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How to prevent quiet quitting in your company

Quiet quitting is a major buzzword in the business world lately, and it’s more than just a problem. According to a survey conducted by Gallup in 2022 in the US, 23% were engaged at work, and the remaining 77% were quietly quitting. So, what is quiet quitting?

With work taking over life, employees feeling undervalued and underpaid, many are mentally checking out and reducing efforts, doing the bare minimum to avoid getting fired. The downside? It costs employers millions. The upside? It’s mostly an engagement problem, fixable with the right leadership. Keep reading to find out what quiet quitting is, how to spot it, and five ways to re-engage your workforce and minimize quiet quitting.

Why do many employees quiet quit from their work?

Before we look for ways to boost employee engagement, let’s understand the problem. We need to know what’s making our team members feel disconnected before we can come up with solutions to reignite their enthusiasm. Here are some common reasons why workers might quietly disengage.

Not Trusting the Boss

Managers play a big role in how satisfied and committed employees are to a company. To put it simply, as Jure Bratkic from SkipTheQueue says, “People join a company, but they leave their manager or supervisor.”

Employees lose trust in leaders when there’s a lack of openness. Unclear guidelines for promotions and performance evaluations can demotivate any employee. Other things, like poor communication or a perceived lack of understanding from leadership, can also contribute to this trust issue.

Feeling Disconnected and Disheartened

Employees don’t suddenly wake up feeling completely disconnected and disheartened about their jobs. Below are some reasons that can lead to these feelings.

Making Big Promises and Falling Short

When managers promise things they can’t deliver, like promotions or raises, it creates disappointment and a loss of trust in both the manager and the company. This can also lower motivation and productivity as employees start questioning the truthfulness of what their leaders tell them.

Unintentional Favoritism

According to Chris Mayfield, Founder and CEO of Profusion Consulting, if employees sense unfair treatment, favoritism, or a lack of transparency, it can damage trust in leadership and the overall organizational culture. This might push employees to quietly disengage as a way to cope, choosing to detach from their job without formally resigning.

Unconscious bias in the workplace, starting from the recruitment process, can impact the organization in various ways. It can lead to a lack of diversity and inclusivity, making employees feel like they don’t belong and even subjecting them to microaggressions.

Missing Interesting Work and Growth Opportunities

When employees are not given challenging tasks, they can feel bored and stagnant, especially those who thrive on new challenges and continuous learning. This monotony can lead to demotivation and, ultimately, employee disengagement.

Another reason for disengagement is a lack of learning and growth chances. According to Justin Forte, President and CEO of MyTRA Consulting, employees may join a company with eagerness to learn and contribute ideas, but over time, they realize their enthusiasm was misplaced. This could be because the employer needs to offer more opportunities for professional development, or it might simply be a case of the wrong job description, causing the employee to lose passion for their work.

Money Troubles

Financial stress affects people a lot, both in their thoughts and without them even realizing it. Hearing about pay cuts, salary freezes, and possible layoffs makes employees worry about their job security. This can make them feel like their hard work isn’t recognized or valued, leading to disengagement and more people becoming “quiet quitters.”

The uncertainty about work and the economy puts a heavy load on workers. It takes away their motivation to give their best, even though they have bills to pay. It creates a tricky situation where employees want to leave but can’t because they need the job for financial reasons. It’s like a “chicken and egg” problem – employees know they want to move on, but they can’t risk losing their job security. So, they end up quietly quitting, aware that they want to leave but stuck because of financial responsibilities.

Poor Company Culture

If the bosses don’t bother creating a workplace where employees feel valued, they’re setting the stage for quiet quitting. A toxic office, no support, and lousy leadership will make employees lose motivation and trust.

To stop or reduce the impact of quiet quitting, leaders need to make the workplace better. It’s crucial to have an environment that appreciates top workers and also helps those who might be struggling.

Balance Between Work and Life

When a company doesn’t make work-life balance a priority, it can cause serious problems. Seeing employees only as parts of a machine, ignoring their feelings and relationships, creates a bunch of issues. If there’s no empathy and guidance at work, it leads to unrealistically high expectations, long work hours, and unhealthy work habits.

Many younger workers are rejecting the idea of the “hustle culture.” For a big part of the workforce, quiet quitting doesn’t mean slacking off; it’s a way to avoid burnout by the corporate grind and being overworked. Since leaders often don’t understand the importance of setting healthy work-life boundaries, employees turn to quiet quitting as a way to prioritize their well-being and aim for a better balance between work and life.

3 Signs of Quiet Quitting

Spotting quiet quitting can be tricky, but these three behaviors might signal that an employee is disengaging.

Lack of Enthusiasm and Slipping Performance

Employees are human, and it’s normal for their enthusiasm and performance to vary based on stress and personal stuff. But if there’s a consistent lack of energy and productivity, that’s a red flag. Watch for folks missing deadlines, not finishing tasks, staying silent, or seeming uninterested in team or company goals. In extreme cases, employees who used to perform highly may suddenly start delivering way less.

Not a Team Player and Keeping Their Distance

Quiet quitters stick to the basics, so they’re not great team players. This might show up as weak teamwork, reluctance to step up, or not pulling their weight in team projects. They could also keep their distance from colleagues, not bothering to build relationships, either because they’re not interested or afraid of being “found out.”

Zoning Out in Meetings

At its core, quiet quitting is about being disengaged. In meetings, this might look like not paying attention, staying silent, showing up late, or even skipping meetings altogether.

Five Ways to Prevent Quiet Quitting

If you’re seeing a rise in quiet quitting, there are ways to turn things around. Here are five simple strategies.

Pay well and be flexible

To tackle quiet quitting, start with the basics. Many folks start looking for new jobs because they feel they’re not being paid fairly. It’s about respect. If promises of raises never materialize or responsibilities increase without a matching pay bump, employees feel undervalued. In today’s job market, employers need to offer a competitive salary that reflects current standards and each employee’s efforts.

Remote work has become a game-changer. Allowing flexible hours or a hybrid work model is a cost-effective way to enhance work/life balance. It shows trust, care for well-being, and values employees as individuals. Not everyone thrives on a “9 to 5” schedule, and a 2021 survey found that flexible hours were the top factor in increased productivity, with 64% preferring jobs that offer flexibility.

Provide Coaching and Development Opportunities

Individual coaching sessions are a great way to boost loyalty, motivation, and accountability while understanding each employee’s needs. It fosters communication without making employees feel micromanaged and helps managers grasp strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and career goals.

This understanding allows managers to use the right tools for coaching, supporting career growth with the appropriate challenges. Valued and supported employees are more likely to stay loyal, reducing the chances of quiet quitting.

Paid professional development is a perfect addition. It builds skills, showing the company’s commitment to employee excellence and their future with the company. Offering training with transferable skills signals a genuine interest in each employee’s career progression.

Establish Clear Career Paths and Internal Promotions

Coaching and training mean little if employees don’t see a real advantage. Clear career paths and a “promote from within” approach give employees a tangible goal. A strong coaching program and training, along with visible advancement opportunities, motivate employees daily and discourage quiet quitting. Without the chance for internal promotions, employees may lose motivation if they see external hires consistently getting the best jobs.

Bring in Gamification

Research shows that incorporating game-like elements at work can boost employee happiness by 89%, and 69% would stick with their employer for over three years if gamification is used. Gamification taps into employees’ desires for achievement, recognition, and rewards, making the workplace more engaging, cooperative, supportive, and solution-oriented—all while adding a fun element.

Employee Engagement

The simplest way can be the best. To know what your employees are thinking, why not ask them directly as a group? Order lunch, have a casual chat about what they like or dislike at work, what helps them succeed, how they want recognition, and what benefits matter to them.

Group settings often make people feel more comfortable sharing. Write questions on a board, have everyone jot down answers on sticky notes, group them by question, and use that as the basis for discussion. This way, employees keep some anonymity, and the “safety in numbers” leads to an open and productive conversation.

Conclusion

The phenomenon of quiet quitting poses substantial challenges for businesses. The subtle disengagement of employees can have far-reaching consequences, from decreased productivity and innovation to a negative impact on customer service and sales. Recognizing the signs and understanding the root causes of quiet quitting is the first step for businesses to address this issue effectively. By prioritizing employee well-being, fostering a positive company culture, and implementing strategies to boost engagement, businesses can create a work environment that not only retains valuable talent but also propels the company towards sustained success. In the face of quiet quitting, proactive measures aimed at reinvigorating employee motivation and commitment become essential for the long-term resilience and prosperity of companies.