Making its way into Collins Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ list for 2022, ‘quiet quitting’ refers to an employee actively deciding to do the bare minimum within their role and no longer going above and beyond with tasks not directly related to their job role. Gallup’s global workplace report for 2022 showed that only 9% of workers in the UK were engaged or enthusiastic about their work, ranking 33rd out of 38 European countries.
2023 has since seen this workplace trend being joined by its polar-opposite cousin ‘loud quitting’. This is the negotiation tactic employees are now adopting which involves making their boss very aware that they are unsatisfied in their job role and are actively looking for a new job – with the hope that they respond with promises of a more fulfilling job role within the company and a payrise.
With these trends highlighting a serious issue of how employees truly feel about their job role and how much of these feelings they choose to reveal to their boss, leadership, cultural transformation and performance intervention specialists FirstHuman are offering advice to senior leaders on how to encourage communication that truly engages with employees.
Oddi Aasheim, Performance Intervention Partner at FirstHuman said: “The rise of quiet and loud quitting within the workplace has mostly been discussed from the point of view of the employee, but it puts the spotlight on senior leaders and how well, if at all, they are connected to what really matters to their employees.
“Whilst there can be a number of factors in the workplace which accumulate to job dissatisfaction, senior leaders can consider the following to open up communication with their employees.”
For anyone to be engaged and motivated by what they do, it must be linked to something that matters to them, something that is important in their life. It may be about professional aspirations, community and connection to others, growth as a leader or financial security for the family. The key for any leader to unlock drive and motivation in the workplace is to engage with their people and show a genuine interest in what matters to them. Then find the connection between this and the job that they do.
Oddi said: “Coming to work and seeing how your job directly contributes to your goal is a powerful motivator.”
Open your office door, make your email and number known, do walk-abouts and have town halls. Ask in your team meetings what your direct reports have learnt about what is important to their people to set the expectation that this is something that is expected of them to engage in. Demonstrating to employees that you are genuinely interested in listening to them and make time for this will have an immediate impact. One of the main drivers of dissatisfaction in the workplace is ‘not being listened to’.
Once the leadership has opened their doors and taken a genuine interest in listening to what their employees find important, a safe space has been created that will vastly improve communication, allow creativity to flow, increase transparency, and build trust between employees and management.
Being a leader and allowing yourself to bring your authentic self to work has benefits at work no matter what your role is, but for senior leaders it is an effective way of nurturing open communication between management and employees. Making authentic connections that truly mean something deeper to employees will allow them to feel completely comfortable expressing any concerns or bringing new ideas to the table.
Impartiality is a learned skill as we all have biases based on environments and previous situations. Because of this, it’s vital that senior leaders notice their strongly held opinions and biases by actively self-reflecting on their leadership. Being able to spot when these cloud our listening and how we see things, and being willing to put them aside is a critical element of authentic and impartial leadership.
Finally, “Good leadership takes a holistic approach to ensure employees feel part of the bigger picture and not just a pawn employed to do a job, Oddi added, “as this plays a big part in employees feeling valued and respected. By senior leaders recognising that their employees have aspirations for their future self and career as a whole, deepening the communication means they can be supported and nurtured and a Potent Environment can be created where extraordinary results are possible.”