Keeping valued employees on board has always been a considerable challenge for managers, but many are also dealing with a growing problem known as “quiet quitting”. This phenomenon is hurting morale and productivity, and it may even be worse than true quitting in some cases. Here is a look at what managers need to know about quiet quitting.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting occurs when an employee who is unhappy in their role makes a conscious choice to stop going above and beyond the call of duty and choose to complete only the bare minimum of effort required to hold onto their job.
It is a type of employee disengagement and inward rebellion against an uneven work-life balance. In some cases, employees may also be in the process of looking for a new job, while others have no intention of quitting but simply have lost the motivation to put in extra effort.
Employees who are engaging in quiet quitting will still fulfill their job responsibilities, but they may resist new ones and stop volunteering for extra tasks. They might also claim to be too busy to help managers or coworkers.
It is a disturbing trend that points to a disconnect between employers and employees, and it can create a toxic work environment, particularly when other coworkers must then assume an increased workload to make up for the lack of effort on the part of those who are quiet quitting.
Preventing Quiet Quitting
Quiet quitting can be very damaging to a company; managers should take steps to minimize the chances that their employees will become so overworked and overwhelmed that they start to disengage. Outlined below are some effective ways of preventing employees from quiet quitting.
Listen to Employees
It may be called quiet quitting, but it does not usually begin silently. Instead, many employees’ discontent begins after they voiced concerns about aspects of their job that their managers acknowledged but failed to correct or simply ignored. When an employee feels as though their manager is apathetic to their problems, they may respond with inaction.
Actively listening to employees and validating their experiences and feelings can be very effective in keeping them engaged. While it may not always be possible to fix the problems they are facing on the job, showing that you understand them and want to protect their best interests can make a big difference.
Many quiet quitters feel underappreciated at their job. When a person’s work goes unacknowledged, it can cause them to feel as if no one would notice if they stopped putting in extra effort, and they often test this theory by quiet quitting.
Employee recognition strategies can help counter this mindset. When you reward and acknowledge your employees for excellent work, it demonstrates to them that their efforts matter to you and the company, making them less likely to give up.
Avoid Overworking Employees
For most companies, it is impossible to guarantee a steady and predictable workload for every employee. The business world can be chaotic, and there may be times when workers need to take on extra tasks. However, it is important to keep in mind that no employee can be expected to work beyond their maximum capacity in the long term. All employees need time off to connect with their loved ones and disengage mentally.
When you are asking an employee to take on extra responsibilities, do not forget that you are essentially changing the standard operating agreement. Make sure that these increases are only short term and, if possible, make them optional as well. Should they end up having to assume the new duties indefinitely, they should be offered additional compensation or other incentives, or a promotion. Even when an employee seems eager to take on extra work, you must take care not to take advantage of that willingness in the long term.
Maintain Certain Boundaries
Quiet quitting involves employees essentially setting their own boundaries and stopping management from overstepping. Therefore, managers who maintain these boundaries on their own can often prevent such an extreme reaction.
There are a few ways that managers can do this effectively. For example, it may be possible to reward employees who stay late by giving them permission to leave early on a different day to make up for the lost personal time.
If possible, emphasize that answering emails or phone calls after hours is optional; if this is not feasible, consider introducing an on-call system so the burden can be rotated among different employees, or use a system to mark messages as urgent so that employees do not feel that they have to constantly check work email in their free time.
Pay Attention to Behavioral Changes
Quiet quitters often feel that no one is paying attention to them and that their lack of effort will go unnoticed. This can be countered by paying attention to changes in your employees’ behavior. This is particularly true of those who tend to be high performers as most quiet quitters are those who once stood out from the pack but became disillusioned. Those who have always leaned toward underperforming do not tend to be quiet quitters.
When a standout employee starts to pull back and their productivity or enthusiasm drops, try to identify the root cause and correct it. In some cases, employees could possibly be experiencing personal problems, but if the source of their discontent is work related, take corrective action as soon as possible.
Ensure Your Employees are Properly Compensated
One of the biggest causes of quiet quitting is inadequate compensation. Some employees are perfectly willing to do extra work as long as they will be appropriately rewarded for it.
Make sure that the pay you are offering your employees is competitive with the current market rates and living standards, and find ways to boost their compensation when they make an extra effort or take on extra tasks. Increasing their salary may not always be possible, but additional benefits, perks or flexibility with work hours can help significantly.
Speak to the Experienced Benefits Consultants at Business Benefits Group
Keeping valued employees engaged can be challenging in the modern business world. For expert guidance on preventing and addressing quiet quitting, schedule a consultation with the experienced benefits consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG) today.