Yes, Quiet Quitting is a Thing!

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Quiet Quitting, according to Gallup, is costing American companies billions in annual revenue. This phenomenon is leaving a significant footprint on corporate bottom lines across the country. So, what are companies doing to prevent quiet quitting?

At Acquire Talent, we work closely with our clients to help find candidates who can contribute to your team and culture. Part of the hiring process is identifying red flags that could contribute to a candidate becoming a quiet quitter, btu there are things you can bring to your corporate culture to help as well.

The (Not So) New Phenomena

What exactly is quiet quitting? According to Forbes, the hallmarks of quiet quitting include: disengagement from team members, coworkers, and in meetings, getting by on the bare minimum, and minimizing workload at the expense of their team. The reality is, none of this is new or even a phenomenon. Quiet quitting has always been a part of the workaday world. What is unique is the impact this is having on companies, but we have seen this manifest in other buzzwords such as coasting, slacking, or getting by. The challenge becomes, how do we prevent this from impacting our company and corporate culture?

How to Avoid Hiring and Cultivating Quiet Quitters

The first place you can address quiet quitting is in the hiring process. If you can identify red flags in potential candidates, you can eliminate some of the problems brought about by quiet quitting before they have a chance to start. Here are a few tips to identify signs in or before an interview:

Work History – do your due diligence and make sure that a candidate’s reason for leaving matches with their previous employer’s reason. If there is a history of poor performance reports or friction with their team, these could indicate the potential for quiet quitting. But don’t be too hasty – their former employer’s corporate culture could have been the cause of many, if not all, of these issues. Don’t let this be the deciding factor but use it as a helpful guide.

Ask Key Questions – how someone handles adversity or a recent and challenging experience at their old job, might be an indicator of how a candidate might respond to challenges in your company. Again, this is not black and white, but taken in context, it can indicate some tendencies.

Framing – does a candidate speak poorly of their former team? Pay attention to how they frame fault and blame. Is a candidate willing to take responsibility for a failure, or is it always someone else’s fault? Speaking poorly of your former employer and your team (even if true) can be an indicator of someone who avoids responsibility or only wants to take on what they perceive to be “their fair share.”

Again, don’t let the interview process deter you from a strong candidate because you think they might have the potential to turn into a quiet quitter. Remember, part of this phenomenon has to do with company culture.

Workplace Culture

Some corporate cultures are a breeding ground for quiet quitting. They devalue and disengage employees, making it difficult for people to want to invest their valuable time and effort in a company that doesn’t seem to respect them. Here are a few ways you can build engagement with your employees and minimize quiet quitting:

Communicate Clear Expectations – expecting people to do more than what you hired them for can be a frustrating experience. We often have unspoken and uncommunicated expectations around this, but the solution is simple: include non-regular expectations in the job description and value (more than a thank you) when people go above and beyond their job description.

Create an Engaging Culture – this is easier said than done but creating a culture that humanizes work and shows concern for employees beyond the work environment is a good starting point. There are no quick fixes for this process but desiring your employees’ success at work and in their personal lives is a great place to start and build from.

Cultivate Opportunities – nothing disengages an employee more than feeling like they are in a dead-end position. Creating opportunities for personal and professional growth (beyond a COLA raise) can help prevent quiet quitting from even crossing someone’s mind.

Check In – don’t just wait for a scheduled review, take time to connect with employees throughout the month. Maybe you noticed that someone has been less engaged during team meetings, touch base with them and ask for their opinion privately – if they have a good thought, encourage them to share or prompt them to share during the next meeting.

This is not the comprehensive playbook for preventing quiet quitting. Even if you take each step listed above, you may still have to address the situation, but how do you spot a quiet quitter?

Spotting a Quiet Quitter

We have briefly touched on some of the signs of quiet quitting, so what can you do to identify and address the problem?

Disengagement – this can take many forms but look for signs of avoiding collaboration and connection with the team. This could include avoiding office socializing for isolation or trying to turn every meeting into an email.

Stops Contributing to Meetings – don’t expect everyone to contribute during every meeting (you’d probably run well over the allotted time if that were the case) but if someone is consistently a non-participant, it might be a tell-tale sign of quiet quitting, especially if they are directly asked to contribute and have nothing to add.

The Bare Minimum – yes, everyone is hired to do a specific job, but there are times when a project requires a team of people to step up and step outside of the small box that is their job description. It’s one thing if an employee is constantly pushed to do so, and another if they are never willing to consider saying yes to a specific project. Also, if word around the office is that everyone else is picking up slack because of someone’s performance dipping – you may have to check-in to see how consistently this is happening.

If you do end up finding employees who have entered the quiet quitting stage, working towards a resolution should be the first option. See what you can do to find an amenable way forward.

Acquire Talent Can Help

At Acquire, we value knowing our clients and their needs. Through our intentional and relationally driven hiring practices, Acquire Talent can help you identify candidates for open positions who will fit your corporate culture, and help you minimize the risk of quite quitting.

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