64% of People May Be “Quiet Quitting.” What Can Leaders Do to Engage their Teams?

As a leader, you can have a profound impact when it comes to re-engaging and retaining your talent. Learn how to recognise and address quiet quitting.
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Managers know that an unengaged employee may be looking for an exit, but a viral trend is giving them another reason to have a concern about team members being unengaged at work. The online world has coined the term “quiet quitting” to describe an employee simply going through the motions at work. 

They meet their job description but don’t collaborate, lack the motivation to go above and beyond, and are ultimately “checked out” from their job. 

Quiet quitting lowers team morale, limits productivity, and creates an unmotivating work environment. And with 64 percent of workers being unengaged at work, there may be more quiet quitters than we think.

As a leader and manager, you can set standards that keep quiet quitting from creeping into your workplace. By making these changes to how you manage your team, you’ll create a work environment where employees feel valued, encouraged, and ready to contribute.

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5 Ways to Better Engage Your Team and Prevent Quiet Quitting

  1. Recognize and uplift ambition.

We, as a society, have an ambition problem. That’s not to say our society lacks ambition. Instead, we have a problem with recognizing and understanding it. We often view ambition as quantifiable. Some people have too much of it. Others have too little of it. And in both cases, we let that negative belief impact how we treat our employees.

The simple definition of ambition is the desire and determination to work toward your goals. But we add additional meanings to the word when deciding whether someone has too much or too little.

For example, we deem someone with too much as aggressive and a potential liability, while we claim that someone with too little is lazy. These negative connotations of ambition lead us to punish our team members for either displaying it or not demonstrating it in a way we deem acceptable.

But an ambitious person should be treated as an asset to the company. Someone who sets goals for themselves and follows through can help the business grow.

It’s also essential to understand that career ambition is equally vital as personal ambition. The team member who makes time to maintain a healthy lifestyle isn’t unambitious because they schedule an hour of the day to be at the gym. 

Instead, they’re trying to better themselves, which will reflect in their work.

  1. Resist the urge to micromanage.

For three out of four employees, dealing with their boss is the most stressful part of their job. And high stress is a significant reason why someone may turn to quiet quitting or begin to look for work elsewhere. However, you can reduce your employees’ stress by limiting your micromanaging tendencies.

Micromanaging is too common. While it’s a stressing-inducing habit, it also reduces employee mental health and workplace productivity while triggering burnout throughout your team.

If your team members spend as much time on their projects as telling you about where they are in said projects, you’re causing a bottleneck, disrupting their workflow, and crushing their motivation. 

To prevent micromanaging, you need to look inward. Micromanaging happens because employers believe they’re the only people who can make important decisions.

As a result, these leaders focus on minor details rather than the bigger picture. They think they must ensure their team follows their instructions completely rather than making unapproved decisions. 

To stop micromanaging, you need to let go and begin to trust your team. 

  1. Create a stable line of communication with your team members.

Too many meetings may signify micromanaging, but you don’t want to go in the other direction entirely and cut out all communication with your team members.

Micromanaging may cause burnout, but another path to burnout is an employee working without clear expectations or guidance. If you go weeks without checking in with your employee, you may not know how much they are struggling until it’s too late.

One recommendation to alleviate this concern is setting up a standard, low-pressure meeting. One-on-ones remove pressure on employees who are too intimidated to raise their concerns in front of their peers.

If you’re in an office, you can take a walk with them or grab a cup of coffee to take them out of their work environment and give them a chance to take a breather with you. 

This meeting should be a time to get to know your employee and engage with them on a more personal level. Try to learn more about them and let them learn about you.

If you show yourself as an approachable, understandable leader, your team members will likely come to you when they struggle at work. And the sooner you learn about those struggles, the more time you have to help them work through the issues before they snowball and become more prominent and unmanageable.

  1. Offer incentives beyond your employee’s salary.

Engaging your employee means investing in their future. While a high-paying salary might make an employee consider working with your company, they’ll expect your offerings to increase the longer they continue working there. While raising that salary over time is one way to demonstrate you appreciate their work and dedication, there are more ways to give incentives to stay engaged.

One method is giving your employees stock options, but as the financial world is ever-changing, the monetary incentives you provide for your team members should also grow and change.

Show that you care about your employees’ future by offering them ways to diversify their portfolios through alternative assets. By bringing in a financial advisor and providing financial planning as a benefit, you’re showing your team members that you want to help them invest in their future, which may encourage them to envision their future on your team. 

  1. Show your team members how valuable they are.

Annual performance reviews get a bad reputation. We often treat them as just another box to check at the end of the year or a way to help determine someone’s annual raise.

However, when used correctly, a performance review can help reengage an employee. While these reviews should address what a team member can do better in the new year, they should also show them how much value they’ve created in the past year. 

Employees who believe their work is unappreciated and meaningless will likely go on a path to quiet quitting. We spend a third of our lives working.

It’s unmotivating to believe we’re wasting that time on meaningless projects. When you create a performance review, put in the effort to celebrate your team member’s accomplishments. A valued employee is a more engaged employee.

With more than half the workforce quietly quitting, it’s up to managers to re-engage their teams. Team leaders should look inward and consider what changes they can make to create a better work environment.

Communication is crucial to keep employees engaged, but it’s essential not to turn communicating into micromanaging.

An employee wants to feel trusted, valued, and appreciated. 

Show your team you want to invest in them, and they’ll, in kind, want to support their time, efforts, and goals in your company’s future.

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