More than half of the workforce in the United States can be designated “quiet quitters,” according to Gallup. Furthermore, studies found that 18% of U.S. employees are actively disengaged, which leaves just 32% of the workforce engaged and making an earnest effort at their jobs.
Though these statistics might discourage business owners and leadership, there are specific ways you can reengage your employees and build a more productive team despite this trend.
In this article, we’ll examine:
- what quiet quitting means
- reasons why employees disengage
- how to get employees back on track
This way, you can keep your employees happy, growing, and putting forth the appropriate amount of effort at work.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is when employees seem to lose passion for their work and do the bare minimum without showing overt signs of leaving.
This group is considered the middle ground of the three main levels of employee engagement in the workplace, which include:
- Actively engaged employees: Employees who put forth the effort required to do their job, and they also go above and beyond.
- Unengaged employees: These employees are the quiet quitters. They meet the minimum requirements of their job and no more, putting in time but not much effort beyond that.
- Actively disengaged employees: Also known as “loud quitters,” these employees are actively disengaged and do not meet their job requirements.
Though it’s tempting to label the less-engaged employees as “lazy” or chalk it up to work-life balance boundaries, studies show that quiet quitting is a psychological detachment from one’s job or company. This happens for a variety of reasons, including:
- Few opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
- No one at work encourages employee development.
- No one seems to care for the employee personally.
- Unclear expectations of what’s required.
Studies show that quiet quitting is most prevalent among the Millennial and Gen Z populations — and, specifically, those who work remotely. Some experts feel it’s occurring among the younger generations because they prefer a better work-life balance. While this can paint a dim picture of remote work and employee engagement in general, there are ways you can reverse quiet quitting within your organization.
How to Reengage and Retain Quiet Quitters
As an employer or manager, it’s important to get familiar with the reasons your employees are quiet quitting so you can recognize the signs of disengagement before it becomes prevalent or your employees leave. These simple steps will help you reengage employees and encourage them to rediscover their enthusiasm for their work and your organization.
1. Understand the reasons why your employees are quiet quitting
The key to reengaging quiet quitters is knowing why they are checked out. Ask managers for input because they regularly engage with your staff and can look for the patterns and triggers that could be causing employees to disengage. Ask managers to report their observations or send out a feedback survey asking employees how they feel about their jobs.
Some common areas of disconnect to look for include:
- Poor work-life balance and burnout.
- Lack of growth opportunities within the company.
- Little or no recognition for work.
- Toxic work culture or environment.
2. Create a supportive work environment
Once you’ve identified the main issues, focus on creating a supportive work environment that puts communication and support at the forefront. By fostering a culture of psychological safety, employees will feel more comfortable opening up about their happiness at work.
Employees need to feel comfortable speaking openly about the improvements they would suggest. It’s important to recognize that your employees are your biggest assets, and their feedback is essential in building a work culture they enjoy.
3. Personalize your outreach
To rebuild a relationship with disengaged employees, initiate one-on-one conversations that allow you to demonstrate your understanding and empathy. Use these conversations to allow them to discuss their feelings and show that you understand their challenges and support their individual needs. This assures employees you care about their wellbeing and recognize their value to the organization.
4. Offer flexible solutions
Though idle employees are often overlooked by management, there are often opportunities for positive change. For example, perhaps there are flexible working arrangements that will cater to their needs but were never thought of, talked about, or offered.
These could be solutions such as opportunities for:
- skill development
- greater autonomy
- part-time work
- remote work
Opening this conversation gives your employees a sense of control over their work while demonstrating your flexibility and support.
5. Recognize and celebrate employee achievements
Praise, recognition, and rewards are helpful for reengaging quiet quitters because it makes them feel like they are contributing to the team. Acknowledge when employees hit major milestones and celebrate their contributions, no matter how small they may seem. This not only helps employees feel proud of the work they’re doing, but it also boosts team morale, which is the key to better performance overall.
6. Build a sense of belonging
Employees want to feel like they belong to the team and organization. Organize team-building activities that promote collaboration, inclusivity, and interdepartmental relationships. With improved interconnectedness, employees are more likely to feel a sense of purpose beyond their individual contributions to the team and company.
7. Provide regular check-ins and feedback
Establish a structured system for providing employees with regular check-ins to monitor progress and ensure they’re moving in a positive direction. Regular feedback — and we mean more than the once-per-quarter check-in or yearly review — keeps employees engaged and consistently moving to the next target. Plus, it gives managers a chance to address problematic habits before they become engrained.
8. Create opportunities for growth
When there is little opportunity for growth within a company, employees often wonder why they should put forth the effort. Provide employees with challenging new assignments and growth opportunities to show them that you believe in their potential and are willing to invest in their future. Not only can this prevent them from quitting altogether, but it can also inspire employees to reverse their disengaged behavior and reopen the doors to productivity.
Reengage Employees with a Healthy, Happy Work Environment
Employees — especially quiet quitters — want to feel like the work they do matters, so when they become disengaged, it’s important to reengage them before it’s too late. Keep the lines of communication open and provide ample opportunities for growth. It could help your employees rediscover why they loved working for your organization in the first place and bring a new and reinvigorated energy to their work. Improve your work environment and hire top-notch candidates by signing up for your free trial with Monster.