How to Prevent & Combat Quiet Quitting at Work (Prioritising Employee Retention and Motivation)

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The global wave of Quiet resignation results in annual losses for businesses of up to $1.5 trillion worldwide according to a Gallup research. Up to 67% of American workers and 85% of workers globally may be quietly quitting.  Just 15% of employees are actively engaged at work, which indicates that up to 85% of them may be quietly quitting and disengaging from their work, team and employer. The figures are a little better for the US, where 33% of workers are actively engaged at work—almost double the global average.

The situation is somewhat starker elsewhere, with just 10% of employees in Western Europe and 8% in the UK are considered to be highly engaged at work. Over the past ten years, all of these figures have been steadily declining.

The goal or purpose  of your organisation should be to engage and retain people if businesses and public sector bodies wish to prevent combat quiet quitting. It must be more than just a topic of conversation. Many firms are under pressure to deliver results more quickly, and with fewer resources, so they frequently put employee retention and silent leaving efforts on the back burner in favour of more pressing short-term revenue or cost related priorities. 

Every organisation depends on the productivity and performance of its employees to function. Therefore an organisation’s talent deserves to be given greater priority with the other top organisational needs, as they will make the difference in delivering sustained competitive advantage and results.

What exactly is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is not about leaving or quitting a job, rather it is a form of employee disengagement which occurs when team members just do the essential duties of their positions, in order to maintain their employment rather than going above and beyond.

Although the phrase "quiet quitting" is relatively new, the idea is not. The expression, which became well-known on TikTok, describes a condition in which overburdened and overworked workers cease going that extra mile, and instead deliver as little as possible to get the job done. These team members may not be looking for another role, or may not be planning to leave, but they lack the drive to perform above expectations.

The employee continues to do job duties, and is not necessarily actively disruptive or disobedient, but they object to new duties and frequently use strategies to avoid exerting more effort beyond what is required based on their job description. These workers may decline new responsibilities, quit volunteering, only accept simple jobs, or make excuses about being too busy to assist supervisors or coworkers.

What are the Main Causes of Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is not a personnel problem, despite the perception of many leaders. It's a result of outdated, older HR techniques failing. The epidemic hastened a change in how workers see their jobs. As people place an equal or greater emphasis on their families, travel, or passion projects - exacerbated by the pressures of, and time to reflect during covid, they are expecting more flexibility from their employers. 

The feeling of entrapment and dissatisfaction in employees' current positions is a significant factor from this growing trend. Over half of employees think their present position doesn't effectively utilise their abilities, according to one of our most recent polls. 43% of respondents to another survey claim that there were not enough prospects for internal mobility.

Changing or confusing expectations is another major cause. The slogan of silent quitters is "This is not the job I signed up for." These workers believe that their bosses have unfair expectations and requirements concerning performance and results. Quiet quitters believe their employers expect too much of them. The perception, and direct experience, is that supervisors continually add duties that aren't listed in the job description without consulting the employee. It's possible that the employee takes on a dual function and performs the duties of two or three separate roles, which is completely different from the position for which they were employed and initially motivated. Goals and measurements could be ambiguous or are frequently changed.

Quiet quitting is alarming because it suggests a misalignment of expectations between the employer and the employee. The employee's refusal to work harder is not the main problem. Instead, the employee lacks confidence in their employer's ability to control their workload and fairly recognise their contributions and accomplishments. This phenomena can strain relationships between managers and employees, lead to or exacerbate team member discontent, and foster conflict and a hostile workplace environment for other workers. Therefore, it is in a manager's best interest to identify and address the issue immediately.

Different Ways to Solve Quiet Quitting

1. Focus on career development and growth opportunities

Lack of opportunity for professional development and progress is always one of the main causes of quiet-quitting, and ultimately employee leavers. Career pathways that are in line with both employee interests and business objectives must be actively developed by organisations. A key component of a successful retention strategy is spending money on programmes and tools that will help workers grow.

Ensure that you have people-leaders who may ask your staff about their hobbies and professional aspirations. Are there any specific talents they wish to hone or utilize? Do they have a particular project they would want to work on? From there, a career map may be developed that includes prospective possibilities and tools to help them advance their careers. Implementing a flexible career path may have a significant influence on an employee's motivation, job happiness, and productivity by giving them insight regarding their future at the company.

2. Be clear about roles and responsibilities

Quiet quitters frequently complain that their workload increases significantly from what they were recruited to perform. Most professions, especially in startups, expand beyond the job descriptions in the postings due to the dynamic nature of the business environment. Positions' responsibilities might grow with time, which is not uncommon. Employees may be taken off guard, though, if these changes come quickly further to their being hired.

Be honest about role growth throughout the interview process to avoid candidates thinking that their were not fully briefed about the position's requirements. For instance, the employee may be told that it is anticipated that the role will ultimately grow to encompass more responsibilities. Early discussion of this potential enables you to control expectations and select a candidate receptive to this role expansion.

3. Pay close attention to your staff by actively listening to them

Quitting peacefully doesn't begin quietly. Employees frequently raise issues that management acknowledges but either fail to address or downright disregard. Team members may take action by becoming inactive if they believe their bosses are unaware of, or indifferent to their issues. Even worse, these workers start to doubt the integrity of their managers.

Team members might be retained by the team by listening to them and acknowledging their emotions and experiences. A key weapon in the struggle against silent quitting is empathy. Employees are less inclined to take matters into their own hands and disappear into the background at work when they believe that they are understood, and have their best interests in mind.

4. Recognition, Expressing Gratitude and Rewarding

Quiet quitters frequently feel undervalued. Employees believe they could cease working without the leadership noticing or caring, and they are frequently right when this happens. Employees believe that "if nobody cares either way, why try?" Quiet quitting for some employees is more about losing a feeling of purpose than it is about avoiding to work harder. It is critical to demonstrate to staff members how their efforts may affect the overall performance of the company. When workers are certain that their efforts are recognized and having an impact, they are more willing to be more committed and deliver more. 

To make employees feel valued, organisations should develop fair, meritocratic, and aligned rules for promotion and recognition. Although employees will of course appreciate financial rewards, a simple "thank you" or other forms of appreciation can go a far way in making them feel appreciated. You may demonstrate to your personnel that what they do matters to you and the company by praising and rewarding them for exceptional performance. Additionally, workers who are acknowledged and given visibility are less inclined to disappear into the background.

Conclusion: Improve Overall Employee Experience

Employees want fair working conditions and expectations, pleasant workplace cultures, the opportunity to be enthusiastic about their careers, to learn and grow, and to yet have a life outside of the office. Leadership must foster these circumstances and address workplace issues so that workers may maintain a good work-life balance without burning out.

Improving the overall work experience is the best strategy to stop disengagement. Discuss potential career pathways with the employee and look for methods to set up duties that will enable them to accomplish their life and work objectives.

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