How to deal with Quite Quitting as a business owner
Last week we showed you how to make a hybrid model (or solely remote or in-person) work for your business. But with hybrid and remote work rising, so does the risk of extreme passivity. Disengagement, slacking, isolating, and withdrawal are all a little easier when you don’t have to face your boss.
People commend these behaviors and believe them to be a way to set boundaries and increase work-life balance or separation. Young people have coined this fad as “quietly quitting.” If you see these behaviors, your employee is not necessarily leaving. They’re just starting to say no to things they once did (“other duties as assigned,” overtime, happy hours/events, etc.) and, thus, passively setting boundaries.
While this looks pretty subversive, it is not always malicious or intentional. The good news is that this hidden danger is not something you need to worry about as a small business owner.
We will explore three steps in this blog to ensure you can recognize, address and even prevent “quiet quitting.”
Step 1: Recognize it
In a Forbes article published earlier this year, Robinson outlines six signs:
- Chronic disengagement.
- Minimum standard performance.
- Isolation from other members of the team.
- Withdrawal from any non-necessary conversations, activities, or tasks.
- Attendance at meetings but not speaking/acting as much as usual.
Teammates report having to pick up the slack. (Robinson, 2022).
The easiest of these signs to address is withdrawal from the non-necessary, as this can appear on social media (Ellis & Yang, 2022). You might notice someone is hinting at separation or divorce if they share quotes about letting people go, charting new territory, etc. The same goes for quiet quitting. While Startup Tandem Inc. is not suggesting snooping at your employees’ TikTok accounts, we recognize that part of modern life is blurred work and life boundaries. Some employees might not realize it but share their feelings with you. While they’re not necessarily slowly quitting, they ARE communicating that they do not want to do certain aspects of their job.
The remaining signs are easy to address in performance reviews, which we encourage to hold at least quarterly.
Pro Tip: Read about How to Make a Hybrid Model Work for your Business￼ – Startup Tandem
Step 2: Address It
While it shouldn’t be the employer’s responsibility to read between the lines of employees’ passive statements and actions, initiating appropriate and direct communication is essential. Don’t lose the chance to address their feelings about work, especially in a remote work setting. If they know you follow their account or even have a public account, managing these work-related videos and sentiments in a meeting is more manageable than if they don’t know you follow them. You don’t have to be critical – remain open and curious. For example, “I noticed that TikTok video about … can you tell me a little more about that?”.
If you hear about these passive anti-hustle sentiments through another coworker, remember the reporting party’s confidentiality is at stake. Instead of mentioning a specific incident, ask general questions about workload in one-on-one meetings. Some examples might include, “How do you feel about the amount of work provided? How do you feel appreciated? How do you feel best compensated? How do you like feedback? Do you enjoy your tasks? Do you receive the support (resources, training, etc.) needed to complete the task? Do you like the current workplace communication style? What would you change?”.
After this, check in with HR to revise company policies regarding overtime, external events, and other employees’ dissatisfactions. A consensus likely means the company’s very policies need to be adjusted. If the workplace mentality has become jaded, but procedures must remain intact, consider implementing true workplace change with a program such as the one outlined in The Heart of Change (Kotter & Cohen, 2012).
Maybe it is a relief for them to get this out in the open. For example, they might already be passive communicators.
Pro tip: Read about Steps to Retain Employees￼ – Startup Tandem
Step 3: Prevent It
To prevent quiet quitting, simply utilize the same tools as in our recent employee retention article.
But when it comes to purpose and meaning at work, ensure constant and clear communication. A SHRM survey found that workers would take a 23% pay cut for a job they find meaningful. Communication about a shared purpose is vital so that the employee is aligned and has appropriate expectations. Otherwise, there will be a lot of resentment and disappointment, and quiet quitting is more likely to occur. Compensation is not as crucial to modern workers, but it is much clearer regarding expectations (e.g., I work 40 hours a week and get paid xxx dollars).
Pro Tip: Read about Avoid Expensive Employee Turnover – Startup Tandem
How Can Startup Tandem HR Help?
If you follow these simple steps, you will recognize, address and even prevent “quiet quitting” – even in a remote team. Although it may take some tough conversations, ensuring your team is still loyal, engaged, and productive is imperative.
Startup Tandem provides human resources consulting services to help you develop and implement culture, compliance, and training programs that fit your specific business needs and budget.
Ellis, L., & Yang, A. (2022, August 12). If your co-workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ here’s what that means. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-your-gen-z-co-workers-are-quiet-quitting-heres-what-that-means-11660260608
Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. S. (2012). The heart of change: Real-life stories of how people changes their organizations. Harvard Business Review Press.
O’Connell, B. (2021, July 6). The search for meaning. SHRM. Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/all-things-work/pages/the-search-for-meaning.aspx
Robinson, B. (2022, August 24). 6 signs that a ‘quiet quitter’ is among your employees and what to do about it. Forbes. Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2022/08/19/6-signs-that-a-quiet-quitter-is-among-your-employees-and-what-to-do-about-it/?sh=1fede0a66619