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Avoiding the Quiet Quit

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Burnout, stress, overwhelming amounts of work with no end to the monotony is causing the latest workplace phenomenon: quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting is not taking the job too seriously. Checking out. Going through the motions at work and drawing strict boundaries around overtime and protecting the things that matter more than work. Increasingly, employees are checking out emotionally while still holding down a job.

According to a Gallup poll, 31% of Gen Z and millennials are reporting lower engagement at work. While the problem is not limited to the younger generations, they are the ones who are quiet quitting more often than their older counterparts.

As the pandemic put pressure on employees and organizations alike, many workers realized that the amount of stress and extra work they were taking on was making them burn out fast. Going above and beyond to extend themselves no longer appeals. So they are setting much-needed boundaries around their time and their lives.

So how can organizations keep workers engaged, especially in today’s remote and hybrid cultures? The answer is partially in the question: remote and hybrid cultures demand a more flexible management style. Because we no longer work in the same building at all times, trying to manage the same way as in a physical space no longer fits. Employees can easily feel left out, disconnected, and unseen.

It becomes more critical, therefore, for management to engage with their workers both as teams and on an individual basis.

Lead with communication: The successfully engaged employee feels they are seen and heard. Shift your company culture to not only encourage feedback from workers, but also to have management and workers collaborate on how to solve issues and improve the employee experience.

Start with restructuring your performance-related feedback. Work with employees to set individual goals, then help them reach them. Give them access to additional training or mentoring. Supply them with the tools needed to get the job done. Then set benchmarks and a feedback loop that allows them – and you – to track performance and correct where needed.

Also, check in with your employees every day. Make sure you acknowledge things like performance milestones, birthdays, weddings and babies. Be the kind of manager you’d want to have if you were working for the company. In other words, be accessible. Make their success your goal.

Embrace the whole employee: Employees aren’t just defined by the work they do for you. They have lives, pressures, and plenty of concerns and goals outside of work. Those issues aren’t left at the door, either. An International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey found that 76% of employers say an employee’s financial issues have resulted in increased stress, 60% say the issues have contributed to a worker’s inability to focus while at work, and 34% say financial pressures have caused absenteeism or tardiness in their employees.

Give employees help in locating the resources they need to resolve or at least manage the issues in their personal lives. That support can help improve both their personal situations and improve their performance at work.

Show a little trust: Come on, are you really all that concerned if your employee, who is a hard worker who meets performance goals, needs an extra day off work? The same goes for requiring eight-hour, nine-to-five days. Your employee’s best hours could be between 4 pm and 9 pm, and they may get more done in those five hours than they could manage in eight in your office.

Stop measuring value through attendance. It never made sense anyway. What’s important is if they are meeting their performance goals. If the work is done, the goal has been met whether it happened in a normal eight-hour day or at 7 am before your employee’s kids woke up.

In fact, as remote work grows in popularity, you’ll find that a new management style that puts the emphasis on where it should have been all along – on employee productivity and well-being – will result in happier, more engaged workers. By emphasizing flexibility and communication, your organization can be stronger and more competitive.

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