By the end of 2021, everyone had become familiar with the phrase “The Great Resignation.” Now, there’s another term that’s been making waves across social media and being discussed by business leaders and employees everywhere. The term “quiet quitting” started as a trend on the social media platform TikTok and has since gone viral.
Although the term can be misleading, it actually has nothing to do with employees slacking off, being lazy, or failing to fulfill their job description responsibilities. Its primary emphasis is on the importance of employees setting reasonable boundaries for themselves at work, valuing their personal time, and working to strike a healthy work-life balance.
Here are three things that leaders can do to navigate the era of “quiet quitting” and turn it into an incredible opportunity.
1. A Shift in Perspective
Complaining or wasting valuable time and energy debating the term “quiet quitting” solves nothing, and for every passing moment engaged in a similar action, there are other organizations and leaders taking advantage of this.
The workforce is, and has been for some time, undergoing significant and ongoing shifts. No matter how strongly we may disagree, the reality is that the workplace and the priorities of workers are evolving. The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether we agree or disagree with the term in and of itself or with the term’s underlying meaning.
A more appropriate and productive conversation for organizations and leaders to have is how can we use this pivotal moment in time to show up and respond for our people and workforce?
2. Continuous and Intensive Manager Training
According to Gallup, up to 70% of the variance in an organization’s employee engagement scores can be attributed to its managers.
I have seen time and again in many different organizations that when there is a strong focus on frequently training managers, a higher level of engagement is inspired throughout the organization. In particular, training should stress the importance of regular one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports and encourage every manager to ask good questions.
Knowing the importance of a manager’s relationship with direct reports and how it influences the organization’s overall engagement and performance, it makes sense to prioritize and train for these touchpoints.
What one direct report may require will likely be entirely different from what another direct report needs. One employee may not have a growing family at home and therefore have no problem taking on additional work, while the next employee has a completely different situation. It is inevitable that friction and dissatisfied employees will arise if managers are unaware of the context of those they lead.
3. Let Your Actions Do the Talking
There is nothing more detrimental to an organizations culture and employee engagement than leaders and people managers not taking action on what they have already gathered from their workforce.
Many leaders and people managers will initiate focus groups, hold town hall meetings on a regular basis, and encourage employees to speak up. That is a good first step, but in reality, it is just that: a first step. What happens next is what is most important.
One of the most common complaints I hear from employees is that leaders will take the time to listen but then take little action. If an organization truly wants to make a difference in the lives of their employees and build a healthier organization, letting its actions speak for themselves is the differentiator.
In today’s competitive business environment, organizations that can put as much emphasis on their own well-being as they do on their performance will ultimately prevail. Taking care of and improving the health of an organization has a direct impact on how well it operates.
The organizations that win will change their way of thinking so that they view the current environment as a great opportunity instead of a huge barrier that makes it hard to keep and attract top talent, and their actions will reflect this.