The Covid-19 pandemic changed the workforce as we know it. What started with widespread job loss in 2020 gave way to a high number of people leaving their jobs in 2021 due to pressure on workers and parents, leading to what we call the Great Resignation.A Pew Research Center survey found that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work were the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year.
Now, a new labor narrative has taken the workplace by storm called “quiet quitting.” According to Gallup, quiet quitting means "people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description."This trend is starting to alarm executives and HR professionals who are concerned about employee engagement in the face of a recession. While employees want to save their jobs in the recession that doesn't mean they're going to go above and beyond, especially in a recession because they are being asked to do more with less. The question is, how do we navigate through this in a way that works for everyone?
Companies have heavily invested in employees’ physical, emotional and mental well-being, but if you want employees to thrive and reach their potential you must consider their whole well-being, which includes their workplace. Work well-being is making sure that you are taking care of your employees at work and checking in with them on their needs.
One of the best things HR professionals can do is communicate with senior-level leadership on a plan to invest in their employees’ work well-being and research the tools available to begin this process. Organisations can hear the heartbeat of their company with surveys, polls and quizzes focused on employee care.
We can no longer dismiss the important interrelationship between employees’ well-being and their ability to make the kind of impact and connection to your company that only they can. Simply put, when your people thrive, you thrive. Employees don’t want to feel that their sole purpose for being at work is just to show up to meetings and “get things done;” they need to see that they are cared for physically, emotionally, mentally and even financially. The only way to achieve this is to think about work well-being in a more immersive sense.
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries
One of the essential points being focused on during this quiet quitting movement is the need to set boundaries on extra work that requires you to work after hours, on weekends or during vacation. In the current economic climate, employees are dealing with low wages, skyrocketing inflation and staff shortages caused by burnout; the last thing they need is more work.
Managers are the most important element of employee engagement at your company. This is the moment for them to build rapport with their team. Companies can aim to empower peers, managers and leaders with the tools and resources they need to care for themselves and each other.
Employees get to set boundaries that protect them from becoming stressed out and unproductive. Through clear communication, employees can share what hours they are available, check in with teammates to gauge levels of stress and schedule times to tend to their mental health; whatever the activity, the power is in the employee's hands.
Everyone needs a break from the monotony of work. That’s what your PTO is for, but employees aren’t using it. In fact, in 2020, Americans left an average of 33% of paid time off days unused, according to findings from the U.S. Travel Association. There could be numerous reasons why employees are reluctant to use PTO but in order to decrease stress and burnout, employees should prioritise themselves first. Read your company’s PTO policies and talk to your manager about taking that much-needed vacation. As managers, be cognisant of your employees' behavior and changes in mood and encourage them to take time off.
Ultimately, quiet quitting is a response to the question, “How are you showing your employees you care?” Employees want to feel supported daily and feel like their company is invested in their well-being. People are quitting their jobs—mentally and physically. Employees expect more than a paycheck from their company, and they crave an experience that values them as whole people.
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Dr. Patti is the best selling author of Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break The Mold, a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Digitalist, and Linked In Pulse, and frequent guest on TV and radio as the go-to source on gender in the workplace and the future of work. She is an award-winning business strategist and has led global initiatives to disengage people from the status quo and adopt real change. Dr. Patti has consulted with large organisations to establish effective gender equity programs and also coach women poised to become chief executives or board members. She proactively serves on mission-aligned non-profit boards and invest in women-led enterprises. For more information, please click here.
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