A “quiet quitter” isn't a flight risk, and they're going to stick around for as long as you let them!
They're not working hard, and a lot of them work remotely. They're getting a paycheck and other perks, too. And a lot of them have a side-hustle going. Why would they leave? Especially in a recession!
They see the layoffs happening. They see the hiring freezes. They know offers are drying up and the great resignation is over. They've decided to settle in, and ride out the recession by doing just enough to get by, and that's why they're not a flight risk!
Here's a key point: the work environment you create enables someone to be a "quiet quitter".
- Modest expectations allow people to coast;
- Limited supervision allows them to fly under the radar;
- Limited feedback makes them feel invisible;
- And if they're never held accountable, they get comfortable!
The fact is, they haven’t quietly quit on the company; they’ve quietly quit on you! And the only person that can change the work environment is you!
Now, they didn't disengage overnight, and you're not going to change this overnight, either. Quiet quitters slowly disengage because they're testing the waters. You can help them re-engage by slowly and methodically changing their work environment.
You can't wave a wand and change six months of progressive disengagement. You've got to help them find their way back to self-motivation, and that's going to take some time.
- Raise your expectations a little, but not too much. You want the additional effort that they're considering to feel manageable.
- Then up your engagement a little. Help them set some short-term goals and make them achievable. You don't want them to feel micro-managed, but you want them to know that they're now on your radar.
- Then give immediate feedback and provide as much positive reinforcement as possible. You want them to feel a little success, but you also want them to feel more accountable.
- Then give them another nudge. Raise the bar a little higher, but encourage them to play to their strengths. People like to do things they're good at because it feels good.
- And set positive expectations because those positive expectations build confidence and motivation.
- Then keep giving more positive feedback and reinforcement. One way to do this is by offering a little autonomy. It’s a good way of rewarding their re-engagement, and it gives them a positive sense of agency.
Now they're being noticed, and the accountability feels good! The autonomy gives them a sense of control, and people need that!
This is the pathway to helping people find self-motivation.
Quiet quitters have decided that “effort” is something to be avoided. But now you're showing them that their “discretionary effort” can be very rewarding. This is a subtle way to push people outside of their comfort zone.
Three key points.
- Behavior change takes time.
- People need a reason to change, and
- People are a product of their environment.
So take control of the environment, give them reasons to change, and invest the time to get your quiet quitters back on track.