One of the lingering aftereffects of the pandemic has been the phenomenon we know as Quiet Quitting. Quiet Quitters can gut an organization from the inside, instigating major complications with virtually no warning.
Unsurprisingly, employers and managers look upon this unproductive demographic as a problem. As a leader, you should recognize them as untapped talent.
Blame is almost always apportioned outwards. Many leaders are ready to lash out at employees whom they perceive to be Quiet Quitters. Their approach, instead, should be to salvage these vessels of knowledge, experience and ideas who are deliberately underperforming.
Studies show that much of the quitting mentality has its roots in under-recognition at work. Employees who had assumed that their words and positive attitudes would help them succeed give up when they are repeatedly overlooked and underappreciated.
It is one of your most critical responsibilities as a leader to do the opposite. Seek out opinions from the people around you. Try the uncanny approach that was laughed at. Promote the bright-eyed but still-awkward potential leader. Correct previous oversights. Acknowledge past errors.
These actions demonstrate an openness of heart and breadth of understanding that inspires loyalty. They are the antidote to the caustic emotions that create Quiet Quitters.
It’s not all kumbaya, either. Not every employee that is unhappy with the organization deserves to be retained. Some staff can be toxic and infectiously so. Potential Quiet Quitters make easy prey for these folk, and this may lead to a snowballing plague of unhappiness.
Identify such individuals and remove them before they can inflict serious damage on your manpower.
Sometimes, the real issue may be above your pay grade. For example, you may be an open listener and appreciate your team’s suggestions but your organization may lack a channel of escalation to put ideas into practice. In this case, speak to your managers to change the system. It may take some courage but failure to do so may eventually nudge you into the Quiet Quitter column yourself.
Quiet Quitters represent a double loss for the company. They are still paid a salary, receive benefits and a seat at the table but underperform, detracting from the effectiveness of their teams and the organization as a whole.
Rather than the enemy, look at this troubled demographic as the way forward. Don’t wait for a scheduled review to connect with your team – initiate casual contact to uncover simmering issues today. Conduct an anonymous feedback session to learn what employees really think.
Quiet Quitters and potential Quiet Quitters collectively hold the fortunes of your company in their hands. It is up to you, the leader, to pull them back from the brink. Reach out today if you need assistance.