method, no dignified and competent recruiter should practice it until it is proven to be valid.

The types of recruiters who don’t bother to investigate the scientific evidence of their adapted selection practice are also the ones who don’t bother to measure or evaluate the success of their hires, whether their hires really fit with the corporate culture and whether those they rejected on that basis would really fail in their environment. Even worse, they are so haughty that they believe their own Cultural Fit Assessment is flawless as opposed to all the other ones that they admit being possibly biased. It is one thing to be wrong but a whole other level of fault not to be willing to admit or at least consider being wrong – this is a mark of a recruiter type that has no qualities to act as a gatekeeper for any decent company.

There is a general opinion and consensus that psychologists’ profession or psychology is the supreme authority when it comes to recognizing human cognitive and emotional abilities in the recruiting process. The high regard of it reflects in the fact that psychology majors are one of the most sought-after programs at colleges and universities. This notion and regard come from the fact that besides psychology, there is no other recognized scientific discipline that specializes in the human mind, abilities, and behavior.

As an alternative, sometimes recruiters ask for a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities (part of the liberal arts) – a multidisciplinary study of human society, history, philosophy, and culture (literature, art, drama, music, languages, religion, and morality) – because its graduates are primed to be good problem-solvers and communicators excelling in critical thinking, analysis (qualitative, interpretive and theoretical, not scientific), and creativity, but their formal education didn’t equip them with the knowledge or skills to justifiably recognize top talent or the culturally fit.

Then there are virtuologues, a new, yet relatively unknown breed of professionals, whose specialization goes beyond the mere human mind and behaviors into the broader domain of human consciousness, which is also the subject of psychology and philosophy but to a much lesser degree. Virtuologues specialize in specific modes of consciousness, especially the constructive ones, which are also called virtues, and in raising one’s own level of consciousness so as to raise one’s own level of well-being and success.

With the amount of trust in psychologists and reliance on them, you would think that they get everything right but they don’t, as a vast amount of studies and reports reveal:
Hundreds of Psychology Studies Are Wrong
• book Psychology Gone Wrong
Psychology’s Credibility Crisis
The Psychologist’s Fallacy
This Is What Is Wrong With the Core of Psychology.

This is not to demean anyone but to look the truth in the eyes. Let’s be honest, psychology tests and assessments have proven wrong on countless occasions. One such high-profile example is the famous IQ test, which is proven so wrong that hardly ever anyone considers it nowadays. But it was highly respected and used in the old days. How many other such psychological tests and assessments are currently in usage that have no proven value, do you know? You don’t want to know. Because if you knew, you would not rely on recruiters who majored in psychology to be the gatekeepers on who should join your team or not.

Reconsider using personality assessments (designed by psychologists) to screen job candidates because there is no proof of them being reliable. This is a more than $500-million-a-year industry, growing by about 10 percent annually in recent years. There are thousands of personality assessments available, and their quality varies. Some might even land an employer in legal trouble.

Compared to other hiring selection practices, personality assessments are among the least effective in predicting job performance, according to research by the University of Iowa, US. Test responses can change depending on mood and environment, as opposed to enduring personality traits. Also, in self-report personality assessments, job applicants can fake the answers – give the responses that they think the employer wants. Individuals should not be pigeonholed based on their personality assessment.

One example of faulty personality assessment is the assumption that one needs to hire an extrovert for a sales position. That inclination is wrong because I know plenty of people who are quiet and introverted but successful in sales. They would tell you that the best tool for a salesman is his ears—listening, not talking, but most psychologists won’t hear it.

Another such narrow-minded test or assessment that is now trending among such recruiters is the one about culture fit. Cultural fit and functional fit are two criteria that human resource departments consider when evaluating candidates for employment.

Culture fit in the context of recruiting is about having employees whose beliefs, values, and behaviors are in alignment with those of the employer. Cultural fit is the likelihood that a job candidate will be able to conform and adapt to the core values and collective behaviors that make up an organization. But this is opposed to the diversity and inclusion policy – don’t the people who studied psychology get that?

When it comes to culture, companies are like communities or even countries, who also have their culture. What would you think about the countries or communities, who don’t allow people of different values or even cultures to become their citizens or members? If companies accept customers with different values, why wouldn’t they accept employees with different values? Think about that.

We are living in a modern world where multicultural societies thrive the most, but there are psychology-majored recruiters out there who believe that it is wrong to have a diverse team and who don’t include those who don’t fit into their idea of what a great culture is.

Although the idea behind the culture fit assessment may be viable, the way the recruiters go about it is certainly not. The sort of questions they ask the candidates to determine whether they are a cultural fit is absurd, bordering on insane. So much that some go as far as using an algorithm to assess whether candidates are culturally fit!

Of course, there are some broad determinants, but the candidates have already taken those into account before applying. So, vegans will never fit into an environment where animal-killing is accepted, so they won’t apply for the jobs in the companies that exploit animals or do animal testing or sell meat. Likewise, the individuals who thrive in a casual environment are not likely to apply for the jobs that thrive in a strictly formal setting. Those who don’t share the values of the pharmaceutical companies won’t come knocking on their doors.

When it comes to values, which are promoted as the most relevant determinants for the culture fit, they are usually so broadly shared that anyone could be a fit for them and, just to get the job, any candidate can just lie that they share the company’s values, which are stated on the company’s website. Besides, those values are mostly just on paper, whereas the employees don’t really consider them much in their day-to-day chores. And even if people share the same values, that is no assurance at all that they will work well as a team because for that values don’t count that much but other factors.

As the research on cultural fit has evolved in academia, companies began drawing their own interpretations and methods of hiring. Can someone please tell me how could possibly the standard questions like these determine whether a candidate would fit with the team:

• Where do you see yourself in five years?
• Tell me three strengths and three weaknesses of yours?
• What do you appreciate most about working in a team?
• Do you dislike any elements of teamwork?
• What drives you in your day-to-day work?
• Is there anything you like about your current colleagues?

Rarely anyone has firm answers to those questions, which is an additional reason not to judge them on that feeble criteria. If someone wants to become an astronaut in 5 years and you are concerned about staff retention in your non-astronaut business, this is still not a viable reason to dismiss the candidate, as he or she could bring enormous value in a short time regardless of their goals. Most people don’t achieve their 5 years goals anyway, so to consider that answer in the selection process is irrational.

One of the main problems companies have with retention is not that the employees turn out not to be culturally fit but the flawed executives, who fake DEI or create a climate that is either toxic or disadvantageous for certain types or classes of employees.
We don’t have the time for delving into the irrationality of each of those questions or any other ones that recruiters use to determine a culture fit, but we hope you get the idea by now.

It’s understandable to want to hire people who align with the characteristics or values of your organization. However, incorrectly identifying culture fit can lead to a homogeneous working environment that lacks diversity, and can play into your unconscious biases.
The interviewers may fall into the trap of seeking personal connections instead of actually identifying common values. It’s like the colloquial “beer test” wherein faced with the difficulty of choosing between two candidates, you go with the person you’d enjoy having a beer with. However, there is substantial evidence that playmates rarely make for a solid company process.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a business priority, and for good reason. Strong DEI policies are not just a “nice-to-have,” but rather essential for both individual and business success. In conjunction with ongoing global crises, social movements, and racial injustice, more people, especially the younger generations, are deeply invested in DEI and how organizations are approaching it. From existing employees to job candidates and even customers, people today are looking to invest their time, labor, and money into ethical, socially conscious businesses. If you are seeking only those that are culturally fit for you, then you are disregarding the public demand for diversity & inclusion of this day and age. The public will eventually find out about your malpractices and expose you. You have been warned.

If you need further convincing that dismissing those who seem not to be a culture fit is wrong, consider doing more research on that and this example: an older person returning to the workplace after caring for their children may not appear to fit into a culture of younger people happy to work late, but they will bring a whole lot of knowledge and life experience to the table that could make a difference to the business. And, just because they aren’t young and can’t go to the pub due to family commitments, it doesn’t mean they don’t uphold the same values of the business.

To avoid any misunderstandings, let’s state it clearly that corporate culture is very important but whether a job applicant is culturally fit is not that important because, with proper measures in place, such as those implemented by a virtuologue, anyone can adapt to a culture of their company that is compliant with true DEI. There is a proven correlation between the business culture of a company and its financial success, but let’s not confuse that with the recruiters’ flawed assessment for the culturally fit.

29
Sep

HR Transformation & Recruiting Paradigm Shift

When hiring professionals, most companies, if not all, don’t look beyond academic credentials, which cost them millions in lost opportunities. In the current paradigm, recruitment is based mainly on academic credentials, which is proven faulty. Allow me to make the case for natural talents and informal education.
As someone, who has worked 20+ years in HR and L&D, and built high-performing, award-winning teams, I know a thing or two about what it takes to perform well, and a college degree is not it – in many cases, as it turns out, it can be even an impediment.

Naturally, all leaders strive for top talent in their teams, but what exactly is the criteria for top talent? All HR specialists have their take on this matter, but since they come from academic circles, naturally they are biased and lean towards academic credentials. Those among the HR officials, who worked hard for years to get their academic degree, cannot dare to consider the prospect of uselessness or worthlessness of it for the actual performance ability.
Think about it.

What every employer is looking for now is a 20-year-old with 40 years of experience 😉

If you are ready to make enormous compromises, sweat, struggle, and get into huge financial debt to graduate from college, then you surely have faith in the academic credentials – this is then your religion, so to speak. Are you then in a position to accept college dropouts as your equals? Of course, not. If you work in HR, your bias is costing your company millions in untapped talent you reject every day. But it is not your fault. You are just a cog in a machine of the current paradigm. The perpetrators of the formal education established this paradigm, which you gullibly got caught up in, and they make every effort to keep this status quo, using you.

This is not to say there is no value in formal education or academic credentials, quite the contrary. There is enormous value in it and we are ever appreciative of it all. However, to say that informal education and self-education don’t have as much value, as old-fashioned HR officials reckon and accordingly act (rejecting those without academic credentials), it is not just proven faulty but highly narrow-minded, discriminatory, prejudiced, unfair, unjust, and intolerant, equivalent to sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, classism, religious intolerance, and such discriminatory approaches that feed into the Inequality issue.

There is enough solid evidence to prove that competence and capability for most, if not all, work don’t necessarily or exclusively come from formal education.
Also, there is enough solid evidence to prove that the level of success is determined by the level of consciousness, rather than the level of education. See Consciousness Theorem

In a world in which most companies claim to embrace and comply with the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) or even Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy, the unfortunate truth is that most HR officials have a very narrow-minded view of what that actually means. Diversity and Inclusion (or D&I) is an approach taken by organizations to building diverse teams and promoting an inclusive workplace, in order to set underrepresented groups up for success. For small-minded recruiters that means having to hire more women, people of color, and LGBT individuals.

However, the elements of diversity include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, immigration status, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. The socioeconomic status takes account of social and economic factors including educational qualifications, occupations, household income, the level of reliance on government income support, and the level of household overcrowding. D&I implies all of these elements, in particular including diverse educational qualifications!

Therefore, no company has the right to claim to adhere to Diversity and Inclusion, if they do it only partially. There is a vile trend of companies marketing their D&I or DEI policy when in fact it is nothing but a mere strategy to win more customers, build a reputation and increase revenues. To position themselves higher on the postcapitalistic market and exhibit their high standards, companies are weaving D&I or DEI into their mission statements but let’s not be fooled. Don’t they know that cool guys never call themselves cool? No one cares more about what you say than what you do. Top talent are calling on organizations to start practicing what they preach and build a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace. If you require and hire for certain positions only those with academic credentials, then this is not Diversity and Inclusion, but uniformity and exclusion.

Nowadays brands need to work harder to define what they stand for and what they don’t. Whether that means defining their stance on gender equity, politics, labor practices, or something else altogether, customers are expecting brands to hold themselves to a higher standard. Conscientious millennials are now the largest generation in the consumer base and workforce, shaping society in their image and expecting companies to be more value- and virtue-driven.

D&I approach is about gaining a proper understanding of the unique dynamics of diversity within an organization and then strategically addressing them to promote inclusion, innovation, and learning and to avoid discrimination due to stereotypes.

Excluding those without academic credentials and specific socioeconomic status is a far cry from the D&I or DEI as the public see it. Posting job requirements with a certain college degree is not being diverse and inclusive, let alone smart since a college degree says nothing about individual competencies and capabilities (as all savvy HR officials already know).

But this initiative is not about D&I or DEI benefits; it is not about dealing with the variety and heterogeneity of employees in a meaningful way that benefits all. It is about the solid facts or evidence that academic credentials are not the only measure of someone’s capabilities. There are countless records online, listing famous college dropouts or successful individuals and self-made millionaires who made it big without any academic credentials.

Here are just some of the few big shots, who have proven that the lack of academic credentials means nothing, and who would get rejected by the narrow-minded recruiters of this day and age: Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ellen DeGeneres, Ralph Lauren, Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Louise Hay, many US presidents and politicians (Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Franklin, Roosevelt, Jackson, Truman…), John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Roman Abramovich, Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Hans Christian Andersen, William Shakespeare, etc.

If any of those people would apply for a job at your company before becoming famous, your recruitment team would reject them in the current paradigm. That is why the paradigm needs to shift, don’t you agree?

Recognizing your top job candidates is not an easy task, which is why sluggish and biased recruiters rely on academic credentials. They can’t be bothered to check beyond such credentials, such as the cover letters and proposals because it is much easier to discriminate a whole demographic than having to consider everyone.

Let’s not deny it, discrimination is what recruiters need to do in the selection process, but if it is unavoidable, at least it has to be based on the factual determinants of success and a college degree is not one of them. Apart from countless college dropouts having enormous successes, further evidence is countless university graduates who are unsuccessful or unproductive.

Virtuologues enable you to improve your hiring and selection process, recognize which factors contribute to individual success, and train for those factors across your organization.
A narrow-minded recruiter looks at a “purple” candidate and sees a “purple” candidate, whereas a virtuologue sees the red and blue beneath the surface.

And let’s leave you with these progressive words of Elon Musk:

“You want to make sure that…if somebody great wants to join the company that they actually get an interview. This is actually one of my big worries. Like, if Nikola Tesla was alive today, could he get an interview? And if not, we’re doing something wrong. And I’m not totally sure he would get an interview. So, if one of the most brilliant engineers who ever lived could maybe not get an interview, we should fix that and make sure we’re not barring the doors from talent, or that we’re looking at the right things.
“Generally, look for things that are evidence of exceptional ability. I don’t even care if somebody graduated from college or high school or whatever… Did they build some really impressive device? Win some really tough competition? Come up with some really great idea? Solve some really tough problem?”