How to lead through quiet quitting

How to lead through quiet quitting

Quiet quitting often occurs when employees become frustrated in the workplace. For many employees quiet quitting involves withdrawing from the workplace, both emotionally and physically, to put in the minimum work required to earn a paycheck. They may not take on extra responsibilities, or they may excuse themselves from large-scale projects or overtime hours for the sake of improved work-life balance.

While quiet quitting can be frustrating to deal with as a manager, it might also mean that there are steps you can take to improve the workplace and help employees feel valued. These are some of the things you need to know as a leader who is witnessing quiet quitting.

Why are employees quiet quitting?

If you've noticed quiet quitting in your workplace, you may wonder why this is happening. Managers may notice workers emotionally disengaging from work, but there are actually many reasons why quiet quitting is becoming more common.

Lack of investment in the company

Emotional detachment from the company can contribute to quiet quitting. For instance, employees might feel disengaged when they work remotely and feel excluded from company activities or benefits. They may also feel uninvested when they don't feel that the success of the company is tied in with their own success.

Poor respect for employee time

When employees feel that the company doesn't treat them like humans, they may lose connection with work. For example, employees may become frustrated when a manager constantly asks them to work overtime at the last minute or if they are expected to answer emails and phone calls outside of work hours. They may feel as if the company doesn't value their personal time and disregards the importance of work-life balance.

Failure to deliver on promises

When a company makes a promise, employees expect it to deliver. For example, a manager who always promises a raise or a promotion but fails to deliver will cause more frustration than if the raise or promotion had never been offered in the first place. Eventually, workers will start to distrust any promises made by managers.

Negative feedback with few rewards

One reason many employees might consider quiet quitting is blame culture. An employee who feels they are constantly blamed when things go wrong will not take on tasks and duties that fall outside the scope of the job description. Lack of positive feedback and manager support can make employees feel like it's too risky to take on additional tasks and that there's no incentive to do so.

Feeling overworked and underappreciated

Employees who feel overworked and undercompensated may report that their employers don't appreciate them. These workers might feel that they are doing the work of multiple employees and getting compensated minimally. Quiet quitters prefer to do the amount of work that reflects the figure they see on their paychecks. When they take on additional duties, they don't feel sufficiently valued.

Ultimately, company culture may have a lot to do with quiet quitting. Making real changes to the company's management style may improve the relationship between employees and their work, reducing instances of quiet quitting.

How does quiet quitting impact a business?

Quiet quitting has a major impact on a business, even if it isn't reflected in the company culture right away. Managers may not start to notice the impact of quiet quitting until after several workers have initiated the process. These are some of the effects you might notice.

Lower employee morale

When employees start quiet quitting, it hurts the morale of the team. Employees won't find a meaningful connection with the work or the people they work with. They may not put enthusiasm into their role. Additionally, one employee quiet quitting could leave others with more work to do as well.

Additionally, other team members may notice quiet quitting happening around them. Emotional disengagement is something other workers may begin to notice, and it can bring down the energy in the workplace. The social atmosphere may become tense or negative.

Less career growth

Career growth requires employees to take on new challenges and achieve new goals. When employees are not taking on these new projects and gaining new skills, they may not advance quickly. This can also bring down employee morale, creating a cycle of negativity.

Less productivity

When one or more workers begin quiet quitting, the office may see decreased productivity and reduced output. Managers may start to notice that the team is completing fewer projects or seeing their results decline. You may compare this year's results to last year's and see a significant decline.

What can managers do to lead through quiet quitting?

As a manager, you have access to some resources that will help you lead your team through quiet quitting. While managers cannot improve every factor that contributes to quiet quitting, they can take some steps to help employees find value in the workplace. These are some steps you might consider.

Build accountability through trust

Many managers might take an approach to accountability that is objectionable to some workers. For example, some managers may use digital monitoring, which tracks the websites employees visit when they use work computers, even for remote workers. Some accountability methods may be more effective. For instance, some managers have weekly meetings where they discuss what each employee is currently working on and which goals they intend to achieve.

Creating strong boundaries can help show employees that they are valued as people, not just workers.

Respect employee work-life balance

When employees go home for the weekend, they often plan to spend time with family members, complete personal projects, or relax. They want to feel disconnected from work as they focus on other pursuits. When workers feel that they have to maintain a constant connection to the workplace, they may feel that the company is disrespecting them. Creating strong boundaries can help show employees that they are valued as people, not just workers.

Model desired behaviors

Managers can also model the behaviors they want to see in the employees they manage. For instance, managers who are enthusiastic about work can influence a team to work enthusiastically more than a manager who is less engaged. When employees perceive their manager as less productive or engaged, they may match this energy.

Provide positive feedback and request feedback

If employees see a manager approaching and immediately fear for the worst, it's going to lead to additional workplace negativity. Employees should not see a manager and immediately associate them with negative feedback. Managers can combat this by providing positive feedback more often than they provide critique or criticism.

Additionally, workers respond well when managers and employers request feedback. Workers should feel that they have a voice and that they can use it to change company culture for the better.

Provide opportunities for new skills and education

Even when a promotion is not immediately available, employers can provide opportunities for workers to learn skills and certifications. They can provide courses or access to classes that help workers gain insight and knowledge. This prevents workers from feeling stagnant or bored at work.

Ultimately, creating a desirable workplace requires a commitment to your employees. When you commit to changing company culture, you may see a reduction in quiet quitting.

Related reading: tips for improving employee morale

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One of the best ways to gather feedback is to survey your employees. An employee development survey can help.

Are you looking for ways to monitor employee productivity with technology? Here are some best practices for monitoring you should know.

Do you want to retain your best employees? Learn more about the value of stay interviews.

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