“Quiet quitting” has become the new fad-but it’s nothing new. It’s just people finally talking about something that has been happening for the longest time. It’s simply engaged employees becoming disengaged.
You hire someone and at first they are absolutely engaged: it’s the honeymoon period. That person really believes in your mission, shares your values, feels appreciated and sees a bright future for themselves at your company. They’re just trying to make a good impression, too. They are showing you the engagement you want.
But after a while that might change.
The first instinct for a lot of managers is to assign blame: “We made the wrong hire” “They’ve changed” “We need to hire someone better”
Wrong hire: That can be the case sometimes. A very small percentage of the time. Even great, talented people may not fit your way of doing things, they may not believe in your mission, or they may not thrive in your culture.
At ELI, we do a great job of giving the candidate an honest and thorough look into what their job will look like once they join you, including culture, responsibilities, what we’ll expect from them, and growth and development they can look forward to. When we are this careful about finding the right match, it’s hard to believe we’d get it wrong so much of the time for it to become mainstream!
They’ve changed: It’s true that people become uninterested in their job. It can turn dull or monotonous, they might have personal matters they’d rather focus on or simply they’ve developed new interests they would rather pursue. However, more often than not, it’s your company that’s changed. The culture has shifted with new employees or new leadership. Goals, and expectations have changed. Responsibilities have increased. Maybe the manager your employees loved is no longer there. Maybe the compensation has changed for the worse (unless you’re giving out raises higher than inflation, you’re giving out pay cuts).
We need to hire someone better: Hiring people is expensive. That’s why at ELI we aim to get it right the first time, and do it every time. Simply going out and looking for someone new will lead you to the same place you’re in today eventually. You’ll hire someone great. After the honeymoon period, however long it might be, you’ll again have a disengaged employee. If you have made the wrong hire, and it happens to everyone at some point, this is a good temporary solution. But you have to do more than that to ensure you’ll have engaged employees.
So what can you do about Quiet Quitting? What can you do about Employee Engagement?
First of all, there has been a radical change in the work culture. New generations of employees have different expectations, and their jobs are no longer the central focus of their lives. They no longer believe in working 60 plus hours a week. There are few employees that are still proudly boasting that they’ve never taken a sick day or used any PTO. People now want unlimited PTO and work-life balance!
So the first thing companies need to do is change. Change their expectations, and change their perspective of what an engaged employee is. Change to provide employees what they need, whether that’s hybrid work from home, flexible PTO, parental leave, or better compensation.
The second thing leadership needs to do, and do it well, is inspire! Can you inspire your employees to believe in your vision, to make your dream their dream? Giving people more than a job but rather giving them a purpose, having them make meaningful contributions and a real impact, that’s what gets them engaged.
Strong employee engagement will result in better retention, productivity and it is also a key link to customer satisfaction, company reputation, and talent attraction.
Don’t let your employees “quiet quit.” Work on getting them –and keeping them– ENGAGED!