Defeat Quiet Quitting: Boost Employee Engagement and Create Meaningful Work

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Quiet quitting is a term coined by Gen Z, referring to doing the bare minimum at work while defying the hustle culture. The phenomenon has existed for decades, but it is now more prevalent than ever due to factors such as the pandemic and remote work.

So, how can you help your employees stay happy and productive? We interviewed Sonja Price to find out and have summarized our takeaways below.

Manage Burnout

Burnout has become a significant challenge in recent years, particularly with remote and hybrid work models making it harder to maintain a work-life balance. To help employees avoid burnout and stay engaged, consider the following tips.

1. Set Boundaries

Begin by supporting employees in setting boundaries and saying “no” when necessary. Empower them to push back on unrealistic deadlines or manage workloads effectively to ensure they have enough time for self-care and personal life.

2. Prioritize Self-Care

Once boundaries are established, promote self-care by encouraging employees to set aside time for themselves. This can include activities like taking a bath, going to the gym, or engaging in hobbies.

3. Take Regular Breaks

With self-care in place, encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day. This can range from a quick walk around the house to a weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Regular breaks help recharge and maintain motivation.

By implementing these structured steps—setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and taking regular breaks—organizations can successfully retain top talent and create a positive work environment that encourages employees to stay engaged and committed.

Engage Your Employees

In the current job market and evolving economy, engaging employees is more critical than ever. As companies transition back to in-person work, the balance between employee and employer needs must be maintained to ensure long-term satisfaction and engagement. The following strategies can help you address quiet quitting and engage your employees effectively:

1. Understand Disengagement Causes

To tackle quiet quitting, it’s crucial to grasp the factors that contribute to disengagement, such as the lack of social connection in virtual work environments. Focus on helping employees feel cared for and engaged as individuals to mitigate the effects of disengagement.

2. Develop Structured Growth Plans

Offer employees clear, structured growth plans that outline their career progression steps. As a manager or leader, actively support their journey and assist them in achieving their goals.

3. Prioritize Employee Development

A common reason for quiet quitting is the lack of growth opportunities. To address this issue, organizations should identify and fill the gaps in employee development. Demonstrate genuine care for employee growth through regular feedback, mentorship, and sponsorship, which not only aids career advancement but also fosters a positive work culture.

For more advanced information, check out our 5-part employee engagement guide.

Build Strong Relationships

Retaining top talent goes beyond offering competitive compensation; it also involves nurturing relationships and fostering a supportive work culture. A Gallup study found that genuinely caring managers and having a best friend at work are the top two retention factors. The following strategies can help you build strong relationships to retain talent effectively:

1. Establish Effective Communication Channels

Set up regular communication channels, such as weekly or monthly business reviews, to ensure your team feels heard and engaged. Address ideas presented by your team during these meetings and demonstrate that they’re valued. Consider delegating inbox and communication channel monitoring to an assistant or Chief of Staff for optimal responsiveness.

2. Encourage Manager-Team Member Conversations

When team members seek more responsibility and pay but underperform in their current roles, coaching conversations between managers and team members are essential. Discuss their responsibilities, performance, and engagement levels, and have both parties take responsibility for the employee’s growth and development.

3. Be Authentically Responsive

Being truly responsive is a vital leadership quality. In a fast-paced world, team members can struggle to get noticed by their leaders amid numerous communication channels. Counteract disengagement by responding to team members with authenticity and empathy. Show appreciation for their contributions and ensure they know they’ve been heard.

An Employee’s Perspective: How to Identify the Right Time to Quit

As an employee, determining the right time to quit and seek new job opportunities can be challenging. Your motivations may include compensation, work culture, growth opportunities, or benefits. To make the decision, follow these steps:

Steps to Decide Whether to Quit

  1. Determine your priorities: Rank what matters most to you, so you know how to evaluate new opportunities.
  2. Assess your current situation: What would make it worthwhile for you to leave or stay at your current job?
  3. Explore growth opportunities: Are there specific things you could implement in your current organization to stay? Have you asked for growth opportunities, and are you talking to the right people who can give them to you?
  4. Identify skills gaps: If you’re looking to grow your leadership career, determine what skills and responsibilities you need to develop and seek opportunities to gain that experience.
  5. Be proactive: Don’t just sit back and wait for opportunities to come to you. Network, find mentors and sponsors, and actively work on your career growth.
  6. Manage your manager: Help your manager understand your goals and make your career growth one of their priorities.

If you’ve put in the time and effort but find your current organization unsupportive of your growth, it may be time to look elsewhere. Remember, you can explore opportunities internally and externally simultaneously.

Individual Contributor vs Leadership Growth Opportunities

Individual contributors and leaders face distinct challenges in their career trajectories. For individual contributors, becoming an expert in a niche area can be easier than moving into management. In contrast, management roles require demonstrating leadership capabilities and often being in the right place at the right time. With fewer senior-level leadership positions available as you move up the ladder, it’s essential to seek or create the right fit.

If you’re struggling to advance in a large company, consider working for a smaller organization where you can assume a more significant leadership role. Once you’ve gained experience, you can either continue thriving in the small to medium-sized business space or return to larger organizations at a higher level.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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