Shhhh… do you hear that? That’s the sound of burned-out employees across the globe completely disengaging with their work in an act known as ‘quiet-quitting’.
Quiet-quitting is a real problem for companies and the burned-out employees themselves, resulting in shattered mental health, reduced productivity, increased turnover, and a negative impact on company culture.
But how can you tell if your employees are quietly quitting? And more importantly, how can you prevent it from happening in the first place? We’ll take a closer look at quiet-quitting and provide some tips for keeping your team engaged, motivated, productive, and happy.
What is quiet-quitting?
Quiet-quitting is a term used to describe the phenomenon of employees who have become so disengaged and burned out that they begin to mentally check out of their jobs, without making any outward signs of dissatisfaction. Unlike traditional quitting, where an employee might give notice, start looking for a new job, or voice their concerns to their supervisor, quiet-quitters tend to keep their dissatisfaction to themselves, leading to a gradual decline in productivity and overall job satisfaction.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to quiet-quitting. For example, employees who feel undervalued, overworked, or unappreciated are more likely to become disengaged and start mentally checking out of their jobs.
Other factors, such as a lack of opportunities for professional growth and development, or a toxic work environment, can also contribute to employee burnout and disengagement.
While it may sound easy to spot, it’s best to stay up-to-speed on the signs of a burned-out employee, so you can identify — and assist — any employees on the path to quiet-quitting before it happens.
How to spot quiet-quitting
How can you tell if your employees are quietly quitting? Here are a few signs to look out for.
1. Lack of engagement
Employees who are quietly quitting may be less engaged in their work and less willing to take on new projects or responsibilities. Quiet-quitters are often high-achievers who have run out of steam, or feel like their contributions are being ignored. Keep an eye on employees whose engagement seems to shift drastically from what it once was.
2. Reduced productivity
When employees are disengaged and burned out, their productivity is likely to suffer. An uncharacteristic drop in productivity is certainly a sign to check in with an employee who might be struggling.
3. Increased absenteeism
If an employee is frequently absent or taking more sick days than usual, it could be a sign that they are struggling with burnout. This, of course, isn’t always the case, but it’s a good idea to offer extra support if you’re noticing that something might be up.
4. Lack of enthusiasm
If an employee who was once enthusiastic and passionate about their work has become apathetic or indifferent, it could be a sign that they are quietly checking out. This one can be a little harder to gauge, but is one of the most telling signs of burnout.
5. Reduced quality of work
Burnout is also likely to impact the quality of an employee’s work. A drastic change in the quality of a team member’s output should always raise alarm bells and set in motion some support tools or a friendly check-in.
How to prevent quiet-quitting
Preventing quiet-quitting requires a proactive approach to employee engagement and burnout prevention. Here are some tips to help keep your employees engaged, motivated, and productive.
1. Foster a positive work culture
It’s no secret that a positive workplace culture can make or break a company, but creating a positive work culture can also go a long way towards preventing burnout and disengagement.
This can include things like recognizing and rewarding employee accomplishments, encouraging work-life balance, and promoting open communication and feedback. Take a look at the ultimate guide to creating a positive employee experience for remote and hybrid teams.
2. Provide opportunities for growth and development
Here’s the truth: employees who feel like they have opportunities to grow and develop in their careers are more likely to be engaged and motivated. Providing opportunities for training, mentorship, and career advancement will help prevent burnout and make for much happier, more fulfilled employees.
3. Encourage work-life balance
Burnout is often the result of employees feeling like they are constantly working and never able to fully disconnect from their jobs. Encouraging work-life balance, such as by offering flexible schedules or remote work options, can help prevent burnout and keep employees engaged and motivated.
If you can, an unscheduled bonus day off is a great way to show that your company prioritizes a healthy work-life balance. Boost company culture while you’re at it by encouraging employees to share what they got up to on their day off.
4. Check in regularly with employees
Regular check-ins with employees can help managers identify potential signs of burnout and address them before they become a bigger issue. These check-ins can include one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or even anonymous surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and engagement.
If you’re not already scheduling regular 1:1s, now’s as good a time as any to start.
5. Provide support for mental health
Employee burnout is often linked to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Providing support for mental health, such as by offering access to employee assistance programs or mental health resources, can help prevent burnout and support employees who may be struggling.
Regularly remind employees about any services or benefits they’re entitled to — you never know when someone might quietly need them. Try a video like this one to get your message across in a friendly, digestible way.
6. Recognize and reward accomplishments
Recognizing and rewarding employee accomplishments is a simple and effective way to boost morale and motivation. This can include things like bonuses, promotions, or even just verbal recognition for a job well done.
Make a real impact with a recognition video template like this one.
7. Encourage social connections
Encouraging social connections fosters a sense of community and belonging, which can be a powerful motivator for employees. This can include things like team-building activities, social events, or even just encouraging employees to take breaks together.
By taking a proactive approach to employee engagement and burnout prevention, you can help prevent quiet-quitting and keep your team engaged, motivated, productive, and happy.
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