Musk orders employees commit to ‘hardcore’ hours, workers might be your best recruiters

Plus, novel ways to detect burnout.

Greetings comms pros! Let’s look at some news stories from the last week and see what we can learn from them.

  1. Elon Musk gives Twitter staff deadline to commit to being ‘hardcore’

New Twitter owner Elon Musk continued his pattern of questionable decisions at the helm of the social platform, now demanding that employees commit to longer hours and harder work as part of “Twitter 2.0”.

The Guardian reports:

“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” Musk wrote.

The message asked staff to click on a link if they want to be “part of the new Twitter” by 5pm New York time (10pm GMT) on Thursday.

Anyone who has not affirmed their commitment by that deadline, Musk said, would receive three months of severance pay.

Suffice to say, many staffers took him up on the severance.

The New York Times reports:

All the while, two people said, resignations started to roll in. By the deadline, 5 p.m. Eastern time, hundreds of Twitter employees appeared to have decided to depart with three months of severance pay, the people said. Twitter later announced via email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable employee badge access until Monday.

The shedding of so many employees in such a compressed period has raised questions about how Twitter will keep operating effectively. While Mr. Musk has brought in some engineers and managers from his other companies, such as the electric automaker Tesla, many of them are just coming up to speed on how the social media service works, five people said.

Mr. Musk and Twitter, which no longer has a communications department, did not respond to requests for comment. But in a tweet late Thursday, Mr. Musk joked about how much he had paid for the social media firm.

From instituting layoffs and then begging some employees to come to the fiasco regarding verified accounts, to say that Musk’s choices have been baffling since he’s taken control of the company have been a fiasco is a major understatement. No matter what company you’re working at, asking your employees to effectively work harder or get out is not the way to go about business.

2. Your best employees may be your best recruiters: empower your top talent to attract new talent

Sometimes the best people to make your organization look attractive to new subject matter experts are your current employees.

According to a post on Forbes:

I often say that my company’s services are provided by a team of subject matter experts, and this is quite literally true, whether it’s the safety-and-risk professionals or the legal team or the tax team. But what’s also true is that they are experts on our company culture, on our values, and on the opportunities for training and development. They know precisely what it’s like to work for us and are our very best source of referrals when it comes to connecting the right opportunity with the right talent.

Many businesses leverage this employee expertise in different ways. Some offer bonuses to employees who simply share a job posting on social media. This is a great way to reach hundreds of an employee’s connections, but I recommend a more strategic approach. I want to know more than whether a candidate is interested in an opportunity; I want to make sure that they are a good fit for our company. I want to know their skills and abilities, but I also want to know about their work ethic, their values, and their goals.

It’s been said many times because it’s true:  the best ambassadors for your company are the people who can speak to the culture and experiences of your organization. When you’ve got happy, engaged employees, you’re a lot more likely to have people willing to step up in this fashion. Building a positive culture should be a top priority for any business today, and when that culture is in place, you’re likely to have people willing to sing your organization’s praises to prospective employees.

3. The importance of using data around digital distractions to detect employee burnout

Even though work-from-home or hybrid work situations can help employees with work-life balance and flexibility, the lack of contact with co-workers and longer hours can sometimes lead to burnout.

According to a post on Forbes:

Social isolation as a consequence of remote work is a well-documented phenomenon, but its impact on burnout is more poorly understood. For one thing, flexible work arrangements have been hailed as a solution to the burnout epidemic due to the degree of independence and autonomy they confer on employees, complicating the understanding of how these situations could simultaneously be contributing to burnout and employee attrition.

The fact is, sustaining employee well-being in flexible and hybrid working arrangements relies on two things: insights and action. Managers who are simply reactive may lose valuable employees whose stress and disengagement has gone unnoticed for too long—losses that, particularly in an era of talent shortage, will come at a high cost to companies’ bottom lines (to say nothing of the toll on the burnt-out employees themselves). Fortunately, there are some very important metrics that can be used to spot burnout and potential attrition, allowing managers, HR personnel and even company leaders to intervene and avert disaster.

The post went on to describe non-self-reported data such as screen time, breaks (or a lack thereof) and digital distractions as potential factors when looking into burnout. No matter the work situation, employees should have the time and space to blow off steam or recharge in whatever ways they deem fit. A burnt-out employee is not going to be an effective or happy employee, no matter how you slice it.

While there are certainly some privacy concerns that could come from monitoring screen time, the hope is that this sort of tech would be used for good and not to pressure employees to work more.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend, comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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