Article: Quiet firing leads to quiet quitting, not the other way around: Anthony C Hood

Diversity

Quiet firing leads to quiet quitting, not the other way around: Anthony C Hood

Patterns of quiet firing often go unnoticed in employee exit surveys – being labeled as employees leaving for a ‘better opportunity’, says Anthony C Hood of First Horizon Bank.
Quiet firing leads to quiet quitting, not the other way around: Anthony C Hood

With other facets of employee management and workforce restructuring, leaders have also had to rework  their DEI policies since the pandemic. As the future of work changes, DEI policies take new turns – especially with increasing dependence on data for experience mapping. 

Amid the existing challenges of talent shortage, two new phrases have been making the rounds on social media: ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘quiet firing’. To understand how these phenomena have affected DEI policies and pushed decision makers to adjust their strategies, we caught up with Anthony C Hood, Chief DEI Officer of First Horizon Bank. 

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What have been the biggest challenges on the way to implementing DEI policies during the complete remote working phase? 

The past couple of years of remote work has helped to accelerate our DEI efforts. We launched a new DEI Council that met virtually every quarter for over a year. The virtual nature of our meetings allowed a greater level of inclusion and participation in our DEI efforts than we have ever had. 

Working virtually, we have been able to increase the number of women in our senior levels of leadership, expand our Associate Resource Group program and host more companywide DEI-related events than ever before. 

The bottom line is we have learned that our DEI champions and ambassadors do not have to be in the same room to collaborate at a high level.  

How do you see the future of DEI changing with the future of work? 

I have a couple of thoughts on this topic. First, the future of work will be data-driven and evidence-based.  Similarly, DEI-related strategy formulation and decision-making must be driven less by intuition, assumptions and emotions and more influenced by evidence-based, data-driven best practices.  

Does quiet firing hinder DEI efforts? If yes, how? If not, why? 

Quiet firing is merely a buzzword for what has been an unfortunate reality for those traditionally underrepresented in the financial services industry such as women, people with disabilities and people of color.  Quiet firing refers to passive-aggressive actions designed to encourage employee turnover such as withholding developmental feedback, overlooking employees for promotions and stretch assignments, and denying flexible work arrangements. 

Patterns of quiet firing often go unnoticed in employee exit surveys by being labeled as employees leaving for a "better opportunity." 

The better opportunities are ones where advancement, developmental feedback and flexibility are provided equitably to all employees. Quiet firing leads to quiet quitting, not the other way around.

When you find employees "quiet quitting," I can assure you that there's an equal or greater amount of "quiet firing" that preceded it.  

How has First Horizon Bank been investing in DEI over the last five years and what are the plans going forward? 

We have grown our DEI team from just two associates to four and centered our DEI efforts on elevating the critical role of equity. The bank is investing in unconscious bias training as well as a new executive sponsorship program targeted at women and associates of color. 

We have invested in a data analytics and insights consultant on our team who has built out a Power BI enabled-dashboard. This tool allows us to produce historical trend analyses and forecasts of data related to our hiring processes, associate value surveys and performance evaluations. Such reports and insights allow us to come alongside our leaders and provide them the coaching they need to accelerate our progress and interrupt patterns and strategies that are not moving the needle on our DEI efforts. Going forward, we are eager to continue our data-driven, enterprise-wide approach to DEI in which elevating equity is incorporated into every facet of the organization.

Where do you see yourself as a DEI leader in the next ten years? 

Continuing to reinforce the message that DEI is not the sole responsibility of the Head of DEI. Rather, it is a shared responsibility and opportunity for all of the leaders of an organization. When we're all accountable for making and sustaining progress on DEI, then we'll know it is fully embedded into the DNA and culture of the organization.  

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Topics: Diversity, Culture, #EmployeeExperience, #FutureOfWork

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