Prevent Quiet Quitting With Upfront Questions

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A few things we have learned about quiet quitting over the last several years: it isn’t quitting, nor is it quiet. Professional disengagement can involve both silent cognitive separation, as well as physical presence under protest. Understanding and being able to recognize the signs of quiet quitting will enable managers to attract talent and prevent turnover, and take steps to ensure that employees with a bright future don’t burn out. But so will learning how to attract and retain the right kind of disposition in the first place.

Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

Source: Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

Recognizing the Value of Reciprocity

“Quiet quitting” is a buzzword often used to describe employees who have become professionally disengaged, showing up at work yet only “meeting expectations” as opposed to going over and above their job responsibilities. But many disengaged employees explain their detachment is not related to their job responsibilities, but the lack of recognition. Researchers have identified the value of providing such reciprocity.

Jenna Campton et al. (2023)[i] acknowledged the notion of “quiet quitting” as only performing the bare minimum requirements at work, sometimes referred to as “acting your wage.” Yet they present an alternate viewpoint which views quiet quitting as a method of regaining a measure of work-life balance and improved mental health. Frequently referred to as a rejection of “hustle culture,” which they describe as a “glorified version of workaholism, where an individual is encouraged to be ‘entrepreneurial’ and sacrifice their sleep, life, and family to work,” the second, and arguably more positive viewpoint encompasses the idea that employees should avoid being dominated by their jobs.

Campton et al. explain that this rejection-of-workaholism mindset involves setting professional boundaries, which do not preclude considering extra work, but asking for appropriate recognition and compensation when they agree to take it on. They describe boundary expression as critical to work-life balance, as well as a way to maintain overall happiness and good mental health. In addition, they note that quiet quitting is often seen in connection with long hours, heavy workloads, and unreasonable performance measures leading to stress and burnout, which suggests a dysfunctional organizational workplace culture with unrealistic expectations to begin with.

Understanding this alternative view of quiet quitting presents an opportunity for employers to create an a workplace culture that will attract and retain talent who will remain enthusiastic and engaged. How? By exploring both the qualifications and expectations of prospective employees before they join the fold.

Exit Interviews Upon Entrance

When quiet quitters find their voice and verbally quit, managers often want to know what went wrong, especially if they have just lost a valuable employee. But why wait? Instead of soliciting dissatisfaction during an exit interview as an employee walks out the door, employers can incorporate questions into an entrance interview, to learn what to do right. Ask a new employee to tell you about the worst boss they ever had and why. What did he or she view as the best perks that a company can provide? What are the more important things a new employee is hoping to learn, achieve, and enjoy about the job for which they are applying? What part of the job description are they most looking forward to? Where do they have questions or concerns?

When it comes to exploring employee satisfaction, both in terms of recruitment and retention, proactivity prompts productivity. By learning about applicants’ preferences and proficiencies, employers can onboard talent that can work faster and smarter, while enjoying both health and happiness. Recognizing and rewarding employees for good work will create a constructive, positive workplace culture for everyone.

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