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What Is Quiet Quitting And How Can We Help Quiet Quitters?

Our workforce is changing, leading to work trends such as “the great resignation” and, more recently, “quiet quitting”, which impacts how we work and manage our employees. "Quiet quitting" is a new term that has garnered attention in the media lately. It describes individuals meeting their job responsibilities but not going above and beyond. People aren’t actually “quitting their jobs”, but are feeling burnt out. They are quitting working above and beyond job expectations. There is a heavily negative connotation with this trend. However, it may mean employees are not letting their job take over their life and are are putting their efforts into different passions besides work.

According to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report, only 21% of employees are engaged at work globally. The basis of quiet quitting is the lack of engagement at work. To counter this, we should ask how we can engage our employees. Here are a few things to consider to increase engagement:

Psychological Safety in the Workplace Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be reprimanded or humiliated for sharing ideas or concerns, asking questions, or making mistakes. How we communicate with each other, promote respect among colleagues, and embrace uncomfortable situations helps foster a safe environment. When we feel safe, it is easier to be engaged. It’s common to want to feel safe in any situation, especially at work. Whether collaborating on projects, solving problems, or taking on new tasks, we are more likely to complete a better job, tap on our creativity and offer ideas, when working in a comfortable and safe space. A safe work environment is vital and inspires team members to be fully present and engaged at work.

Communication and Ongoing Check-ins

Managers and team leaders should communicate with their employees daily. The expectation of communication is critical in setting the tone of the workplace. For employees to feel more engaged and motivated, weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss professional and personal development create a sense of accountability for all parties involved. We tend to feel pressure to talk about work when a boss or colleague asks us about our day. However, it’s important to create space to talk about non-work related topics, such as different passions or hobbies, which can help us feel emotionally connected.

Here are some suggestions for connecting with your team:

  • During check-ins with your team, discuss productivity from an individual point of view. Ask what is happening and if applicable, what is preventing them from being fully productive and present in their work.

  • Ask how as a manager, you can help.

  • Provide the opportunity for your team to take on new skills or tasks. Assess knowledge gaps and encourage training and development.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

It’s often easy to get caught up in the mundane cyclical tasks of day-to-day work, which can sometimes lead to tunnel vision. This focused approach can take us away from the view of the “bigger picture”. Managers and employers need to connect organizational values to everyday work and instill the importance that each team member brings to the table. Managers and leaders should create a clear line of sight within all aspects of work. Aside from communicating messaging that helps your team members connect with the big picture, it’s vital to establish and share how team members contribute. Outline expectations and how their role directly contributes to organizational success. When we can see the quality of our work and how it impacts the bottom line and organization's mission, we create awareness of that larger picture and how staff members have the opportunity to help achieve it.

The “quiet” part of the “quiet quitting” trend needs to be removed. If an employee feels the effects of burn out or stress, let's have open conversations about how we can support them and help manage workloads. Let’s bolster our employees and give them the space and chance to speak up, allowing them to bring their whole selves to work.

Contact Kiwi Partners' HR services if you need assistance improving your organizations' employee engagement.



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