There’s a new workplace trend businesses are worried about: the quiet quit. While the term can mean different things, quiet quitting generally refers to a pattern of employee behavior in which they stop trying their best at work. Apathy, lack of participation, and doing the bare minimum just to get by are all signs of quiet quitting.
According to experts, quiet quitting has come about at a time when individuals are searching for meaning—and not finding it in their jobs. Particularly since the shift to flexible work arrangements, employees want to be free to make their own decisions. They want to feel valued and do not want to be micromanaged. So, it is up to HR departments to meet these needs while maintaining a productive and healthy workplace.
How to combat the quiet quit
HR practices can help combat the quiet quit by emphasizing clear communication channels, planning for the future, and more.
1. Create clear communication channels
Every person within an organization wants to feel that their presence matters. One way to let employees know they are seen, heard, and valued is to provide ample communication opportunities across departments. Opening communication channels that connect employers and employees in different branches can do a lot to boost morale.
There are various methods for communication across departments; it is up to HR staff to ensure that both individual and company-wide communication channels are clearly assigned. Hybrid or remote companies can incorporate multiple online platforms—such as Slack, email, text messaging, and video meetings—to ensure remote employees are included in all important communications.
Establish a clear policy for which type of communication is right for which format to bring some ease to employees, allowing them to feel comfortable that they are reaching out in the right way at the right time.
For in-person companies, offering regular weekly drop-in open “office hours” is a great way to make it clear to employees that they have a consistent safe space for expressing their thoughts, questions, and opinions.
2. Respond to uncertainty
Open communication can also go a long way toward quelling fear and dissatisfaction. Listening to employee concerns and developing real solutions is the way to build a stronger company culture overall.
Nationwide issues such as inflation and recessions affect both businesses and employees alike. For the last several years in the United States, for instance, inflation has always risen much higher than 2% annually, which is generally considered by economists to be the ‘good’ rate of inflation that allows basic goods to still be more affordable for people. This has put an increasing burden on people just to make ends meet, especially if wages remain mostly stagnant. If there are gaps in communication throughout the company, employees may not trust that their financial position is secure in light of uncertain future developments.
Clear, authentic communication channels can help bridge gaps, offering practical solutions and scenarios in uncertain times.
3. Provide opportunities for employee engagement
One way for your HR team to motivate and engage employees is to provide concrete opportunities for connection.
You can offer employees direct routes for voicing their suggestions and preferences through:
- One-on-one satisfaction reviews
- Monthly check-ins
Self-directed engagement allows employees to manage their time and shows that you trust workers to be competent and self-reliant.
Employees want to see that their opinions are being taken seriously as well. Be prepared to enact real changes in response to employee suggestions and complaints. Even small changes can make a big difference in validating and respecting employee needs. And, genuinely thank team members for their suggestions and share with them specific steps you’re taking to address their concerns.
Try to listen to employee critiques without taking offense. Instead, use it to fuel change. This combination of listening and direct action creates a strong, connected company culture. And when each employee knows they are an important part of the team, they are less likely to slip away and stop engaging with work.
4. Create a connected company culture
Employees want to feel that they are valued within the community of the company and are progressing toward their goals. HR can help consider employees’ individual career pathways.
The core of the company culture should be infused into employee onboarding. If collaboration is a key pillar of the company, for instance, new employees should be greeted with opportunities for collaborative work.
While it is important to maintain clear boundaries around behavior and expectations in the workplace, maintaining a professional atmosphere doesn’t have to mean a cold atmosphere. After all, every company is only as good as the individuals who work within it. Celebrate individual achievements and life events to ensure your company culture provides a warm, inclusive environment for each employee.
When employees are more personally invested in company culture, they will value their work life more highly. Personalized holiday cards, remote or in-person social events, and weekly prompts can provide space for creating a more connected company culture. Since some employees will be more shy or introverted, structured social cues can be helpful in involving everyone.
For example, a weekly Friday personal trivia can invite employees to get to know each other in a fun way. When employees share more of their personalities with the whole team, each person may come to know and trust their colleagues.
Being able to empathize and connect on a light personal level adds richness and deeper feelings of satisfaction and inclusivity to a professional atmosphere.
By encouraging open communication, fostering genuine connection, and creating an inclusive, deeply connected work atmosphere, your HR team can establish authentic company dynamics.
In this setting, individual employees can find a sense of purpose and satisfaction that will keep them motivated and engaged. Knowing they are valuable additions to the team will provide compelling causes for connection and prevent burnout.
Regular check-ins in which HR staff genuinely listen to employee opinions, requests, and concerns allow them to offer more meaningful interactions with individual employees.
Celebrating personal achievements will encourage workers to strive toward personal growth in the workplace. And, crafting clear career pathways provides employees with meaningful direction.
Through strong HR practices, companies can address some of the underlying causes that can lead to widespread employee burnout, cynicism, or dissatisfaction.
Creating a connected, meaningful work atmosphere can go a long way toward combatting the quiet quit and re-sparking employee enthusiasm.
These views are made solely by the author.