Are your employees quiet quitting? It could be you…
It’s been described as the new trend – quitting without actually quitting. We’re told it’s because the younger generation is more protective of their mental health, less accepting of extra hours and eschewing the ‘always on’ culture for better work-life balance.
I’m also hearing that Covid has made people lazier, more likely to reassess how much they put into their role and less concerned about losing their job due to the scramble for talent.
But is there something else going on? Could the reason your employees are quiet quitting actually be… you?
First thing’s first - quiet quitting isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s just another word for employees feeling disengaged with their work and the organisation they work for.
It’s also not just happening for a minority. In fact, a Gallup report worldwide found that only 15% of workers are actively engaged at work. That means up to 85% of people could be quiet quitting. That’s a big problem.
So what’s the answer? Well, instead of focusing on what your employees are not giving you, maybe you should be looking at what you can give them? In other words, could the answer be in the way leaders are engaging their workforce rather than in the workforce itself?
I believe that the culture of your organisation starts with you, so here are four things I think you can do to prevent quiet quitting in your company.
It sounds simple, but gratitude works. Of those disengaged employees surveyed, 79% reported that they would stop quiet quitting if given more recognition.
How are you recognising your employees? Do you regularly thank them for their hard work? Are you praising them in increments throughout a project, not just at the end when the goal has been reached?
Team lunches and days out are a great way of showing your recognition to your workforce, but nothing replaces a timely pat on the back – and it’s free.
…Use the right talents
In his book The 6 Types of Working Genius, Patrick Lencioni says that in the workplace, when our role requires us to use our strengths, we feel enthusiastic and engaged, but when our job relies too heavily on our weaknesses we feel frustrated – and we’re more likely to quietly quit.
So think about your employees. Have you taken the time to understand their strengths? What about their weaknesses? And more than this – are you putting these talents to good use in the tasks you set? Or are you creating a disengaged workforce because you’ve put the wrong people in the wrong roles?
…Equipment and obstacles
Many companies talk about empowerment, but empowerment is more than just a value on a wall.
It means equipping your employees to do the role you expect of them – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Do your staff have everything they need to perform their work well? How many layers of approval did they have to jump through to get that new office chair? How easy is your expenses system? Are you briefing them accurately and informatively on the tasks they need to complete? Do they have access to all the training they need? They’re little things, but they can all add up to disengagement when they don’t work right.
And what about emotional and practical support? Are you giving your employees the flexibility, trust and empathy they need to do their jobs in the context of their personal lives? If not, you could be contributing to a workforce that is quietly quitting.
We know that poor communication results in a breakdown of trust. Whether that’s because your people don’t feel comfortable voicing their opinions or you as a leader fail to share what’s going on in the wider business, a lack of openness means that trust declines.
The result? Employees start to wonder “what’s the point?” They unsubscribe from updating you with their progress, stop sharing new ideas and initiatives and fail to pipe up if they need help. In other words, they’re quitting without actually walking out the door.
Find out how you can improve your communication here.
A lack of development and no opportunity for promotion is often cited in exit interviews as a reason to leave the company. But it’s also a prime reason for quiet quitting.
Career development should be top of your agenda when talking to your employees in their one-to-ones and 360 appraisals. Helping them imagine how they can climb the ladder, increase their skillset and take on more responsibility is an integral part of engaging and empowering them in their roles.
The upside is that you’ll increase your productivity, upgrade your workforce and improve customer satisfaction in the process.
There’s nothing new about quiet quitting – but you might need new solutions to deal with it. By enabling trust in your organisation, understanding your team and providing the support and opportunities your people need, you can avoid disengagement at scale and boost productivity in the process.