How to Combat Quiet Quitting
‘Quiet quitting’ is a form of employee turnover that’s been gaining attention in recent years. Rather than physically quitting, it’s when an employee does the bare minimum without going above and beyond. But there are ways your business can curb this trend.
In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind this workplace phenomenon, and lay out actionable tips to help your business combat quiet quitting .
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting is a subtler method of leaving a job – it isn’t to be taken literally. Rather than employees quitting their jobs outright, they’re quitting the notion of going above and beyond their tasks because they’re dissatisfied with a particular aspect of their job or company. This causes them to do only the bare minimum.
Quiet quitting can involve not showing up for work, failing to respond to messages or calls, or giving vague or noncommittal responses to inquiries about one's future plans. Essentially, quiet quitting involves disengaging from the workplace and quietly fading away without causing a disruption.
In many cases, employees are placed ‘on the bench’ by the employer. This means the employee isn’t given any projects to work on but remains on the job and gets the salary, which essentially forces the employee to quit quietly.
Some may view quiet quitting as unfair or unprofessional, while some quiet quitters argue that they’re simply establishing boundaries and declining tasks that exceed their capabilities. It comes down to perspective.
How to combat quiet quitting: 10 Tips
To combat quiet quitting, your business needs a proactive approach that addresses the underlying causes of disengagement in the workplace. Here are some strategies that you can use to combat quiet quitting:
1. Foster a positive workplace culture
Create a workplace environment that promotes employee engagement, communication, and collaboration. Encourage open dialogue and feedback, recognise and reward good performance, and promote a sense of community and shared purpose.
We recommend that you keep pay competitive with market rates and current living standards, but there are many other types of compensation that can foster a positive culture, including recognition, perks, benefits, and flexibility.
2. Plan resources effectively
Resource management software can help you prevent quiet quitting by providing insights into your employees' workloads, which allows you to offer support whenever you feel they’re being overworked or underappreciated.
This information can help you identify employees who are at risk of burnout or disengagement, and take steps to address the issue before it's too late.
3. Be honest about opportunities for growth and development
Employees are more likely to stay engaged and committed to their work if they see opportunities for growth and advancement. To combat quiet quitting, you should provide regular training and development opportunities, offer career advancement paths, and encourage employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
Be careful – a common complaint among quiet quitters is that they end up doing much more than what they were originally hired to do. In the ever-evolving business world, many jobs go beyond the initial job description advertised, especially in startups.
One way to prevent employees from feeling like they were misled about the position is to be transparent about potential role growth during the interview stage.
4. Make workload increases short-term only
Working consistently at – or beyond – maximum capacity isn’t a sustainable approach for employees. As you know, employees need days off to rest and recharge, as well as personal time to connect with loved ones. While most employees are willing to work extra occasionally, problems can arise when this willingness is taken for granted, and extra work becomes the norm.
If you ask your employees to take on additional responsibilities, it's important to recognise that this changes the terms of their employment. Ideally, any increase in workload should be short-term and optional. If the employee is required to take on these new duties indefinitely, it should be considered an official promotion or come with additional incentives. Otherwise, your employees may feel that they’ve been forced into an arrangement that’s different from the job they agreed to when they started.
5. Create a healthy work-life balance
Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, promoting self-care, and providing resources and support for mental health and well-being.
We also recommend that you maintain boundaries when it comes to employees’ personal time, whether that’s by emphasising that answering calls or emails after hours is optional, or allowing employees to leave early if they’ve recently worked late.
6. Pay employees properly
One of the best ways to combat quiet quitting is to compensate your staff properly. In many cases of quiet quitting, the issue isn’t necessarily that employees are unwilling to take on additional responsibilities, but rather that they feel the rewards aren’t enough.
Continually increasing workloads without regard for employees' comfort levels or protests sends the message that employers value output over employee wellbeing. For employees, being forced to take on additional duties against their consent can feel like a violation of the employment agreement and the job they were hired to do.
7. Conduct exit interviews
When employees leave, conduct exit interviews to gain insights into their reasons for leaving and identify any issues or areas for improvement within your company. Use this feedback to make positive changes that address employee concerns and prevent future quiet quitting.
For example, multiple employees might say they felt unfairly pressured by managers to stay late, so you can then update your manager guidelines.
8. Build relationships with employees
Encourage managers to build strong relationships with their team members, including regular check-ins, one-on-one meetings, and opportunities for feedback and collaboration. Doing so should help your employees feel valued and happy to collaborate with managers and team members.
9. Create a strong onboarding process
A strong onboarding process can set the tone for a positive and supportive workplace environment from the start. Provide new hires with comprehensive training, clear expectations, and a welcoming and supportive environment.
10. Offer opportunities for social interaction
Encourage team bonding and social interaction by organising team-building activities, social events, and volunteer opportunities. This can help build a sense of community and shared purpose within the organisation. Not to be mistaken for company culture, social events are simply an enjoyable way to boost morale inside the business.
Where did quiet quitting come from?
Quiet quitting has likely been around for as long as people have been leaving jobs, but the term ‘quiet quitting’ seems to have become more popular in recent years, possibly due to changes in the job market and workplace culture.
One reason why quiet quitting may have become more common is the rise of the gig economy and the prevalence of short-term or contract work. Many workers in these industries may not have a strong sense of loyalty or attachment to their employers, and may not see much value in going above and beyond. Also, many workers may feel that their employers haven’t treated them fairly. Or they feel undervalued. Either way, that would make those employees less likely to feel obligated to follow proper protocol when leaving.
Another factor that may contribute to quiet quitting how remote work affects resource planning and virtual communication. When workers aren’t physically present in the workplace, it may be easier to disengage and slip away unnoticed. Meanwhile, the use of email and messaging platforms may make it easier for workers to avoid direct communication with their employers and colleagues.
However, if your business follows our 10 tips on how to combat quiet quitting, you should be able to build a positive working environment while keeping employees motivated.