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Quiet Quitting: What is it? How Can Businesses Avoid it?

Posted on October 5, 2022
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Quiet quitting is a new buzzword among companies and employees this year — and not in a good way.

Quiet quitting refers to employees doing only what their job specifies — and nothing more. At least half of employees in the United States are quietly quitting, a 2022 Gallup survey found. What does that mean? It means that at least half of employees aren’t giving their best. They’re burned out and dissatisfied, and they’re mentally checked out.

Quiet quitters feel that their interests are being overlooked by their employers. It’s a problem because companies that fail to make their employees feel valued see plummeting job satisfaction rates. In fact, only 24% of Americans surveyed in February 2022 believed their managers had their best interests at heart, a drop from 49% in 2020.

Employees have been urging company leaders to prioritize their needs. Failing to be heard, employees took to social media to share workplace sentiments that have led them to quietly quit. The massive discussion about workplace dissatisfaction sparked widespread interest in early 2022.

And it’s becoming a problem for companies: quiet quietters are affecting workplace productivity and disrupting their company’s performance, while also affecting the morale of their co-workers.

But while this phenomenon may appear to be an alarming organizational problem, employers can take steps to address it and reinspire employees. Read on to discover exactly what quiet quitting is and the strategies employers can use to address it.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Company leaders need to take action to combat quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting is when employees are not going above and beyond at work. It does not mean leaving the job altogether. They are just doing the bare minimum at work.

There are many reasons why employees take this route. It could be too much workload. Or it could be a lack of motivation due to their employers’ inability to attend to their needs and make them feel valued. It’s also possible they aren’t being challenged enough in their role.

The quiet quitting trend started during the pandemic, when employees clamored for additional measures to improve their welfare, such as flexibility in their work setup. And as the world moved past the pandemic, employees continued to urge their company leaders to prioritize their needs.

But is quiet quitting a new trend? No. Manifestations of quiet quitting existed in the workplace as early as the 1970s — they just called it something else: disengaging. So, it’s not a new phenomenon. Clocking in and doing only the bare minimum — sometimes called “idling” — has long been a part of the workplace.

And many people agree. In a LinkedIn poll, 37% of respondents agreed quiet quitting is just a new term for an old experience.

Regardless of whether quiet quitting is a new or old attitude to work, the fact is, it is happening today — and company leaders need to take action to combat it.

How to Prevent Employees from Quiet Quitting?

To help thwart quiet quitting in the workplace, the key is to motivate and energize employees. Here are five strategies to rejuvenate your workforce:

1. Understand the “Why”

Leaders can figure out how to address employee concerns only if they understand why employees have chosen quiet quitting.

Leaders can spot employees who are starting to quit quietly. Early signs are when they start to do less at work, seem disinterested in meetings, or submit subpar reports, among others.

When leaders notice these signs, they should make an effort to understand the reasons behind the declining motivation of certain employees.

Leaders can figure out how to address employee concerns only if they understand why employees have chosen quiet quitting. And it’s important to figure it out sooner than later because failing to act can increase the chances of those employees resigning outright.

2. Encourage Open Communication

Employees are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work when they believe they can freely share feedback about their team and the company.

Encouraging open communication with employees has many advantages. For one, leaders who initiate open discussions with employees can gain a better understanding of the dynamics and conflicts among team members, as well as other concerns affecting work productivity.

Employees are also more likely to be engaged and invested in their work when they believe they can freely share feedback about their team and the company — both positive and negative. They will feel that their voices are being heard and their opinions are valued.

Overall, open communication among teams and between an employee and a leader can create a more positive work environment and help avoid misunderstandings.

3. Challenge Your Employees

Allowing employees to improve their skills, advance in their careers, and avoid stagnation leads to their gaining a sense of accomplishment.

It’s natural for employees to become disengaged with their work when they feel stuck in a rut. In some cases, work can become monotonous for employees who have held the same role for a long time. In other instances, employees may feel that specific tasks do not challenge their skill sets.

In a Gloat Research survey, 54% of employees said their current role does not make good use of their skills, and 25.2% didn’t know what skills are required to progress in their organization.

To help employees feel engaged, leaders can give them tasks that test their skills and abilities. Allowing employees to improve their skills, advance in their careers, and avoid stagnation leads to their gaining a sense of accomplishment.

4. Practice Employee Recognition

Company leaders who make efforts to recognize employees for a job well done can help inspire their workforce to do their best work for the organization.

A recent survey showed that 37% of workers consider employee recognition to be a factor in encouraging them to produce better work more regularly.

Company leaders who make efforts to recognize employees for a job well done can help inspire them to do their best for the organization.

Employee recognition can come in many forms. It can be as simple as a thank you card, a sincere email message, a team lunch out, or an award to show appreciation for a job well done.

Whatever type of recognition a leader prefers, it is ideal to provide it regularly. Why? Regular acts of employee recognition can give a consistent boost to the workforce.

5. Give Access to Coaching Sessions

An expert such as a coach can help employees identify their career objectives and develop a plan to accomplish them.

Every employee can benefit from taking part in coaching sessions. An expert such as a coach can help employees identify their career objectives and develop a plan to accomplish them.

Coaching sessions can also improve how employees deal with work-related obstacles. Perhaps they’re struggling with a certain work project or coping with a challenging work scenario. Continual encouragement and assistance can be provided by a coach to help them consider the challenge in different ways and guide them through it.

Launching a coaching program also shows proof of a company’s dedication to employee growth. This act of commitment to employee growth can lead to enhanced employee morale, increased loyalty, and reduce job turnover.

Prioritize Employee Well-Being to Fight Quiet Quitting

The quiet quitting trend has seen declines in workforce productivity that are increasingly becoming an obstacle for businesses. But it can be avoided by making employees’ well-being a company priority.

Coaching is one of the great tools to aid in ensuring employees’ well-being: it assists in the growth and motivation of any organization’s employees and helps address challenges that get in the way of productivity. Providing coaching sessions also shows employees that leaders care about them, which enhances job happiness and leads to less quiet quitting.

CTI’s Co-Active coaching can assist any organization in helping their employees achieve their full potential. We have trained over 62,000 leaders, including employees in more than a third of the Fortune 100 companies.

How about you, did you ever find yourself quitting quietly? How did it affect your workplace? Do you have any tips on how to avoid quiet quitting?

 


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