If you’ve been following workplace trends recently, you’ve probably seen the term “quiet quitting” popping up on your LinkedIn feed.
To put it simply, quiet quitting is the phenomenon when employees stop putting in the effort or become noticeably disengaged. You might think there’s nothing new about this kind of behaviour, and you’re correct. Thanks to a Tik Tok video that went viral, we can now articulate this issue and recognize its significance in hybrid and remote workplaces in the post-pandemic era.
There are many signs that indicate quiet quitting affliction within your team. Here are the most noticeable indicators:
- Frequent and clear withdrawal from any teamwork and activities.
- Bare minimum performance.
- Significant isolation from other team members.
- Lack of participation at meetings.
Many attribute this behaviour as a sign of laziness or mediocrity within the team. Such characterization is both unhelpful and destructive to the company culture. Instead of pointing the finger at the employee, it’s much more productive and effective to find the root cause of their disengagement and rectify the problem. If left untreated, quiet quitting can spread like wildfire and before you know it, you have a team of unhappy, unengaged employees.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent the spread of this phenomenon with process improvement in your workplace. Here are seven things you can do to reignite the enthusiasm and ambition within your team and stop quiet quitting in its tracks.
1. Define the purpose and goal of your processes.
Your process may be created with the best of intentions, but if it isn't executed with a clear purpose and goal, it risks becoming a hindrance rather than a help. This is often what leads to "quiet quitting" when employees go through the motions of a process without any real enthusiasm or engagement.
Take a closer look at your current processes. Ask yourself, what outcomes do you want to achieve? What problems are you trying to solve? Once you clearly understand the purpose and goals of your processes, ensure that they’re communicated to all employees who are expected to follow them. Only then can you be sure that your processes will actually achieve their intended purpose.
Additionally, having a well-defined purpose and goal for your processes can help to motivate and engage employees, as they will have a better understanding of how their work contributes to the overall success of the company. Also, defining the purpose and goal of your processes can help prevent scope creep, as it will be clear from the outset what is and is not within the scope of the process.
If you store your processes in the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in your knowledge base, simply add a sentence or two about the purpose of the process. Such change can go a long way in establishing clarity without exerting too much time and effort on your part.
2. Simplify your processes and make them easy to follow.
There are often too many rules and regulations in a company that employees are expected to follow. This adds a layer of confusion and frustration that could suck the enthusiasm out of your employees, and you’ll notice some reluctance in following these processes.
So how can you simplify your processes? There are a few ways you can do this:
- Make sure your processes are well-documented and easy to find.
- Use clear and concise language when writing out your processes.
- Use visuals to help illustrate your processes.
- Break down your processes into small, manageable steps.
- Eliminate any unnecessary steps.
By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your employees will stick with your processes instead of quietly quitting out of frustration.
3. Clarify expectations and roles.
In any team or organization, it is important to clarify expectations and roles to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. When expectations are not clear, people can start to feel undervalued or even invisible, leading to increased stress and a desire to leave the situation.
It is therefore crucial to have open and honest communication with your team members about their roles and expectations. By doing so, you can avoid the situation where someone quietly quits because they feel they are not meeting your expectations.
Moreover, when employees feel that they’re not properly utilized or that their work is not making a difference, they are more likely to phone it in. By ensuring that employees are properly trained and that they are doing a job they enjoy, you can increase motivation and enthusiasm in the workplace.
4. Get feedback and continuous improvement.
Performance feedback is a process that should be continuous, not something that only happens during annual or semi-annual reviews. It should also be a two-way conversation between managers and employees, where both parties feel open to honest discussion.
Here are a few things to keep in mind so you can get the most out of performance feedback:
- Make it a two-way conversation: Be open to giving and receiving feedback with grace.
- Be specific: General feedback is not as helpful as specific feedback. When you're giving feedback, try to be as detailed as possible to yield the change that you desire.
When you take the time to offer feedback, you’ll find a significant improvement in your employee’s productivity and motivation. And because continuous improvement is a two-way street, you’ll be able to identify issues within your processes early and address them head-on. As a leader, you’re responsible to cultivate a culture of honesty that allows your team to air their grievances, and expect solutions.
5. Automate where possible.
According to Asana’s Anatomy of Work Index 2021, employees spend 60% of their time on “work about work” or “activities that take time away from meaningful work, including communicating about work, searching for information, switching between apps, managing shifting priorities, and chasing the status of work.” Employees who spend less time using their skillset are more likely to experience demotivation and burnout.
This is why it's important for you to automate tasks where possible. By automating repetitive or low-level activities, you can free up your team to focus on higher-level tasks that are more likely to keep them engaged and motivated. So if you're looking to keep your employees happy and engaged, be sure to implement systems and processes that will help them focus on their strengths.
Moreover, automation provides you and your team the capacity to get more done in less time, boosting your efficiency as a company. With an increase in productivity, your employees will feel accomplished, therefore preventing any negative feelings from festering into quiet quitting behaviour.
6. Set clear deadlines.
If you know when something is due, you're more likely to stick with it and see it through to completion. When projects or deadlines are open-ended, it's easy to become disengaged and allow yourself to procrastinate. And with procrastination comes stress, anxiety and the likelihood of committing errors as you rush through the task.
This is why it’s important to set realistic deadlines. If you set too tight of a deadline, your employees may find themselves stressed and overwhelmed. But if you set too lax of a deadline, they may find themselves slacking off and not putting in the effort needed to get the job done.
The key is to find a balance that works for you and your team. By setting realistic and achievable deadlines, you can prevent disengagement and ensure that everyone is always working towards a common goal.
7. Celebrate success.
It goes without saying that the lack of appreciation is a strong driver to quiet quitting. Sometimes, leaders assume that their team knows that they’re doing a great job. Unless you articulate it and celebrate those wins, your employees may go on thinking their work is not enough and they become less likely to put in an effort in the future.
When it comes to business, success should never be taken for granted. There are always ebbs and flows, and it’s important to celebrate each and every victory—no matter how small—to maintain company morale and keep everyone on their toes. Your employees will then start to see themselves as achievers, and become excited about accomplishing more.
Process improvement is a handy tool to increase productivity and efficiency within a company, and now, you can use these principles to ensure that your talented employees are satisfied with the work they do. Once you’ve built a sound foundation, you can move to other measures to prevent quiet quitting such as improving communication, offering more opportunities for professional development, and increasing transparency.
If you’re noticing signs of quiet quitting at your workplace, consider booking a call with us so we can work on process-based solutions together.