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What Can Managers Do About “Quiet Quitters”?

There’s been quite a buzz around what is now referred to as “quiet quitting”. A new term for a not-so-new phenomenon, “quiet quitting” describes a range of behaviors that employees exhibit when frustrated with factors at work like compensation and/or workload. Symptoms may include a team member acting overly cynical, delivering frequent negative commentary, seemingly being disengaged in meetings, or repeatedly producing low-quality work at a slower-than-usual pace.

Employees may not be overtly slacking, lazy, or disengaged, but instead, just going through the motions and mentally checking out. Burned-out or unsatisfied employees may simply stick to the duties in their job description and refrain from going the extra mile to deliver their best. When employees on a team quietly quit, it may be due to distrust in their employer.

These actions and attitudes pose a threat to team morale, creating an unsatisfactory and potentially toxic workplace. Therefore, managers should recognize this in their employees and take action as soon as possible to correct it. Below are a few ways that managers can address quiet quitting.

Cultivate a Team Dynamic Built Upon Trust

As a manager, you set the tone for how your team’s culture will look. Putting in the effort to build rapport with your employees and show them you respect them as people, goes a long way. You can work on this by seeking to understand the people on your team on a deeper level. With this, employees may believe that you care to get to know them and have their best interest at heart. Being consistent and delivering on what you promise also helps to build trust.

Respect Boundaries to Encourage a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Many times quiet quitters are burnt out from unrealistic and overwhelming workloads. Understand that more hours does not equal more output -- Stanford researchers have shown that employee productivity decreases significantly after around 55 hours a week, such that workers who put in 56 hours a week produced about the same output as those who clocked 70 hours. ​​Managers should work with employees to set goals that avoid this long-hours mentality and encourage a balance with non-work activities. Reasonably challenge employees and empower your staff to take time to recharge and regroup instead of giving up when they feel overwhelmed.

Invest in Your Employees’ Long Term Career Growth

Quiet quitters may also be frustrated and shut down due to a lack opportunities for growth and development. Get to know the aspirations your employees have and if possible, find ways to connect these to their current role. Help your employees discover ways that the work they do now will ultimately transition them to the next stage of their careers. Create clear, actionable milestones to encourage internal mobility, understanding what the next step for growth is at your organization.

Key Takeaways

An environment that lacks trust, holds unfair expectations, and offers limited advancement opportunities may be to blame for why employees on your team have resigned to the idea of “quiet quitting”. As a manager, you have the power to redirect your employees’ attitudes and experiences at work. Prevent this phenomenon from taking control of your team by refining the culture, setting and maintaining boundaries, and helping employees grow in their careers.

If you’d like to learn more about how to manage a successful team, free from quiet quitters, Apex may be able to help. We offer a wide array of services, including leadership development and training, that may help you overcome obstacles like disengaged employees. Contact us here and we’ll be in touch!

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