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How You Can Curb the Quiet Quitting Trend and Keep Your Employees Engaged

It’s one of the corporate buzzwords striking fear in the heart of team leaders, managers and HR professionals alike: quiet quitting.

What does it mean? It’s a response by employees who feel they’re working too hard without proper compensation, seemingly unwilling to do extra work suddenly, clocking in exactly at the start of their shift and punching out exactly when their scheduled time ends. It’s a lack of enthusiasm for taking on extra tasks — refusing to do so at times — and working specifically to their job descriptions.

If this makes you nervous, maybe there’s a reason: Are you missing signs that your employees feel unappreciated, overworked, underpaid and taken for granted? It’s not too late to start making changes so your employees don’t feel the need to quit — quietly or loudly.

Don’t assume everyone wants to, or can, work beyond their schedule.

A work-life balance is vitally important and, during the pandemic, it’s something people had time to re-evaluate and reconsider. Asking, or demanding, people work extra hours can eventually catch up and cause frustration, especially if it’s presented as an obligation and not a choice, and if it happens all the time. If you need to ask people to help and stay late, be very specific about why, how long and how many days this might happen. Do what you can to be flexible, offering to shift hours or provide time off in the future to make up for this extra work. There also shouldn’t be any guilt given to employees who decline; you might not know what’s going on at home that they need to address.

Improve communication.

If your team feels like they don’t know what’s going on in the big picture, or how their work contributes to the overall company’s efforts, they might tune out and stop feeling invested. It’s hard to know why this task or that spreadsheet matters if no context is given. If you haven’t implemented regular meetings to keep the team apprised of what everyone is working on, now’s the time. Or encourage a weekly update email from each person, allowing them to share what they’re working on and providing context to the whole team, without taking time out for what might be a long meeting that takes away from productivity (and might feel, for some, like a waste of time).

Work to improve your company culture.

If people aren’t happy at work, if they don’t feel supported, valued, welcomed or appreciated, they will leave. It’s pretty simple. Long gone are the days of blind loyalty to a company just because employees earn a paycheck. If you’ve noticed an uptick in absenteeism, or turnover, or low morale in general, you might have trouble brewing. Ask for feedback on how people are feeling — anonymous surveys are fine, as are suggestion cards and the offer for in-person chats — and take to heart the issues identified. Work to make changes and show that you’re taking concerns seriously. Speak out about what can be improved now and what might take a while, but don’t just provide lip service about wanting to create a more supportive workplace.

Create opportunities for growth and promotion.

Another cause of quiet quitting might be a feeling that there is only so far a person can go in their career at your company. If that’s been true in the past, it’s time to find ways to make changes. Find ways to incorporate people’s interests, as they pertain to their job, a larger part of their responsibilities. Maybe you have someone who loves social media and would be happy to take over running your company’s accounts, while the person currently tasked with that cannot tell the difference between platforms and has no interest in trends. Provide training opportunities for people to add to their skills so they don’t feel like they’re languishing and getting stale. If there’s already a program in place for tuition reimbursement, or partnerships with local educational institutions, make sure your team knows these exist and encourage them to participate as it fits their interests. If people want to go back to school to learn new skills, work with them and support them in that end by being flexible in their schedules for the duration of their courses. That way, you’ll have an invigorated employee who isn’t looking elsewhere for opportunities. Win win!

Provide mental health support.

Does your company have an employee assistance program, helping to link employees with services to support them holistically? Oftentimes, EAP departments can connect individuals with counseling and therapy services, anonymously of course, as part of their benefits package and as part of HR’s responsibility. Someone who is feeling stressed out, overworked and unappreciated needs to know their employer does see them, does value them, does appreciate their efforts and wants them to be well and healthy overall, not just a productive employee. Make it a stated policy that people can use their PTO for mental health days — it’s the time they’ve earned from their labor and they’re entitled to take it if needed.

Is it time to add to your team? Sterling Personnel can help you find qualified candidates fast!

Quiet quitting has been striking fear in the hearts of managers across the country. It doesn’t need to upend your company! There are real, solid, specific actions that can be taken to help your employees feel valued and supported, outside the occasional pizza party (which is still a fun bonus in addition to these items!), and to keep them happily under your roof. Quiet quitting doesn’t always need to lead to actual turnover.

If you’re looking for additional advice, or if you need to add great new employees to your company, contact Sterling Personnel. Our experts are ready to help introduce you to candidates who are eager to work and ready to start right away, with the background and skills you need! Contact Sterling Personnel today and let’s get started.