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S1 E5 Quiet quitters and the concept of workplace happiness

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

S1 E5 Quiet quitters and the concept of workplace happiness

It is important for organizations to focus on creating a positive and supportive work environment in order to prevent employees from becoming quiet quitters. Quiet quitting refers to the phenomenon of employees quietly leaving their jobs without telling their coworkers or managers. This can be a major problem for organizations because it can lead to a high employee turnover rate, which can be costly and disruptive.

To address this issue, Melissa suggests that managers try to create a culture where employees feel appreciated and motivated. This can involve regularly acknowledging and praising employee contributions, engaging in open and honest communication, and offering competitive pay and benefits. Managers should also try to be aware of the expectations and needs of employees in terms of work-life balance and try to accommodate these as much as possible.

If an employee is unwilling to put in the effort required for their job, it may be necessary for the company to part ways with that employee. However, it is important for management to try to understand the underlying reasons for an employee's lack of effort and address any issues that may be causing unhappiness or dissatisfaction at work. This could involve improving working conditions, offering additional support or training, or adjusting the rewards system to be more in line with current market conditions.

Overall, it is important for management to focus on building a positive work culture, engaging in open and honest communication with employees, and being aware of the expectations and needs of employees in order to prevent quiet quitting and improve workplace happiness.


00:08 Today's podcast is brought to you by Concierge Elite. Every employee, every workday, makes a decision. Are they willing to do the minimum work necessary to keep their job? Or are they willing to put more energy and effort into their work? Hi, I'm Melissa Brown, and I'm your podcast host. In the last episode, we began a conversation about quiet quitters. Those are people that reject the idea that the work that they should do or that they're doing is the central focus of their life. They resist the expectation of giving their all or putting in extra hours. They say no to requests that go beyond what they think should be expected of that position. Now, with such a huge and massive response to that episode, I wanted to ensure that we continued the conversation this week. In reality, quiet quitting is the new name for an old behavior.

01:08 What differentiates people who view work as a daily prison? That nine to five grind that we hear so much about and those people who find meaning and purpose to their work? We're talking about two different kinds of people. See, quiet quitting seems to be less about the employee's willingness to work harder and more about the manager's ability to build relationships with their employees. So let's get into it. Let's talk about this. About 30 years ago, the concept of workplace happiness was really nonexistent. Employers expected you to be grateful for the opportunity that you had when you had a job and you were expected to go the extra mile to get ahead. This meant coming in early, staying late, and really showing that commitment. Workers would be complete if they did that, they would be complacent if they didn't. Really, the last person to leave the office in the evening, that was your star employee.

02:10 Of course, there was really no expectation of receiving overtime for these extra hours or extra pay or being compensated for that extra work that you put in. See, many management styles would not be acceptable in today's work environment. So, for example, managers were often encouraged to fire people when taking on a new position to show the team who was boss, even if it wasn't warranted. It was also acceptable in many of the companies to yell and berate employees for poor work, both privately and in front of peers because that was tough love. See, there was a concept, but the concept now today of what we're hearing is quiet quitting. Yeah, it was much less appealing. Another management ploy was to pit workers against each other to compete for one promotion. Can anyone remember that? I definitely can. Hopefully you were smart enough to recognize the competition that you were actually against was yourself.

03:14 Those who you were actually pitted up against, you had to battle accordingly. See, workers were encouraged to pick up the pen, take on a new assignment, even though it was out of their job description and that then showed their boss their true commitment and their desire for the position. Ultimately, if you didn't get all the hype, if you didn't play that game, you were a dead man walking. Many people at some point in their career have worked for that kind of manager. That kind of manager moved them towards maybe quiet quitting. It comes from the feeling of being undervalued and underappreciated. It's possible that managers maybe were biased or encouraged in this kind of inappropriate behavior, but it's also possible that employees lacked motivation, and this was a reaction to the managers and how they were treated. Most mid career employees have worked for a leader who had strong desire, a strong desire to do everything possible to accomplish goals and objectives, right?

04:24 Occasionally working late, starting early. Of course, it wasn't retaliated because the manager, or that they weren't inspired to continue working like that, or that work life balance or their family got in the way, or their family was the priority. Right? I think one of the questions that came up last time in our last podcast with Laura was really, how do you manage a quiet quitter? If you're in that position now and you're a leader and you feel like you've got people who are quietly quitting every day and you want to take care of that, right? You want to make sure that you're creating an environment that people want to be in, that they love to be in. You don't want quiet quitters. Right. You recognize that this is a thing and that this is definitely something that's going on. The more we talk about it, the more you acknowledge it.

05:16 Matter of fact, I was talking to somebody the other day, and they were saying to me, you were telling me about this quiet quitting, and I'd never heard of it and I'd never seen it. All of a sudden, I recognized it. Her name was Sylvia, and she recognized that quiet quitting was happening around her. She just didn't know the name of it. If you're a manager, if you're an owner, if you're a doctor, whoever's listening, and all of a sudden you're starting to realize this quiet quitting is happening around you. How do you manage that? I know Laura gave us some good ideas, but I want to give you some more. Suppose you have multiple employees, and you really believe that's what's happening in your practice right now, and they're quietly quitting. In that case, an excellent question is there a problem with my direct reports or is this problem with me and my leadership abilities?

06:09 I know Laura brought that up and said, listen, we've got to look at ourselves. We have to take a moment to say, am I creating an environment that's challenging them to quit, that's wanting them to potentially leave this job or do at least the least amount possible. Now suppose that you're confident in your leadership abilities and only one of your direct reports is unmotivated. In that case, it might not be your fault. This might be that 1%, right. Either way, I want you to take a hard look at your approach towards getting results with your team members. When you're asking your direct reports for increased productivity, do you go out of your way to ensure that your team members feel valued? Open and honest dialogue with colleagues about what they're doing, what their expectations are, what your expectations are. What they want to get out of the job.

07:05 This goes a long way. Again, this is just expounding on what we talked about last week, about are you having open communication, open and honest communication with your employees? Are you asking them what they want out of the job? What motivates them? I know we said a tip last week was that maybe they would be motivated by potentially just getting off an hour early. What would make my life so much better is if I could be off by four. I can go pick up my kids from school and not work to five. That means I can get home and I can cook dinner or whatever that looks like for them and their family and their work life balance. Or maybe they're single, they don't have a family. Getting off by four means that they can then go out with their friends. Maybe it's having every other Saturday off so that they feel like they can have a work life balance that they don't currently have.

08:03 Opening up that line of communication is huge. It's a huge step in making sure that your people, your valuable people, are not quietly quitting on you. I'm going to also give you ten more tips for managing quiet quitters. So let's get into those. Okay, so here's the first one. Now, this one might be difficult. I get it. If you are open Sunday, this 1 may not apply to you, but I want you to think about it in the way that it could apply. And that is no Sunday emails. Yes, I know I myself am a victim of doing this. I have sent a Sunday email when I'm not working. That's right. So we are trying to get ahead. We're trying to think through what tomorrow brings for Monday. You're firing off emails on Sunday because you got to get it out of your head. Right.

08:54 When we're talking about to our employees who are not on the same page with us, who are not building a business with us, who are not in that frame of mind, so they haven't invested that what we're doing is we're eliciting anxiety and stress and resentment. It's better just to wait till Monday, write those things down, get ready, or even make the email and time it for Monday morning. If that makes you feel better. Again, let's value our employees who have their days off. The next one is no weekend work. Unless the matter is so urgent, which it rarely is, don't task your employees with a job over the weekend unless that is their regular work schedule. Okay? We're talking that they already work Saturdays and Sundays, things like that. Let's not employ them on the days that they don't work to think about work.

09:50 How about number three? Cut down on the number of meetings and their length. So meetings should be work sessions. They should be about strategy, that thing. Think about the meetings that you have. How are they structured? Are we just having lengthy conversations about nothing? Every one of your employees supposed to be there? Is it mandatory that everybody is there? You spend all the time talking about a topic that really could be a one one conversation with one employee or with HR, or with your technical director or your practice manager? Are you making everybody sit through a meeting that could be a one one? What kind of meetings are you having? Are they too long? Do they involve people that they don't need to be involved in? Maybe start with the premise right now. If that's something that's happening with you, that no meeting goes over 30 minutes and then start there.

10:49 If you're someone like our company that has multiple meetings and we have a meeting every day, we give our 1%. It's the one thing that we're doing for the day. The 1% the top thing. We live and abide by that 1% rule. That should be a 15 minutes meeting at the most. We open it up, everybody goes around, they give their 1%. It's quick, we fire it off. Everybody knows what each other is doing. If we have any feedback on that, we can give that and everybody else can pop off. So, collaboration tools. We got to be careful because now we're in a day and an age that things are remote, right? The collaboration tools can be something that slows the process down. When we're talking about communication in those quiet quitters, we do need to make sure that if we are in a remote sense, that we are communicating.

11:38 Now, if you're in the office and you're already communicating already, do you need those other tools in addition to what you're doing? Are you Imming somebody from the office over constantly, which is distracting them from the job, which is pulling them away? Are you micromanaging using texting or Im or Slack or any of those other tools? Look, the way that you're using them and seeing if it's actually causing animosity so how about limit workplace fun activities? Okay, sure, I totally get it. There's got to be some balance here, right? We've got to have fun. We've also got to have work, but a lot of people may not find that to be fun. Okay, so here's an example. I heard of a practice recently that said, hey, let's do a happy hour. What if the other employees didn't want to do happy hour? They just wanted to go be with their family.

12:40 Are you making that fun time mandatory, which is then making it not fun? I am all about making sure that we are doing things and we are creating a great atmosphere and culture. Don't get me wrong here, but what we are talking about is correcting a culture of quiet quitters and again, having that conversation and finding out why they're unhappy. Why are they wanting to quit? If it's because they really wanted to get off at four, but you're keeping them to five to have a happy hour, and they really want to be home with their family or they want to be out doing something with their friends, then is that happy hour really happy? How about just giving them the hour of time back and allowing those who want to participate and find that to be fun and exciting and engaging, allowing them to do that?

13:29 Here's a big one. Give praise. It's free. We talked about in the beginning that a lot of times what we're finding is that these quiet quitters feel unappreciated, that they don't feel heard. That's really it, guys, is that your employees want to know that they're appreciated. I don't need a whole podcast on this one. I think we know that. Sometimes we got to be reminded, right? We got to be reminded that your right hand man is appreciated. We got to remember that the person who's dealing with the angry customers all day, they're appreciated. We got to remember that the person who's cleaning kennels or who's doing the clean up at the end of the night when everybody else is getting ready to leave, they are appreciated and valued and respected. That they're part of the process, that without them, our job gets much harder. The current job market means that you cannot tell an employee to like it or leave it.

14:35 We can't do that anymore. We have to make sure that they know that they're valued, that they're appreciated, and their work, their position means your work life balance too. You've got to remember that, right? It ultimately travels up or travels down. Whether you're on the upside down triangle or do the right side up triangle, it doesn't matter. It flows up and it flows down. It just takes some effort. Okay. Pay more money. Yes, this is an option. We've talked about this, and there's other podcasts that we are having and that we've had that we've talked about it in the past that it costs more money to have an employee nowadays. It's not free. And it might be worth it. If you have one of those employees that we talk about, one of those employees that you wish you could duplicate over and over again, that might be the employee that you need to give a raise or you need to give a bonus to.

15:36 You need to do it more freely than what you feel like you might could do. Those annual reviews that 3% quote unquote, cost of living raise, that is a thing of the past. If that's what you're counting on to keep your employees, it is a thing of the past. Everybody knows cost of living is more than 3%. If the employee is waiting around for their 3% raise when their utilities and their groceries and everything have gone up ten, we are solely missing the mark. Workers are far more on the side of quitting. Being a quiet quitter. If they feel like they're not valued, if they feel like they're not appreciated and it's not monetarily paying the bills, we got to think about it. They are far less likely to quit if they seek financial rewards for their efforts. Think about the programs that you're putting into place.

16:39 Think about the rewards process. Think about what you're paying into them. Do they see the financial rewards? If they don't, the only one that's benefiting is you. You will have quiet quitters. Sorry to be the Debbie donor here, but money talks. In this day and age, when we have got the struggles that we have in the economy, we can't afford to have quiet quitters because all they wanted was a dollar raise. Let's think about it. The last thing we really can do, right is fire the quiet quitters. Maybe the employee is just not happy. Maybe they're just not doing the work that you expect of them. You've had the conversations with them. You've tried, you've tried to increase the morale. You've tried to give that extra hour. You've tried to give the incentive. Or maybe you feel like, listen, they're not even giving the minimum effort.

17:35 That's a different conversation. Maybe in that case, it is time to part ways. Listen, if someone's spreading negativity disharmony through the team, that quiet quitting can affect the rest of the team. It can spread like wildfire. It can be toxic. They don't want to give 100%. They don't want to even give 90. Listen, guys, you've got to look at that. You have looked through all of these tips. You have listened to this podcast. You have said, listen, I do have quiet quitters on my hand, but they don't fit into these boxes. They are just unwilling to work. Hey, maybe that's it. And there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with saying, hey, we've got to part ways, okay? You can't spread your negativity because it will affect everybody. If you have one of those, it might be time to part ways, and that's okay.

18:36 You have to count that cost. You have to look at how you can find some other workers. Maybe it's a remote worker, maybe it's somebody to temporarily fill the spot. Or maybe you incentivize everybody else on the team to pick up some extra for a small time being and then you increase the wage and maybe ultimately you've changed the culture. So hopefully those tips have helped. Hopefully those are some that you can look at and say, oh yeah, absolutely, I can do these things, I can make these small changes. What's tomorrow's workplace really going to look like? I think we can try to predict what the future is going to look like, what the future of productivity, remote work and the gig economy is going to bring. I think that we have some ideas. We talked about also in the last podcast, that the gig economy is increasing and people have lots of options.

19:35 It's no longer where our people are stuck in one type of industry. They're finding out that all of a sudden they've got lots of options and that their customer service experience, let's just say, can transfer to other industries. We are in a serious crisis here. Regardless, as employers and managers, we have to evolve. We have to continue to move the needle, especially now with the new and current generation, this generation of workers, they have different ideas about financial rewards, equality, inclusion, lifestyle and work life balance. We have to understand that the generation that we talked about in the beginning, that 30 years ago, those ideals are not the ideals of the generation now. So we have to evolve. Your HR mindset has to evolve. I get it, I get you're not HR, but you are an employer, which makes you HR. You might be a practice owner or a practice manager.

20:50 You have to think about these things. The generation now has changed and we have to begin to evolve around that. We have to understand that. The fact remains that the rewards system for hard work and effort, that it's still going to be there. Because at the end of the day, we all have to pay bills. That money is a driving factor. There is no denying that higher paying jobs are harder to get. They're scarce. The lower level jobs are really where people are going and what people can get easily. That's where the quiet quitting is happening. So where do you rank? Are you in the lower level jobs? Do you pay that lower level fee where the turnover is going to be high because there's a lot of quiet quitters? Or are you in the higher bracket where people value that they are truly getting paid for what they're doing?

21:56 There's also no disputing the American dream and that's not getting any less expensive. It's easy to place the blame for quiet quitting on lazy or unmotivated workers. But I have to tell you. The research is telling us to look within, to look at ourselves as leaders, and to recognize that people still want to work. They still want to give their energy, their creativity, their time and their enthusiasm to an organization and to leaders that deserve make sure to subscribe and like our podcast. If you'd like more information on today's topic or any other product or service featured on this, make sure to drop us a line and say hi or visit anytime. Melissa b