For the past few months, the term ‘quiet quitting’ has become a widely discussed topic.
Although it is not new, it has become more prevalent possibly due to the rise of start-up mentalities, ‘hustle culture’, and remote working.
Some people define quiet quitters as employees who are only doing the bare minimum work just to get by. They no longer show the desire and willingness to bring more to the table at work.
Others say that quiet quitting is about standing up to employers who are expecting employees to do more without the appropriate pay. That it is a form of rebellion against today’s ‘hustle culture’ and ‘toxic productivity. Employees are looking to set healthy boundaries and reclaim their work-life balance so that they will not experience burnout.
Why companies are concerned about quiet quitting
Quiet quitting is so much more than a decrease in productivity and performance.
Employers are concerned about this phenomenon because it can have detrimental effects on workplace culture and relationships. If left unchecked, this could easily lead to employees losing a sense of purpose and satisfaction, ultimately leaving them feeling like their role is meaningless.
Additionally, when someone lacks motivation and has become disengaged, it becomes a lot easier for them to adopt an overall more negative perspective towards their own life. This will not only affect themselves, but they might also bring down their peers’ morale and motivation.
However, it is essential for leaders to remember that quiet quitting is not about actually quitting—at least not yet.
Your employees are essentially sounding an alarm, showing that something is not working within your company. So, instead of being afraid, you should treat quiet quitting as an opportunity for you to fix and improve the things that are not working well in your organization.
The tell-tale signs of quiet quitting
In order to address this issue efficiently, you need to be able to quickly identify the signs of quiet quitting.
Here are some of the tell-tale signs you need to look out for:
- Skipping or being late to meetings
- Leaving work early
- Reduced productivity and contribution
- Lack of passion or enthusiasm
- Less respect for deadlines
- Withdrawing from optional activities
- Obvious disengagement on a regular basis
- Self-isolation from the team
- Lack of effort to address and solve issues
5 driving factors of quiet quitting
Quiet quitters do not just simply become disengaged without experiencing certain triggers. We have found that these are the 5 most common reasons why your employees are unhappy with their work or your company.
1. Poor well-being
Your employees, especially young professionals, are more aware of the importance of maintaining their mental health than ever before. When they feel like their well-being is not being prioritized by the company, they will not hesitate to jump ship to other companies that offer significant wellness-related benefits or they will simply quietly quit.
2. Remote working
Due to the pandemic, many employees have to work from home. Although most can find numerous benefits to working remotely, others might have difficulties in adjusting to this new way of working. Boundaries between work and personal life may start to become blurred. As a result, they become disengaged, work becomes more siloed, and soon they lose their motivation and purpose in their work.
Many leaders often assign extra work to certain individuals without taking note of their current workload, and skillset, or even without giving them the support or tools that they need to succeed. Those employees will soon feel overwhelmed and exhausted with the amount of work on their plate. They will also feel stressed out when their quality of work takes a dive due to the mountain of tasks they have to complete.
When employees are overworked and exhausted, this will often lead to burnout. About 80% of quiet quitters are employees who are burnt out. They are usually the kind of people who have gone above and beyond for their company, yet they receive little to no recognition for their hard work. Sometimes, the only reward they will receive is more work—which will negatively impact their physical and mental well-being.
5. Lack of challenges
When your job no longer challenges you to upgrade your skills, your work can quickly become stale and meaningless. A lot of quiet quitters do the bare minimum because they spend most of their time on autopilot, doing the same tasks over and over again. This can go to the point where they no longer find purpose in what they do, finding it hard to stay motivated and engaged.
What can leaders do to prevent quiet quitting?
When your team becomes unmotivated and disengaged at work, it is important that you address the situation quickly and empathetically. Here are 7 things you can do to prevent quiet quitting.
1. Be welcoming and approachable
A lot of issues usually become unaddressed because employees are too afraid to bring them up with their leaders or managers. So as a leader, be sure to leave your door open, take your time to wander around your office, and engage in a conversation with your team. In a remote setting, be sure to schedule regular one-on-one sessions with your team. This will make you seem more approachable and they will be more likely to come to you when they need your help.
2. Discuss workload concerns
It is essential that you take the time to discuss any concerns regarding your employees’ workload. What kind of tasks do they enjoy the most? Where do they need more support? Do they have all the tools they need to complete their tasks successfully? Are they being challenged enough or are they overwhelmed with their current responsibilities?
Getting an idea of what your employees can and cannot handle will go a long way in ensuring that they can do their job well without compromising their own well-being.
3. Encourage work-life balance
Take the necessary steps to remind your employees to take a break and destress. Ask them about their interests and hobbies, encourage them to explore creative pursuits, and make sure that they have set healthy boundaries between their work and personal life.
4. Double down on (personalized) recognition
When employees do not receive the recognition they deserve, it will leave them feeling underappreciated, frustrated, and unsatisfied. This interferes with their ability to recognize the value and purpose of their work. Unfortunately, many leaders fail to recognize this as a priority in their leadership.
In reality, every time you praise somebody for their good work, you are not only motivating them to keep doing good work, but it also stimulates dopamine (pleasure hormone) which improves their physical and mental well-being. Increased dopamine leads to happier employees, boosting their productivity and overall performance.
Find out how you can provide personalized recognition for your team here: Personalizing Recognition: Are You A Hydrangea or A Cactus?
5. Meet their current needs
In order to keep your employees happy, you have to understand what they currently need. Try to identify how you can support your team in different working situations, whether it is on-site, hybrid, or remote. Providing employees with relevant and valuable perks will help improve their productivity, engagement, and curb turnover. The best way to figure out what kind of perks will help them the most is to ask them directly. Have you tried this out?
6. Talk about their career progression
How can your employees feel motivated to give their best when they cannot see the trajectory of their career? This is why it is crucial to conduct quarterly career progression discussions to define employees’ future career goals and what kind of upskilling opportunities you can offer them. This will help them see the bigger picture and find purpose in their role in your company.
7. Have regular check-ins
In order to quickly identify the signs of disengagement, you and your front-line managers need to do frequent check-ins with your team—especially when working remotely. Ask how they are currently doing, their struggles and pain points, their goals, and how you can provide better support for them. Frequent and meaningful conversations allow you to address potential issues quickly and keep the team engaged.
It all comes back to coaching
All in all, the key to preventing quiet quitting is to establish a coaching culture within your organization.
When leaders and managers are trained to do regular check-ins, ask the right questions, and know how to map out a clear action plan that can help employees achieve their career goals, they will feel supported and valued.
If you are interested in learning more about how coaching can help your business retain valuable employees, book a call with our program advisor today.