Quiet Quitting – the good, bad and what to do about it

Erika Heer, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coastal Community Bank

Erika Heer, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coastal Community Bank

Mid-summer, the term ‘quiet quitting’ became a part of the vocabulary of many companies and employees. Sparked by a social media post, the term has grown in popularity and has many definitions.

Erika Heer, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer for Coastal Community Bank, explained that although it’s a new trending term, it is not a new concept. “It’s nothing new, but it is more prevalent recently with the job market that’s currently led by employees and the rise of remote work,” she said. “There are different definitions of what it means depending on whom you ask.

“For an employee who has been working too much and feeling burnt out, quiet quitting could mean that the employee starts setting boundaries while doing what their job is, and nothing more or above and beyond that, and working only their contracted hours, which is a positive thing,” she said “For employers, it could mean that employees are not engaged, may not be on the right seat of the bus, and may find more fulfillment in another role that aligns more with their interests. It could also mean that managers are not supporting or providing growth opportunities or an environment where their team members feel valued, making them feel disconnected and less engaged,” Heer said.

The concept of quiet quitting could negatively impact employees, their coworkers, and their companies, Heer explained. “Anytime an employee silences their voice in an organization, they deprive themselves and the company of the opportunity to change. Also, the step back could cause strain in teams where other employees may have to pick up the work a quiet quitter is no longer doing. Additionally, it could cause confusion and negative feelings due to generational differences in the workplace.”

While it can be negative, it can also be positive. “The trend has helped some employees and employers ask for and provide better work-life balance, prioritize mental health, prevent burnout, and provide boundaries,” Heer explained.

“For businesses that are concerned about employees quiet quitting, there are things they can do to help employees avoid quite quitting, however they define it,” she said.

Connect with Employees

  • Regularly check in with employees and ask them if they are engaged, interested in their work, and feel connected to their team.
  • Remote teams may want to do a daily team check-in to connect and start the day together. In-person teams may be different and not need the daily scheduled check-in.
  • Managers should have regularly scheduled check-in meetings with team members, sometimes weekly.
  • An employee engagement survey can tell you how your workforce feels and help provide actionable steps if areas need attention.

Support Work-Life Balance

  • Managers should regularly ask employees about their work-life balance. Do they need more flexibility or support, and are they burning out?
  • Managers should know if their teams are overworked or need help because they ask and have good working relationships. For example, if a team member doesn’t use sick time when they are sick or is not using their vacation time and leaving vacation time on the table, those are also good signs they may have too much work that they can’t take time off, or that something else is going on that they need support.
  • Look for silent clues. Did the employee change the hours or frequency of their email or chat responses?
  • Does the employee still engage in meetings and interact with co-workers?

Provide Career Pathing

  • Organizations should provide career pathing and career development.
  • Employees tend to stay at an organization if they have growth opportunities in skills or advancement and are more likely to leave if those elements are missing.
  • Provide training for managers on managing employees effectively, developing relationships, and setting expectations, especially across generations and geographically, because needs and expectations are often different.

“The good news is that if you are already doing all the right things, you likely aren’t as concerned with quiet quitting and may attract some of those quiet quitters from other organizations,” Heer said. “If you are experiencing quiet quitting, your organization can make some changes and lessen the impact.”

Erika Heer is EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coastal Community Bank. For more help or resources, visit the People and Hiring section of the Local Business Portal https://www.coastalbank.com/local

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