Quiet Quitting; How Employers Can Avoid the Unmotivated Employee

Tiffany Tillema

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Office disscussion about plansTiffany Tillema / 4T Studios

Quiet Quitting has been around since the first employer hired the first employee. The official term is work-to-rule when employees work only in their defined hours and designated work role. No overtime, no helping others, and never giving 110%. The Term "Quiet Quitting" was initially used at a Texas A & M symposium in 2009, and afterward, it was used by those in the writing and economy sectors to describe persons that did the job asked and nothing more. The term came back into the spotlight earlier this year when a TikTok post went viral over the subject. Ask an employer, and they may blame the laziness of the newer generations, kids that don't want to work or have no loyalty. Ask the employee, and they blame bad supervisors or employers for pushing them to work extra hours or to do work beyond their job description, causing burnout and exhaustion. Either way, it can be a sore subject for everyone.

So who do we blame? Lazy employees or ruthless, demanding employers? Or could it be something else altogether? Often it is a combination of both and steeped in the company culture. The company culture involves everything and everyone in a particular company. This includes formal things like company rules and regulations, for example, safety protocol, dress codes, and vacation time. It also had informal things such as how employees react to each other and the company's clients. Everything an employer or employee does contribute positively or negatively to the company culture. Although there are a lot of factors that contribute to quiet quitting, there are things employers can control that can slow this trend down or even stop it altogether.

1. Do Not Expect Employees to give more than what you pay them for

Many from the Gen x and Boomer generations were taught to give their employer 110% no matter what it costs them. Their children ( the ones we now employ) saw their parents become stressed-out zombies and unable to connect to the family. They have concluded that they will not push themselves to the detriment of their physical and mental health or neglect their families for employment. When you force your employees to do more, you isolate them, make them feel inadequate, and they will do no more for you than their job requires. They may even come to hate you and the company. Unfortunately, this is not good for either the employer, who could benefit from a little extra help from their staff or the employee, who could benefit from the knowledge and skills obtained by doing something new. When you do not expect them to stay late or demand more than necessary, you will find that they will become more willing to help and give the extra time and energy needed to help when things do come up. Learn to ask rather than demand and praise them when they do more rather than become angry when they need to say no.

2. Do Not micro-manage employees

No one appreciates the micro-manager, much less someone who already has the skills and experience needed for your company. Once someone is trained, there is usually no reason to stand over them or constantly check that they are doing something correctly. Often there are more ways to get a task done than the one you use, and it should be sufficient if an employee can get a job done correctly in the allotted time. Employees don't want to be around micro-managers and do not want to go the extra mile for one. However, if you train employees well and let them do their job, they will likely be happy to work harder for you.

3. Your employees need to see you

No matter how large your company is, your employees need to see you, not just at the company party and not just when something goes wrong. They need to get to know you as someone willing to come to them and speak with them as a person. Some companies are large and multi-state or multi-country, and it may not be feasible to visit every site, even once a year. If this is the case, make sure management can step in and be seen and heard by your employees. It may be once a week or once a month, but they need to know that management has their back and listen to their concerns. Employees that feel seen and heard are more likely to work harder and be happier on the job that those who are primarily ignored by management until something goes wrong.

4. Motivate them

In a perfect world, employees would always go above and beyond, and employers would do the same. Unfortunately, we are not in that ideal world, and getting employees to do more is often problematic and not as effective as we might like. This would be where we would cultivate a company culture where everyone feels motivated. Strong company culture makes sure that everyone involved knows the expected outcomes and follows through with assignments. They should be motivated to help one another reach the shared end goals. Motivate your employees by making your company team-based rather than a traditional hierarchy. Everyone in your company needs to be an active participant motivated to work on projects rather than just be told what to do. Ask those in leadership (Management, supervisors, foremen, etc.), "how can we reach our final objectives?" But don't stop there! Talk to everyone involved! Each employee should feel ownership of the project! Let them tell you their opinions and concerns, and then listen to them! Some of the best ideas come from employees that observe what's going on around them. This changes the employee's attitude from "I have to." to "I want to." You will see their mindset shift from being an employee to an actual company asset! Motivated employees will then go the extra mile for you.

5. Delegate and improve skills

Let your employees fully participate in your company. Let your employees take charge by delegating tasks usually done by yourself or management. Let them take a turn heading a board meeting or talk. You might even let them come up with a subject they think needs addressing and present a discussion on it. Have someone assigned to close in the evening, and let everyone get involved with all the aspects of the projects. Keeping everyone motivated and on board will take effort. You might have to improve your relationship skills. Work on having the confidence not just in yourself but in your team. Show them honesty, respect, and fairness, and you will get employees that give more.

5. incentives

The words incentives or rewards might give the wrong impression because it implies that employees will not participate without some bonus. Don't think of it that way; look at it as tokens of appreciation for a job well done. It will make employees feel appreciated for what they do. They will see that you notice the effort they give, and you, in turn, will get more from the people you show appreciation to. The rewards do not have to be large to be appreciated but consider giving both small rewards frequently and larger ones bi-yearly or yearly. For example, you could slip a note or other small weekly gift in the pay envelope. Every month you might produce a cute sticker or magnet or even a gift card of $10 0r $20. Bi-Yearly (every six months) Have a drawing where everyone that qualifies gets put in the drawing. The drawings can be more than one prize. Give gift certificates, hats, t-shirts, or anything else they might enjoy. Finally, at the end of the year, have an appreciation dinner. At the dinner, you can reward outstanding employees and have a drawing for a big prize such as a TV, computer or an all-expense paid vacation.

These are a few ways a company can avoid quiet quitting employees. Of course, there will always be a few that will only give what they have to to keep a job but using some of these methods will make them few and far between.

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Tiffany Tillema has been writing for the last five years in many capacities. She is a frequent Contributor to Masonry Magazine, The industry leader in all things construction. She also is a guest blogger and and editor.

Winnsboro, TX
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