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4 Signs of Quiet Quitting and How to Counteract Them

Culture
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Quiet quitting has been a heavily discussed topic in recent months, and there’s a good reason for it. According to research from Gallup, around 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is made up of quiet quitters. This newly coined term describes employees that only do the bare minimum of what is required to meet their job descriptions — and nothing more. The reason why companies need to be on the lookout for quiet quitting is because it can lead to more significant organizational fractures, such as disengagement, low productivity, and unequal workloads.

Detecting a quiet quitter is no simple task because these employees still complete their work responsibilities but show subtle signs of detachment from their job. Remote companies might have an even harder time detecting these signs since managers have less visibility. To tackle this complex issue, companies must first assess what is motivating or demotivating their workforce.

A shift in the employee mindset

At G-P, we understand that keeping global teams connected and engaged is critical to achieving success. Distance isn’t an issue when the right organizational strategies are in place. The most important thing to understand is that quiet quitting is not an isolated event. It’s the result of a series of changes in the employee mindset.  Two of the most noticeable shifts include:

The downfall of the “hustle culture”: During the pandemic, along with the massive adoption of remote work, employees reevaluated their views on work-life balance and questioned the “hustle culture” mentality. Working overtime and aiming for promotions suddenly seemed less important than spending time with friends and family or enjoying hobbies. Candidates and employees now look for jobs that allow them to focus on their wellbeing and leave room for personal time.

The shift from “work for me” to “work with me”: Employees, particularly millennials and Gen Z, now want a job that adapts to their lives instead of adapting their lives to their job. Employees now prefer to work at companies that align with their values and beliefs. They are looking for meaning, not just an income.

This new outlook has caused many employees to feel more disengaged from their jobs than ever before. According to research from Gallup, engagement rates in the United States fell in the second half of 2021 for the first time in a decade. But this doesn’t necessarily mean employees no longer care; it means they feel a lack of connection to their jobs and employers.

Key signs to look out for

This employee-employer fracture is mainly due to unclear job expectations, absence of learning and development opportunities, lack of appreciation and recognition, and a disconnection from their employer’s mission and purpose.

With these contributing factors in mind, here are four signs of quiet quitting, along with specific strategies we’ve implemented at G-P to address this trend’s main driving force: employee disengagement.

1. Isolating from co-workers: The workplace is a social space. People form relationships with their co-workers through day-to-day collaborations and team-building activities — that’s how work culture is nurtured and connections are made. Isolated employees are a sign of disengagement. Missing deadlines, being hard to reach, skipping all optional activities, and not participating in meetings are signs managers should keep an eye on.

Solution: Remote and in-office companies might have to deal with this differently. While in-office environments can create spaces for people to casually interact, such as coffee breaks, remote companies have to schedule meetups and rely on digital platforms.  Slack’s Donut channel is a good example of how technology can connect employees. This channel selects random employees from your company to meet and talk, connecting people from different departments that wouldn’t normally interact otherwise.

Remember, fostering a healthy environment in which employees can collaborate, express themselves, and learn from others is critical to avoid quiet quitting.

2. Refraining from company-wide activities: It is a common and beneficial practice to promote team-building activities, such as health challenges, group chats to discuss hobbies like movies, books, or music, or buddy programs that enable employees to become mentors for new hires. If employees are uninterested in any of these initiatives, it might be a quiet quitting red flag.

Solution: First, managers must ensure workloads are appropriately distributed among their teams. Employees that feel overwhelmed will likely avoid additional activities to meet tight deadlines. Second, make sure internal activities are promoted efficiently. If employees aren’t aware of these opportunities, you might have to adjust your internal communications strategy. Try sending out a weekly newsletter, organizing monthly huddles with key stakeholders, or scheduling occasional meetings to keep employees informed on these opportunities.

3. Only meeting the minimum performance requirements: This might be one of the most obvious signs of quiet quitting. Working the bare minimum means that the employee isn’t actively pursuing a promotion or seeking any additional praise from their manager. Other signs include not completing assigned training, indifference towards long-term goals, and unwillingness to accept feedback.

Solution: A clear career path and an enticing compensation program are fundamental to keeping employees motivated. Understanding the potential career opportunities and promotions within your company will enable employees to envision a long-term future with you. According to SHRM’s 2020 Benefits Survey, companies that offer professional development opportunities report a 15 percent increase in employee engagement rates.

4. Showcasing burnout: Excessive workloads, unreasonable deadlines, bad compensation, and lack of role clarity will increase workplace stress and eventually lead to burnout. According to Deloitte’s Workplace Burnout Survey, 73 percent of professionals have experienced burnout in their current jobs, leading to low productivity and engagement. This type of negative work environment can eventually turn burnt-out employees into quiet quitters.

Solution: Remote companies should always promote the right to disconnect and respect employees’ time by allowing them to rest and balance their personal lives and their jobs. International companies should be mindful when scheduling meetings or communicating with employees outside of local working hours. Role clarity, reasonable deadlines, and an adequately distributed workload will significantly reduce workplace stress.

Build a connected global workforce with G-P

Working remotely can often make us forget that behind every screen is a human being. Companies must nurture an engaging work experience — regardless of their employees’ geography — to improve talent retention and job satisfaction.
At G-P, we believe in the power of the everywhere workforce. With our #1 SaaS-based Global Growth Platform™, we help companies build global teams swiftly and smartly. We take the pain out of managing global HR, payroll, benefits, and more, making it easy for employees to focus on the work they love.

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