In high school, I got my first job working at my local big chain supermarket. When I first began working there, I put in maximum effort, I wanted to do my job and I wanted to do it well. This is not the attitude any other employees there had, and my enthuasiasm for working was short lived. As time went on and I got my paychecks, I began to question why I was putting in so much effort for a company that clearly didn’t appreciate my effort. The company that I was working for were all scheduled for just under full-time work, working an hour less than full-time each week. This was an effort to work employees as much as possible without being required to provide benefits to their employees. On top of this, the hourly pay was 20 cents above minimum wage. The closest thing that the organization had to benefits was a 20% discount in the home and garden sections for employees.
Turnover was obviously incredibly low. The organization had zero incentive programs, however they had biannual performance evalutions performed by somebody whom you had never met, meaning they had never seen me work. In the end they gave out pretty much all average performance numbers and getting a raise from high performance was unheard of. During my two years working there, the only time that my pay went up was with a 25 cent increase in minimum wage. Naturally our pay raise was only 25 cents.
I observed a lot of actively disengaged employees and many not engaged employees. It seem like every employee there was on autopilot counting down the hours until they could make it home. Virtually none of these employees had any sort of company loyalty. After working there for two years, I only knew 2 employees in my sections of 50 that had been there since I started. Working there definitely taught me that when good employees are underappreciated they are sure to become average employees, and average employees become bad employees.
After participating in an implicit bias test at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/, I am relatively ashamed of my results. The test that I ended up taking was the Weight IAT. I tested and was placed in the “moderate automatic preference for thin people compared to fat people” along with 28% of other participants. Althought I wasn’t in the worst offending category, my results are news to me. Going into this test, I had assumed I would have an implicit bias to prefering skinny people to fat people but I didn’t know the bias was this present. Going forward, I need to be aware of my biases and how to mitigate them to give every person an equal shot.
In the article How to Take the Bias out of Interviews, comparative evaluations are listed as a way to calibrate across stereotypes and look at information rather than physical aspects of people. In an personal effort to eradicate and mitigate implicit bias I looked for other source that gave tips on how to remove bias from individual to individual, not just in the workplace. The article (2) suggests that increasing your exposure with different experiences with different groups will replace past experiences that you’ve had with other individuals with their characteristics. Those individuals that have limited exposure to individuals with different backgrounds and characteristics have only those experiences to draw upon. The article also states that taking time to pause and reflect as well as adjusting your perspective will help to reduce these biases.
In the future I plan to take more bias tests and actively work to find out what my biases are, how strong they are and work to consciously change my stereotypes.
 Bohnet, I. (2016, July 18). How to take the bias out of interviews. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2016/04/how-to-take-the-bias-out-of-interviews.
 Cherry, K. (2020, September 18). Is it possible to overcome implicit bias? Verywell Mind. Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/implicit-bias-overview-4178401.
Biases in the workplace are hardly news to anyone at this point. People make snap judgments and have instances of internal prejudices every single day. Could over-the-phone or message interviews be an effective tool for eliminating these biases?
Most of the in-person interviews that I have had have left me very unsure how I did. Was my body language correct? Was I wearing the right clothes? Is any of these relevant to the work that I would do, did it matter? A myriad of factors could have influenced what the interviewer thought about me, but how many of them were actually relevant to the work I was being interviewed for?
When I was interviewed for my position at a local mill in Roseburg, I had a structured interview conducted by a board of four members. I think that the company did an excellent job interviewing me, and I will now address the things I think they did right. I entered the room and each other them asked me a series of questions, some relevant, and some not. I was also asked to provide many STAR style responses to questions related to safety and ethics. I thought that the team was very effective in asking me the right questions. They were writing all of my responses down on the questions sheet, and this gave me the impression that they were going to compare my answers with those of other applicants horizontally. This structured interview style can be incredibly effective as it “allows different evaluators to reach similar judgments on a candidate” (2013).
There were, however a few things that I wish the company had done differently. I think that the interviewers asked too many questions that weren’t relevant to the work, and didn’t disclose many facets of the job that I was soon going to be started. I think that this was because these people had never seen the job being done, and had an inaccurate picture of the job in their head. If I were to go back and give those interviewers more advise I would tell them to refamiliarize themselves with the actual position that I was interviewing for and eliminate questions that are unrelated to the job to cut down on time (I was interviewed for two hours).
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Steinmetz, C. (2013). The Perfect Hire. Scientific American Mind, 24(3), 42–47. https://doi-org.ezproxy.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0713-42
When I first graduated from High School, I began a job at the local partical board mill cleaning large machines and making sure they were clear of debris. When I first applied for this position, the description of the work was relatively vague, it was more general and things were described as general labor. I ensured the interviewee that I was perfectly capable of hard physical labor.
After starting this position, I soon realized just how many roles that I had, and how many responsibilties this entailed. I wasn’t just cleaning machines, I was walking around the mill cleaning up chemical hazards with hazmat suits and respirators on. This certainly wasn’t disclosed to me in the interview or the job description. Eventually my job had tens of more responsibilities than I was aware of when I first started, some of which made me feel unsafe or uncomfortable. I began to exhibit withdrawl behavior, calling in sick every couple of weeks and this led to me eventually putting in my two-week notice. This was not what I signed up for.
This experience showed me just how innaccurate job descriptions can affect employee morale. If I had known everything the job entailed I never would have accepted the poistion in the first place.
As demonstrated in the lecture, definining a job will ultimately set employee expectations. The accuracy and contents of this description can mitigate confusion, turnover and morale. I had experience role abiguity and was uncertain with expectations of my role. I had also experience role overload, as I continued to work there I progressively had more and more responsibilities that were not listed in the initial job description.
Swift, Michele. Week 1 Ethics and HRM; Week 2 Lectures Turnover, Job Satisfaction & Managing Employee Engagement and Retention. 2021.
The companies that I chose to look more into from the “2020 Fortune Best Companies to Work for” were Cisco, Edward Jones and American Express. I chose these companies specifically because I had heard of them previously. Employees at American Express are saying that the work life balance is incredible and new parents get 5 or 7 months leave depending on their relationship to the child (mother or father). I think this is an amazing opportunity for employees and this truly shows that they care about their employees and their families. Employees at Edward Jones expressed that working there allows them to experience growth and promotes high care and high expectation environments. Employees at Cisco report having high levels of autonomy and offer strong support systems to their employees when in need of help.
I would love to be a manager that shows emphasis on valuing his employees. Much like Cisco, I would like to promote an establishment that offers leave to employees for various personal reasons and allows his employees to recharge when life happens. I think a large part of averting burnout for employees is creating work that is meaningful and allowing them to take time off when approaching burnout. Being a manager to me means communicating effectively with your employees and actually understanding what they are saying despite your opinion on it. Diversity is an essential aspect of the workplace. People with unique backgrounds and experiences have different ideas and perspectives that add value to an organization. This also means that your employees will not hold the same values that you have, that being said, disagreements are inevitable. I think that settling these disputes that arise would be the most difficult aspect of being a manager. Empathy is key.
“Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for® 2020.” Great Place to Work®, https://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-workplaces/100-best/2020.
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