Employment Ethics

Written on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 4:13 pm by Liz
Filed under Financial Freedom.

“A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

At this point of economic recession, a period that the Federal Reserve calls “the disappointingly slow” U.S. recovery toward a faster pace of growth, it can only mean that the 14.8 million unemployed Americans may stay that way much longer than everyone hopes for.

Trading Economics states that “the unemployment rate in the United States was last reported at 9.60 percent in October of 2010.” Many of us may know a number of people who are among this statistic, a spouse, a friend, or a relative. And for many of us, unemployment, and the serious issues tied with it, is all too real, and hits very close to home.

Just a few hours ago, I came across an article in The Huffington Post about a disturbing job add with red print at the bottom saying “The unemployed need not be considered.” This ad is by a Texas-based electronics company in need of a “Quality Engineer”. The ad is currently posted in The People Place, a job recruitment website for the telecoms, aerospace, defense and engineering industries.

I feel you, Dianne

Reading this article reminded me of the Small Business CEO’s online magazine, September 2010 issue, Admin section. This is probably why Dianne Shaddock, founder of www.EasySmallBusinessHR.com wrote her article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? I sensed that hers was an emotional piece, and I could read mixed anger and disappointment in between the lines:

“There are a lot of really good people out there who are unemployed and we are doing them a disservice if we are writing them off even though they are qualified on paper for job opportunities.

Even poor performers deserve a second chance as sometimes it is a situation of job fit, or conflicting styles between the supervisor and the employee that results in an employee being labeled a poor performer.”

Dianne, being an HR professional, felt strongly about the ethics of recruitment, and essentially, giving each job candidate equal chance.

When to hire and when to let go

This is definitely a hot topic for both job seekers and recruiters, which is why, in the same September 2010 issue of Small Business CEO’s online magazine, Craig Nathanson talked about “Hiring and Letting Go.” Craig is the founder of The Best Manager™, provider of workshops and products that aim to bring out the best in those who manage and lead others.

Being a 25 year management veteran, Craig gave experienced advice on an organization’s process for hiring, evaluating and letting go. In a way, he talked about appropriate HR and organization ethics that breeds a healthy system for both employee and employer.

“When hiring, the best manager looks at three following factors: if the person has the ability to do the role, if the person has motivation to do the role, and if the person fits well with the existing staff.”
According to Craig, most recruiters hire based on what’s written on the applicant’s resume alone. Critical evaluations on the applicant’s motivation and culture adaptability, which are important for finding “a good fit” become secondary considerations. Aside from the applicant’s skill set, personality, work style and skills background should be looked into.

Humane approach for hiring and letting go

If a new hire does not perform as expected, Craig says that it does not necessarily mean that HR made a mistake in their choice. “The success of the hired person depends on the whole system. For example, a demanding micro-manager will get less performance out of the same person who, instead, might be doing well enough working for a smarter manger.”

The emotional rollercoaster I found myself on after all this talk on unfair treatment for the unemployed, sort of balanced out with Craig’s reminder that “the best manager knows that it’s the system that determines the behavior and performance of its members” and that when it’s time to let go of an employee, the best manager knows that the humanistic moral approach is the only right approach.

Why this policy for the unemployed is unethical

Why Dianne Shaddock’s article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? was in the end, an appeal to fellow HR professionals to do the right thing for all job candidates whose resumes land on their tables….

That company ad reported by the Huffington Post has an obvious employment policy that is ethically inexcusable. More so at this time when majority of those desperate to land a job is among the 14 million Americans who are currently unemployed. This policy is based on wrong generalized assumptions – that the applicant is unemployed because of performance issues, and does not even consider lay off realities. And a job seeker who comes across an ad with those words gets a hard kick in their gut; something, they don’t need at the moment.

Like Dianna and Craig, it is my fervent hope, that organizations and businesses will have humanely responsible policies on employment for those qualified and desiring to be given a chance.


Image by: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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