Written by Cathy McCosker | 15th November 2022

Quiet quitting is the buzz term of the moment, and there are many takes on what it means.

The phrase involves employees taking control of their work life balance and pushing back on additional tasks and responsibilities outside of their job description.

The reason for this could be the feeling of being overworked, underappreciated, or burned out. Alternatively, there could be something endemic about your company culture or working practices driving employees to ‘quiet quit’.

Here are some suggestions from our team to improve engagement and prevent your people from quiet quitting.

Set healthy boundaries

Creating healthy boundaries and a healthy workplace culture will go a long way to improve employee engagement.

Start by creating an open and supportive environment where people feel comfortable setting boundaries around their work. That means encouraging employees to shut down their laptops and leave the office on time, take a proper lunch break, switch off from work in the evenings and weekends, and take their full entitlement of paid annual leave.

Your managers should lead by example too and be seen to leave work at the workplace.

Remember that some people do prefer to pick up work on the weekends, so, where appropriate, make it clear that people can work around the hours that suit them and it’s not an expectation for all the team to do the same.

Review job descriptions and expectations

What do you really need your employees to do? What are you paying them to do? What did you hire them to do?

Ensure employees know what is expected of them, but also make sure you’re not expecting more than what they were hired to do.

If you’re seeing an increase in demand or your business is growing, you may require employees to pick up extra workloads or go beyond their job description. But if they are not compensated for it over the longer term or need to work more hours to get the job done without acknowledgment or balance, they may push back or leave.

Avoid “quiet firing”

Employees may be on the path to quiet quitting if they don’t get the recognition and support from their manager.

Managers might create a toxic, unsupportive environment, knowing employees will no longer tolerate this and eventually leave. They might deny pay rises, development opportunities or time off, which over time may drive employees to quit.

This is called “quiet firing” and managers are doing this so they can avoid dismissal.

Quiet firing may seem like an easy way out, but it’s always better to address issues first. If you feel your employees are becoming less engaged or slacking off at work, speak to them directly and openly with a view to understanding why their approach to work has changed, rather than quietly firing them.

Prioritise communication

To encourage engagement, we recommend having open and honest conversations with your employees to bring everyone on board with company expectations and needs.

If you spot that someone is becoming demotivated, you or their line manager can have a discussion with the employee to get a better understanding of why they are feeling that way and how you can support them.

Steps to take could be as simple as reducing your employee’s workload, allowing them to change their working pattern, or tweaking their job role.

We offer bespoke employee engagement programmes to assess and measure your staff engagement and identify the key drivers that will develop a culture which will motivate your people. Contact our team to learn how we can support you, your teams and your business.