Management Strategies: How to prevent ‘quiet quitting’ before it happens

Quiet quitting is a way for employees to passively resist workplace demands that are unreasonable, excessive, or cause imbalance.

In response to hustle culture and burnout, some employees are “quiet quitting” by no longer going above and beyond or doing tasks they are not being paid to do. This term has been buzzing around social media, and people are giving their take on the matter. 

A TikTok video by Zaid Khan that discusses quiet quitting went viral on the platform and has amassed 3.5 million views. “I recently learned about this term called quiet quitting, where you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” Khan says. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not — and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.” 

In other words, quiet quitting is a form of passive resistance to workplace demands that are unreasonable or excessive. It is a way of saying “no” to tasks that are not part of an employee’s job description or are not reasonably compensated.

While there is no single reason workers are choosing to quit their jobs quietly, the trend seems to be driven by a growing awareness of the importance of work-life balance. As more and more people realize that they don’t have to sacrifice their personal lives to be successful at work, they are increasingly choosing to leave their jobs at a reasonable hour. So closing their laptops at 5 pm or not answering work emails at the dinner table are just some ways people implement this new culture.

According to data from Gallup, quiet quitters make up about 50% of the US workforce. 32% were engaged workers, but the proportion of actively disengaged workers increased to 18% at the end of Q2 2022. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade, says Gallup. Actively disengaged employees are those who are “loud quitters.” They tend to have most of their workplace needs unmet and spread their dissatisfaction. 

employee burnoutRelated: How to get better at spotting and addressing employee burnout at work

So what can employers do to address this and possibly prevent this from happening at their businesses? One way is to look at your current management setup. Only one in three managers are engaged at work. This needs to be addressed by senior leadership in order to focus on reskilling managers.

Gallup research has also found that the best way for managers to improve employee engagement and reduce burnout is to have one meaningful weekly conversation with each team member. These conversations should last 15-30 minutes and focus on the individual employee’s life situation, strengths, goals, and how their work contributes to the organization’s larger purpose.

Every organization needs a culture in which people are engaged and feel they belong. Creating accountability for individual performance, team collaboration, and customer value is essential. And decisions about where people work (on-site, remote, or hybrid) should consider these factors.

Employees who feel like they are not being challenged can become disengaged. To prevent this, managers should assign tasks suited to their colleagues’ strengths. This way, teams can build competency with functions that are natural extensions of their skills.

According to Quantum Workplace, employees are usually most engaged when they start working at a company. However, engagement takes a significant downturn after the first one or two years. How your staff members feel after the first two years of employment plays an important factor in employee retention. recommends checking in with employees after the two-year mark. Schedule a special one-on-one meeting and ask the employee:

  • How has your experience been so far? 
  • What is your favorite experience and the worst experience you’ve had with the company? 
  • What can the business do to help you? 
  • What new skills would you like to acquire? 
  • Where do they see your career going in the next five years, and how can the company get you there?

Asking these questions allows you to understand how your team members feel and makes it possible for you to institute changes to retain your employees.

Conducting exit interviews can help improve employee retention by providing insight into why people are quitting. This insight can then be used to prevent other employees from leaving in the future. Exit interviews may also help to address weaknesses within the organization, thereby enhancing engagement at the workplace.

A productive and happy workplace is only possible when employees are engaged. By prioritizing engagement strategies, companies can keep team members committed and invested in their work, leading to a thriving business and quiet quitting not being an issue.

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