Ep 43 – Five Tips to Combat Quiet Quitting

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Today I want to add my 2 cents to the subject of quiet quitting. It’s a new term for a problem that has been around quite some time.

What moved it so much into the focus is the pandemic. It caused many people to re-evaluate what’s important in life and how they currently spend it.

And also, over the decades, the work itself has changed. There are more businesses that put employees in touch with the customer as they co-create the services. The rate of change has increased. Technology is more complex.  

So every business needs the hearts and minds of all their employees to contribute with functional expertise and new ideas.

Here’s the truth: You simply can’t afford a quiet quitter on your team!

According to Gallup, “quiet quitters” make up 50 % of the US workforce. It’s those people who do the bare minimum and their mind is detached from the job. They are on autopilot so to speak.

They might smile, they show up on time, do what is asked of them but nothing more. No new ideas, no extra step when dealing with a customer, no improvement of their work.

As CEO or Founder, you have the power to create an engaging work environment that keeps your peeps engaged.

And frankly, if you want to scale your business to the next level of success you need people who are all in.  You need them to say “Hell Yes” and not “Maybe”.

In my mind there are several things you can do to create that environment:

1. Anchor your business in purpose

What is the bigger purpose above and beyond the annual results or the current products or services?

That makes me think of the fable of the three bricklayers of which one is laying bricks to feed the family, the second one is building a wall and the third one is building the house of God.

2. Create clarity into where you are going

What’s your vision, what’s the strategy to get there?  What’s the most important work?

The more people understand about the organization, the more engaged they can be.

3. Create context of how work gets done 

If everyone just understands their job without knowing where work is coming from and where it’s going, it is very hard to get the whole picture. Going back to the fable, all they are seeing is the brick.

During my career in continuous improvement, I have encountered a lot of situations where employees didn’t know how their individual work fits into the overall context.

4. Lead with a process mindset

And yes, I am talking about process here.

Employee engagement is sometimes viewed as a matter of leadership tasks such communication, recognition, personal development. The soft skills. And they are all important.

But I have helped enough teams to improve their processes to know that transparent processes are a key ingredient to an engaging work environment.

Seriously, it can be so frustrating when you get a customer inquiry and don’t know where to get the information to answer it. Or, if you wait for an approval and can’t follow up because you don’t know who the approver is. Your request was sent off with a swoosh into a black hole called computer.

Let’s review: What did I list so far? Purpose, Clarity, Context and Process

By the way, If this resonates and you realize that this is holding you back from the results you want, let’s book a strategy session. It’s 90 minutes where we can brainstorm how you can start to create a more engaging environment.  

When it comes to leadership habits, there is one that stands out when it comes to quiet quitting:

5. Open two-way dialogue.

Make sure there is dialogue at every level of your organization. In a remote work environment, it’s even more important to reach out and let your team know they have a champion. Demonstrate an interest in the whole person not just in their work.

Here’s an important mindset shift you may try on:

Your team is not working FOR you. They are working WITH you to co-create business success. If you shift your mind, you may see them in a different light and engage with them on a new level.

They feel a stronger sense of belonging and more valued. As a result, you will have a team who says “Hell yeah” to your purpose, vision and strategy!