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A Manager's Guide to Quiet Quitting

A flurry of new employee buzzwords has emerged in the most recent swirl of workplace jargon. From cyber-loafing to hustle culture, employment catchphrases have cropped up and entered the modern vocabulary. But topping the list of trendy terms may leave you scratching your head: Quiet Quitting.

It may leave you wondering, are employees sneaking out the door and continuing to collect a paycheck until their employer notices they're gone? Is there a growing trend of workers silently exiting their jobs without providing a resignation notice?

Read on as we dive into what quiet quitting means, dispel the myth around quietness in the workplace, and share possible action steps for managers to prevent this trend from growing.

Defining Quiet Quitting

Depending on whom you ask, you'll likely hear one of the following definitions for quiet quitting:

  1. Engaged employees who adhere strictly to their defined work hours.
  2. Disengaged employees who produce and operate at a bare minimum.

Since its emergence, the phrase, as it's understood, has become quite polarizing, either highlighting the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance (Exhibit 1) or depicting workers as lazy and unwilling to work at all (Exhibit 2).

The true meaning of the term fits somewhere between the two, suggesting that an employee who is quiet quitting operates in a state between "actively engaged" and "actively disengaged."

Disengaged workers often retreat and avoid stepping up – but just because your employee is a “quiet” one, doesn’t mean you need to worry. Let’s dispel the myth of the quiet employee.

Dispelling the "Quiet" Myth

Although there may be a connection between being quiet and disengaged, the two aren't mutually exclusive.

There are many reasons for quiet behavior in the workplace, including:

  • An active listener or introverted personality
  • A thoughtful speaker who is careful in sharing their thoughts
  • A private person who often keeps to themselves
  • An individual mentally preoccupied with personal matters
  • A workload that demands accuracy and concentration
Simply because an individual is quiet, does not mean they are disengaged with their work. Perhaps they have personal matters that are weighing heavily on their mind, or maybe they're a relatively reserved individual to begin with.

Rather than discerning their lack of extroversion as a sign of detachment from their job, take a look at the work they produce instead. Consider asking yourself the following questions:
  • Are they meeting their deadlines?
  • Are they delivering quality work?
  • Do they seem engaged through virtual communication mediums, like email or chat?

Quietness alone is no reason to raise an eyebrow, but if you've noticed a shift in an employee’s work and changed behavior, it may be worth addressing.

How to Reengage Your Employees

If you notice an employee exhibiting signs of disengagement, like a lack of overall communication, lowered production standards, or an unwillingness to learn, consider implementing strategies to reengage your employee.

Hold One-on-Ones

If a member of your team was on the chattier side and now seems a bit distant or distracted, consider holding more one-on-ones to reengage your employee and get at the root of their dissatisfaction.

Need a few pointers? Check out our tips on effective one-on-ones:

  • Connect on a personal basis first
  • Talk about the progress of individual projects
  • Lend a listening ear; allow your employee to speak freely about issues or concerns they may have
  • Acknowledge what is going well and recent successes
  • Consider additional training or resources, as needed
  • Provide coaching or support for handling difficult situations or projects

Managers today are encouraged to serve in many capacities as coaches, mentors, and support systems. Employees want to feel cared about and valued for their contributions. Regular one-on-ones can be a great way to establish open communication with your employee and reignite their motivation.

Provide Career Development Opportunities

Gallup, a powerhouse for analytics and public opinion polls, published their findings on employee engagement in the workplace.

The study, Gallup’s Perspective on Building a High-Development Culture Through Your Employee Engagement Strategy, surveyed 82,000 teams comprised of 1.8 million employees. The employees spanned 230 organizations, 49 industries, and 73 countries.

The findings suggest that today’s workers care less about job satisfaction and more about personal growth.

Creating a culture of high development starts with understanding your employees' long- and short-term goals.

So, when re-engaging with your employees, think about development-focused initiatives or investing in human capital. Use the one-on-one sessions to understand what motivates your employees and consider ways that encourage them to grow.

Acknowledge a Job Well Done

Praise is one of the easiest ways to boost morale and retain your talent. Plus, for many workers, acknowledgment and appreciation are powerful motivators.

Give credit where credit is due and acknowledge your employee for their hard work. Here are a few easy ways to show your appreciation:

  • Host a team get-together, like a lunch or happy hour
  • Reward them with flexibility, like PTO or a longer break
  • Give them a shoutout

Simply because the buzzword is spreading doesn’t mean the trend itself has to. Connect with your employees regularly, invest time in their well-being and professional development, and lead from a place of understanding.

Following these management approaches may be the ticket to mitigate quiet quitting. If you need assistance developing a retention plan to reengage and motivate your workforce, look no further than FrankCrum Staffing. Our team of staffing and recruiting experts is here to help. Contact us today: 888-670-1844.