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Shhhhh!! There’s a New Trend in Town: How to Handle Quiet Quitting

Something’s brewing in the workplace at the moment. It’s employees who are staying with their employer but in reality, have quit their job. It’s called, “Quiet Quitting” and it works like this. You do just enough to stay out of trouble, fly under the radar, and at least on paper keep a job you may hate because of a transactional reward that’s needed in return - like a paycheck or a health insurance package. Still employed? Yes. Doing just enough to keep the job? Yes. Engaged? Oh, heck no! Leaders must embrace the platform that “people are people first and employees second.” Quiet Quitting is proof that if leaders don’t balance the combined weights of each employee’s perspective of the Requirements they must meet, with the Rewards they are getting in return AND the Respect they feel in the process (what I call the 3Rs), then employees will balance that 3R scale for themselves. Your people may stay physically but in reality, have left you in every other way.

Therefore, it is crucial as a people leader to have ongoing conversations with your employees, especially the top talent you want to protect and keep. To determine how to balance the Requirements, Rewards, and Respect for each of them, here are three tips to get started:

  • Learn which of the Requirements are creating the heaviest weight for each of your people. Are there any options that can lighten this weight? For example, is there room for your employee’s input on scheduling or completing more difficult tasks at a time of day when they are most productive?

  • Have each employee describe what a Reward is for them. Do they like public recognition? Prefer to be acknowledged in private? What’s their preferred type of gift card? Favorite snack? Which of their current Rewards carry the greatest value for them? Compensation? Benefits? College tuition? Time off?

  • Sit down with each of your employees and have them define their meaning of ‘Respect’ while working with you as their leader. For one employee that might mean being assured of having five minutes of your time each morning to connect, ask questions, or get feedback. For another that behavior may reek of disrespect and micromanagement, as they define Respect as checking in only as needed and letting them self-direct as much as possible.

There are no short cuts to employee retention. The most efficient route to keeping valued workers is connecting with one individual at a time to monitor the balance of the Requirements, Rewards, and Respect they experience while on the job. Why? Because people will always be people first and our employees second.

Merrylue Martin is the author of The Big Quit Survival Guide. The book describes how to retain your best people, how to wow the best new hires and deal with the challenges of remote and hybrid workers, and gives you access over 30 printable Survival Tactics to immediately act upon!


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