Quiet Quitting: What it is and How to keep Employees Motivated

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to restrictions and a lockdown but has also caused some people to re-evaluate their career choices. According to the publication by BMC Public Health Research on the impact of COVID-19 on work and private life, about 30% of employees reported that their work and private lives had worsened, whereas about 10% reported improvements in work and 13% in private life. It has radically changed the way people live and work.

Most of us have heard of the great resignation, but what about quiet quitting? When I first stumbled on this word, I actually thought it meant employees discreetly resigning from their positions but that is not what it means. Quiet quitting is not the same as truly quitting; instead, it has been seen as a reaction to burnout where workers are quitting from going above and beyond and refusing to perform duties for which they are not being compensated. 

According to the WHO, burnout is a condition marked by energy depletion or tiredness, a growing dislike for one’s job, and diminished professional effectiveness, which is as a result of continuous workplace stress. Burnout can also occur when your efforts at work fall short of what you had hoped for and you get utterly disheartened as a result. It is a condition that if ignored for a prolonged period of time, can lead to fatigue, disengagement and depression. There is not a precise “solution” other than what may seem painfully obvious, which is to get rid of the sense of overwork and remove yourself from the circumstance that produces it, which in this case is quiet quitting. Employees who are burned out may choose to quietly leave their jobs to reduce their stress. It may also imply that they are prepared to change positions or that they are hunting for new jobs. It is a workplace trend that has been in existence for a very long time which people used to term as “employee disengagement” which is now getting a lot of attention lately. 

One could also term quiet quitting as the new way of doing a job’s bare minimum. Employees still work perhaps because they require the perks or the pay, but their motivation has vanished and to survive, they are only exerting the barest minimum effort. The task is getting done but they no longer have the desire or ambition to go above and beyond all because they do not feel respected, understood or heard. Asides employees being unhappy, demotivated and burned out at work, here are some other reasons they may resolve into quiet quitting:

  1. Too many high expectations by leaders without inspiration, empowerment and encouragement.
  2. High and different expectations by employees from their so-called “Dream Jobs”.
  3. The feeling of being underappreciated.
  4. Ambiguous Job Descriptions.
  5. Micromanagement.

Signs of quiet quitting can take up different forms depending on the employee’s motives for wishing to reduce their workload. The signs of an employee who is genuinely dissatisfied may be far more obvious than someone who just wants a better work-life balance. Some of the signs of quiet quitting include:

  1. Employee staying silent rather than sharing input.
  2. Isolation from other members of the team.
  3. Arriving late or leaving early.
  4. Lack of Enthusiasm.
  5. Reduction in productivity and bare minimum performance.

New technology and a more interconnected world has led to a significant shift in the expectations of today’s talent compared to those of earlier generations. Numerous studies have demonstrated the strong relationship between employee engagement and motivation. Because of this, organisations should give employee motivation more thought and funding. A motivated worker can contribute significantly to growth and productivity. There are a few proven and excellent method for motivating workers in this 21st century which are:

  1. Coaching: Many organisations are suffering from the effect of quiet quitting and employee coaching is one step into the right path to keep employees motivated. Coaching is becoming increasingly common and relevant to the global workforce to enable more effective leaders and a more motivated and better workforce. An early coaching investment in your team would provide career development opportunities, improve emotional intelligence, encourage the delivery of feedback, build accountability, set goals and achieve them. See here to build an amazing coaching program for your team.
  2. Encouraging creativity and innovation: It can be tempting for leaders to keep a close eye on every activity their team members are performing especially if the employees are working remotely; however, doing so will only increase employees’ feelings of resentment and distrust and shut down employees who are enthusiastic, creative and productive. When leaders insist on doing things their way, it can lead to micromanagement and such conduct frequently results from their lack of confidence in their workers’ ability to complete jobs correctly. Enable, empower and encourage your employees to make use of their creativity. As a leader, you should strive to provide your team the freedom to work freely and complete tasks in a reasonable amount of time to keep your team motivated.
  3. Engagement survey and organizational responsiveness to employee feedback: A thorough understanding of the workers who make up the workforce must be reflected in sound employment policies intended to recruit, train, retain and reward personnel. Employee surveys are a great way to get such information. Management will learn a lot about employee impressions from a thoughtfully created and executed employee survey that can be used to enhance the workplace. When an organization listens to employee feedback, retention rates go up, absenteeism goes down, productivity goes up, customer service goes up, and employee morale goes up. Onboarding and exit interviews should be in-depth in order for HR teams to learn more about what motivates employees and what causes them to leave. Get your survey assessment here.
  4. Clear Job Description: Employees who work without clear direction can become confused, frustrated and demoralized. Good job descriptions boost morale by clearing up the majority of ambiguity and confusion. An employee has the opportunity to develop their abilities and increase productivity when they are aware of exactly what is expected of them.
  5. Employee compensation: A compensation package does not always imply monetary remuneration but also covers work-life balance, medical coverage, flexible benefits and employee incentives. Employees in today’s workforce prioritize other components of remuneration just as much as they do money. Employees are primarily driven to consistently push themselves to achieve greater heights through compensation. It gives them the motivation to put in extra effort and keep moving forward in order to reach the next goal.

Quiet quitting is a new label for the same problem that has been ongoing in organizations. Therefore, it is expedient that leaders discuss potential career pathways with the employee and look for ways to set up duties that will enable them to accomplish their ultimate objectives. If employers do not assist staff in managing reasonable expectations and make them feel appreciated, there will not be any improvement in the rate of Quiet Quitting. Your work should enhance your life rather than cause chaos because everyone deserves to be happy.