Re-engaging Quiet Quitters

December 22, 2022

Re-engaging Quiet Quitters

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”—Simon Sinek

“Quiet quitters” is just a new term for disengaged employees. They have lost their sense of purpose and commitment to their jobs as a result of a variety of workplace practices that have left them feeling burned out, alienated, or insignificant. It will take more than bonuses and incentives to re-engage our people—it is time to get to the root cause of the problem.

Quiet quitting has become a popular trend on TikTok and is one of the few buzzwords that took the workplace by storm this year. It occurs when employees who feel burned out or disengaged at work opt to stop going above and beyond what’s in their job description. They stick to the basic responsibilities and targets of their roles instead of vying for recognition and a possible promotion that they believe will never come.

They decide not to have an emotional attachment to the company and that a transactional relationship will suffice to cover their financial obligations and keep them in good mental health. This presents significant challenges to employers and leaders everywhere.

We are all still in the middle of transitioning from the pandemic to a “new normal” work set-up. A lot of us had to re-evaluate our priorities over the past two years, and stress, both in and out of the workplace, is still at an all-time high.

Although quiet quitting does not always have a negative effect on productivity because quiet quitters continue to meet their KPIs, this hinders the organization's potential growth.

Employers are not completely without fault when it comes to quiet quitting. Studies actually contend that employers have a greater responsibility than employees to address the issue.

In the midst of the panic of a global crisis, there have been numerous mass layoffs since COVID started. Companies are scrambling to keep up with supply chain interruptions and adjust to a remote work setup. In order to reduce financial losses, a lot of employers did what they often do: resort to laying off people. But this sent a message loud and clear to the workforce at large: “We do not care about your well-being.”

That is on a macro scale, but even on a micro level, there are certain work practices that make employees feel unvalued and disengaged. 

What can we do to fix the workplace and reach out to our employees who have “quietly quit”?

  1. Listen

To re-engage quiet quitters, you need to understand their perspective. Figure out what’s wrong. Find out what demotivates them. Why are they unwilling to go the extra mile? What were their expectations when they were starting out? What has changed since then? What’s causing them to feel disengaged? What could we do better to support them and make them feel valued?

You can identify trends and issues that require attention in terms of employee management and engagement by routinely seeking their feedback. It also helps you identify what motivates your people and how you can make changes to help them stay motivated.

Listening to your employees makes them feel heard and their opinions valued, which impacts their loyalty and commitment. After all, who doesn’t want to work with someone who genuinely cares about their opinions and input?

  1. Communicate

Healthy communication is important in making sure everyone is on the same page at work and knows that they are valued. Open a feedback loop so that everyone can speak openly about their thoughts, point out any problems or issues, and offer potential solutions. It also helps if they hear back from you.

Reviews and feedback also let employees know that they aren’t being overlooked. Most of the time, employees are disengaged when they feel like their work contributes nothing to the shared mission of the organization or if they feel insignificant, alienated, or isolated. 

Sometimes, a simple “How are you doing?” is enough to let them know that you care. This is how you build rapport and create genuine connections with your employees.

  1. Reward efforts

Appreciating your employees’ efforts also goes a long way. This includes fair compensation, bonuses, and incentives. It could also be as simple as saying “thank you” or recognizing their contributions verbally in front of the team. But we also need to get creative in order to make our accomplishments worthwhile.

This is where knowing what motivates your employees is essential. Are they looking for personal growth? Reward them by investing in their learning and development. Give them one-on-one coaching opportunities that will help them upskill and grow. Is it career advancement that motivates them? Give them more opportunities to lead, train, and share their expertise with the team. 

Remember, your employees are not required to go above and beyond their job descriptions. It is up to us to make achieving more than that worth their time.

  1. Provide support and opportunities

Encourage your employees to prioritize their well-being. Help them cope with stress at work or burnout by stressing the use of their vacation, sick, and personal days off and the importance of taking breaks. Let them know that you don’t expect them to work like machines to be considered productive.’

Support them by making sure they are equipped to do their jobs, and empower them by giving them more opportunities when they do it well. Invest in their growth and development through coaching, and encourage them to step up by incorporating reverse mentoring.

Give employees opportunities to learn, grow, and explore their roles and skills in a supportive environment.

  1. Realign values and purpose

People need some inspiration and purpose to keep thriving, especially during tough times. Give them a vision and clearly define what their role is in actively contributing to that vision. When people know that the work they do has value and meaning, it inspires them to take ownership of it. It helps them stay committed to the mission. And feeling like they matter and that their contributions are acknowledged can motivate them to go above and beyond.

When we show our people that we care about them as people, respect their boundaries, and show that we appreciate what they do, they are more likely to be engaged at work. It is our job as leaders to figure out how we can support, motivate, and encourage them to be their best, especially when times are tough.

Remember to treat others the way they want to be treated and to always lead with kindness. 

Thank you for reading “A Brilliant Tribe.”