Quiet quitting defined… or, redefined.
Quiet quitting, the new buzzword that’s shaking up leaders across the globe. When, in reality, we’ve simply repackaged an age-old problem… Employee disengagement.
‘Quiet quitting’ was coined as a term this year on TikTok, to explain the idea that employees have stopped going above and beyond in their roles – they still show up and complete the work they are given but have stopped letting work take over their lives, stopped seeking a challenge – and have stopped pushing themselves to further their careers. According to TeamBuilding, up to 85% of employees worldwide could be quiet quitting, with only 15% actively engaged with work.
But disengaged employees have always been an issue, right? So, what’s changed? Along with the many changes that businesses have had to adapt to over the pandemic, we’ve noticed how much easier it is for things to happen under the radar – especially when your people have checked out of their role. It’s much easier for a business to lose its ‘feeling’ when your people are trudging along with no connection to your business and its goals.
So, quiet quitting, disengagement, whatever we know it as, doesn’t necessarily mean your employee is going to leave. It could just mean that they’ve learnt to get away with doing the bare minimum. This could look like saying no to extra work or projects that don’t interest them enough, not answering work messages outside of working hours, or a general lack of motivation. But in some cases, this isn’t their fault. Employees pulling back like this can easily be seen as a response to burnout after the pandemic, from tired and overworked people that haven’t had access to the right support. But, as a leader, there’s so much you can do to turn this around, to turn those quiet quitters into culture champions.
What’s pushing your people away?
Great people, talented people, are simply not getting out what they are putting in. And we’re not just talking about salary. The standard checklist for keeping your people motivated and happy contains a few vital steps… Balance, trust, recognition, progression and purpose. The first being that your employees need to have a genuine work-life balance, that they have time to decompress, to spend quality time with loved ones – without having to answer that ‘urgent’ Saturday morning email from their manager.
That’s where trust and recognition come in. 79% of employees state that more recognition by managers and leaders would result in higher engagement and job performance. Your people need to feel trusted to complete their projects without micro-management, and they want to be able to rely on managers for freedom and flexibility, as well as real support and feedback. If you want people to go the extra mile, treat teams with respect, reward their hard work, and recognise their achievements.
Quiet quitting can also be attributed to a lack of direction. Are you providing your teams with clear progression and development opportunities? Are they driven by the goals of the business, and want to help it succeed? Employees need to feel aligned with your journey, to feel like they fit into your culture, relating to your values and understanding the part they play in growing the company. But this just can’t be done without a clear purpose and vision to inject that energy.
Don’t let this stunt your growth.
Without energy, we can’t build brand champions, and without brand champions, you can’t build your business. So, when the ‘feeling’ that drives your people is lost, or was never there to begin with, it can have a huge impact on your growth. You need those who strive for a challenge, who are full of creativity, who are engaged and motivated in order to expand and succeed. Leaders and businesses that are not concerned whether their people are hungry for more than just a 9-5 will always find themselves at a loss. That’s because it’s easy for employees to just scrape by when they feel like just a number on a spreadsheet. When no one is interested in what they do all day – why should they care? Is that the kind of business you want to be, the kind of culture you want to build?
Value your people? Prove it.
It’s all about setting the right foundations and building a feeling. We know that culture is so much more than a ping-pong table (we’re all well-versed in that one now, right?). But many companies have worked hard over the pandemic to translate theirs from free Friday drinks to something real and tangible that can be felt wherever you are. Not enough businesses understand that this starts at the top, that motivation and energy then spread throughout the business. If you can empower your team to make their own decisions, if you can support them in planning the future of their career – and drive it with the mission and goals of your company – you will see the spark come back.
To push yourself, in whatever role, it’s important to feel valued, to feel a sense of belonging and a connection to your team. But how do we make sure this happens? By checking in our people regularly, by making adjustments to keep them engaged with the direction of the business – as well as their own career journey. From leadership training to employee feedback, surveys, and company huddles, it’s important to be completely transparent about every aspect of the business – and remind your teams of the part they play. Leave the hierarchy and control pre-pandemic and start building a culture with feeling – a feeling of trust, support, recognition and development.
Challenge and be challenged.
We’re not saying we need to go back to working ridiculous 10-hour days or hopping on a zoom call during your son’s birthday party. It’s about bringing that energy, encouraging creativity, and inspiring your people to challenge themselves – and you!
Give them freedom to innovate. When someone tells them what to do, they will hear what you say, but can come up with new ways of doing things because they have the growth and future of the business at front of mind.
We want to leave burnout behind. Anyone can sit at their desk for 8 hours – it doesn’t mean they always deliver. If individuals on your team can work 9am-3pm, or 6pm-10pm, and absolutely smash it – that’s what really counts. Because they believe in what they’re doing and what you’re doing, they are excited about your projects, they come up with big ideas and great solutions because they feel a connection to the brand. Don’t push people to do things they don’t want to do, encourage and inspire them. Amazing things can happen when you have true flexibility and are trusted to complete your work.
Providing a purpose that your people can relate to will help those that are feeling lost and burnt out, to feel connected again. A mission and values they can relate to, that are carefully built around them (and not rushed because you just realised you need them) can bring teams closer together again – and understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture. A clear path for themselves, and the business, is what will keep them with you.
Questions to ask yourself.
It’s time to take a good look at yourself as a leader, for the good of your business. Ask these questions, get a real feel for your team and identify where improvements need to be made – and be ready to offer guidance and support.
· Do you know how engaged your team are?
· When was the last time you checked in?
· How motivated are your people?
· Are the direction and goals of the business made clear?
· Is what we do driven by our purpose?
· Do our people resonate with our values?
· Are your ‘superstars’ still feeling inspired and excited?
· Who can you feel slipping away?
Because being a great leader is so much more than telling your people what to do, it’s helping them understand why they do it.
If you’re not sure where to start, or you need a little help boosting those initiatives – you’re in luck – this is what MuddyWellies was born to do. Building purpose, boosting culture, and upping engagement is where we love to get stuck in. So, if you’re ready to dig deep and turn your quiet quitters into culture champions, drop us a line.