In recent years, there has been a new phenomenon in the workplace called “quiet quitting.” It refers to the situation where an employee decides to quit their job, but instead of handing in their resignation letter, they simply withdraw from their work, disengages from their colleagues, and avoid any confrontation or discussion with their employer.
This trend is becoming more common and it is important for businesses to understand the behaviors that employees exhibit when they are quietly quitting, as well as how to combat this.
Quiet quitting is a subtle form of disengagement that can go unnoticed for months. It often starts with a gradual decrease in productivity and motivation. This is followed by a withdrawal from workplace relationships and ultimately results in an employee’s decision to leave without warning. The reason why an employee may choose to quietly quit rather than resigning formally varies from person to person. It could be because they are afraid of the confrontation that comes with quitting. It could be they feel undervalued or they have found another job. Often, it is because of the leadership in place.
There are several behaviors that employers can look out for to detect quiet quitting. These include:
- Reduced Productivity: Employees who are disengaged from their work may take longer to complete tasks, miss deadlines, or make careless errors. This can be a sign that they are no longer invested in their job.
- Social Withdrawal: When an employee starts to disengage from their colleagues, they may avoid social interactions, stop attending team meetings or work events, and even take longer breaks or lunches to avoid being in the workplace.
- Resistance to Feedback: If an employee is no longer invested in their job, they may not be receptive to feedback or coaching. They may become defensive, dismissive, or even hostile when confronted with constructive criticism.
When individuals display behaviors of quiet quitting, it does have an adverse effect on the organization. When productivity decreases, that has an impact on profit or when people are quiet quitting, it can affect other team members. Quiet quitters also have a higher rate of absenteeism.
This is not the end all, but here are four ways that businesses can combat quiet quitting in their workplace:
- Build a Positive Work Culture: A positive work environment is one where employees feel valued, supported, and appreciated. By fostering a culture of open communication, recognition, and feedback, employees will feel more engaged and invested in their work.
- Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development: Providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow within their roles can help them feel more invested in their work. By providing training, mentorship, and coaching, employees can gain new skills and take on new challenges.
- Conduct Regular Check-ins: Regular check-ins with employees can help managers stay on top of any issues or concerns that may be affecting their team. It should be a safe space for employees to voice their concerns, provide feedback, and receive support from their manager.
- Establish goals and Create Metrics: One way to truly see if quiet quitting is taking place is to see if team members are hitting their metrics or KPI’s (key performance indicators). If they are not being productive, you will be able to see it through these metrics. If you don’t have these in place, that is an important step you should establish. I talked briefly about KPI’s here and here.
Quiet quitting is becoming increasingly common in the workplace. You must understand the behaviors exhibited by employees who are disengaged from their work and take action. By building a positive work culture, providing opportunities for growth and development, establishing metrics, and conducting regular check-ins, businesses can keep their employees engaged and invested in their work, reducing the likelihood of quiet quitting.
Have you experienced quiet quitting in your workplace?
I strategically help business owners develop their leadership competencies. We implement ways to be more strategic to increase revenue and develop workflows that affect the bottom line. In the end, we create work-life integration so they live a life they love.
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Stephanie German is a business strategist, adjunct professor, and speaker. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?