Humility is an elusive word. Defined by Oxford Languages as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance,” humility can be difficult to understand in practice. Saint Augustine once said: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” While the definition of humility implies a lack of self in action, it can be a dedication of the self to greater values and aspirations. At Recruit Action, we see humility as a foundation for our work, guiding our interactions with each other and our customers.
In the modern workplace, corporate culture fueled with competition and metrics can overshadow the value of humility. The best managers are regularly described as confident and authoritative, whereas weakness and self-doubt are often associated with humble leaders. It can be challenging to be humble when the status quo parades egotism and power. However, research shows that humility is, in fact, vital for successful businesses, and workplaces that promote it are happier and more productive. A study by Paul J. Zac at Claremont Graduate University revealed that professional teams promoting humility and trust reported 75% less stress, 50% higher productivity, and 40% less burnout. Under these circumstances, the teams achieved positive project outcomes, curbed negative influences, and improved financial performances overall. Outside of the research, it is evident that humility is critical for authentic interpersonal communication. When you exercise humility, you lay a common ground of respect, openness, and understanding. In an age of digital disconnect, growing workloads, and burnout, encouraging humility in your business is more important than ever.
We would like to share some insights we have gained on the value of humility through our professional experiences at Recruit Action. Humility is crucial to effective communication, enabling you to build personal connections and find commonalities in workplace interactions. Putting ourselves in the applicants’ shoes, we consider how the job search impacts them and ensure that conversations are positive and thoughtful. We aim to be transparent in our dialogue, providing clear information about the recruitment process. Our team members always follow up with contacts and are available to answer their questions or concerns. Hiring staff or searching for a job can be stressful, so by approaching discussions with humility, we aspire to produce a welcoming and fruitful experience.
Humility helps us learn from our mistakes. Acknowledging we don’t have all the answers enables us to find solutions more quickly and encourages problem-solving. As the proverb goes, “to err is human,” and embracing mistakes without judgment promotes a culture of learning and self-awareness. People are less afraid to discuss new perspectives or try new things for fear of something going wrong. Instead of the same errors occurring repeatedly, missteps made in an environment of humility become a sign of innovation.
Relationships are the foundation of everything we do at Recruit Action, and humility empowers us to develop strong bonds between co-workers and clients. We believe it is paramount to take the time to grow lasting partnerships based on appreciation and trust. With our co-workers, humility facilitates stronger, more supportive teamwork. With candidates, humility gives us insight into their needs so we can provide a personalized service. Rather than reduce someone to bullet points on a CV, a humble approach to recruitment prompts us to slow down and see everyone’s unique holistic value. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful for a position, we take time to give them constructive feedback and maintain contact to share further opportunities. We genuinely want to help people progress in their job search, and through a perspective of humility, we create long-term relationships to see individuals reach their success.
Cultivating humility in the workplace fosters empathy and helps us build a company rooted in authenticity. Shama Hyder, founder and CEO of Zen Media, aptly said to Forbes Magazine: “Humility and empathy go hand-in-hand. Both characteristics demonstrate a desire to listen to others and care about people on a human level.” During the recruitment process, we take the time to pay sincere attention to each candidate, listening carefully to their needs and career aspirations. We try to understand what motivates someone in a job by asking open-ended questions and adapting our interactions to help each person best. Being as open as possible inspires others to reciprocate openness. Instead of imposing expectations or pressures, we aim to respect the candidates’ desires and offer them opportunities aligned with their goals. To act humbly is to treat others as you want to be treated, and expressing empathy for the well-being of another is a simple but transformative act.
Recruit Action’s focus on humility helps us to develop effective communication, grow from our mistakes, build lasting relationships, and foster empathy. Our jobs and business are an extension of who we are as people. Practicing humility at work enables us to offer more successful support to clients and candidates and demonstrates our fundamental care for human beings. At Recruit Action, we endeavor to show up daily with humility and build a strong foundation for human-centered recruitment.
We invite you to contact us to learn more about why we value humility.