The term “quiet quitting” refers to an emerging workplace trend. Employees stop doing tasks they aren’t being paid for—like staying late, answering emails at night and on weekends, and taking on additional projects without getting the extra pay or recognition they deserve—and prioritize their well-being over their company’s. Many people feel underappreciated at work and frustrated by dead-end jobs and low wages that can’t keep up with inflation. This trend is an emotional response to two years of worrying about the pandemic, a possible recession, and political bickering.
To keep your employees engaged, congratulate them for their achievements and praise them if they go above and beyond. Letting employees know you value them as people can do wonders for employee retention. The more employees feel valued, the more engaged they will be in their jobs – and that can only help you, your team members, and the company’s success. To get quiet quitters engaged again, leaders must find ways to make every employee feel valued and appreciated. Instead of trying to combat disengagement, organizations should reduce the phenomenon of “quietly quitting” with these four strategies.
Create a Safe and Supportive Workplace
Providing a safe and supportive environment is a critical skill for any manager. An environment where employees feel free to try new things can lead to higher productivity, innovation, and better decision-making. The idea behind this management philosophy is that when employees don’t have to worry about being reprimanded if they fail, they are more likely to take risks and learn from those experiences. When creating this environment of trust, it’s important to remember that it takes time and effort on behalf of managers—they need to invest in their team members to create this trusted bond between their employees.
When a worker feels stuck in their career, it may be the reason they’re quietly quitting. To address this problem, management could provide career services that help employees find fulfillment in their jobs, such as mentoring or coaching. The company could also offer employees upskilling opportunities, teach them new skills, and train them to get to the next level.
Trust Your Employees
Hiring the right person is hard enough; once you’ve found that person, don’t make them feel like they’re under a microscope by micromanaging them. Some workers are morning people, while others work better in the afternoon. Providing a due date helps employees put in the time when they are most productive. This does not mean employees have complete freedom from schedules, but it allows them to adjust their agendas accordingly. Look for ways to improve your employees’ lives by addressing not just salary and benefits but also their happiness and fulfillment in the workplace. If an employee seems uninterested or unmotivated, ask that person how you can help.
Managers may have an idea of how people should complete their tasks, where and when to do them, and the result. However, there is sometimes a disconnect between what’s best for the company and what’s best for the employee. Some might think that if someone isn’t in the office from 9-5 every day, they aren’t working hard enough. Or that if an employee is unavailable to answer email 24/7, they aren’t dedicated enough. But this isn’t always true–some people would give up a few extra hours of sleep and tolerate additional stress at home if it means feeling more fulfilled at work. If you limit your employees’ ability to organize themselves, you’re not just impacting their productivity but their quality of life and work.
Check in with Employees Often
As a manager, you may not be able to interact with each of your employees regularly. If this is the case in your workplace, you could lose sight of how they feel about their work and what’s going on in their lives. If you encounter this situation, it’s vital that you meet with each employee individually— once a week or once every other week. This will allow you to learn how each person feels about their position and what’s happening in their life. Questions like “How are things going?” can help identify if someone is experiencing a problem and needs assistance. By listening to their response and asking follow-up questions, you’ll be able to determine if there’s something wrong and offer any necessary help.
To maintain a productive team, you should be proactive in staying connected with your team members and letting them share their concerns early on. By checking in with employees, leaders can help them if they have a problem. They can also spot potential issues before they become significant problems and address them before it’s too late. Stay vigilant for any signs of burnout, depression, or other mental health issues.
The “Stay” Interview
A “stay” interview is a way to keep employees engaged with the company. This should be proactive rather than reactive—for example, it could happen during an annual review or when an employee’s productivity has declined. The goals of a stay interview are: first, re-energize your employees about their work and career. Second, help them think about their career goals and how you can work together to achieve them so they can stay at the company. Lastly, identify any roadblocks between them and their goals so that you can address them before they become frustrated enough to leave.
The format is a friendly, informal conversation. The manager could kick things off by sharing some of the great things the employee has accomplished at the company. Tell the employee that you are proud of their work. Let the worker know about your plans to promote them within the company. Managers should frame this conversation as an opportunity to make workers happy and allow them to flourish in the organization.
Managers are in a tough spot when it comes to employees who have disengaged from their work—no matter how much effort you put into reaching out to them, it can be hard to get them involved again. The best way to engage a quiet quitter is to create a psychologically safe workplace, trust the employees you hired to get the job done, check in on how they are doing, and conduct “stay” interviews. Businesses and employers must adapt to new work cultures to maintain their organizations. Following these strategies can help companies prevent employees from quietly quitting and re-engaging their team members.
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