I am not a fan of labels and buzzwords, they aren’t helpful to us at all as it can elevate the wrong behaviours, taking the attention away from real issues.

The latest label ‘quiet quitting’ caught my attention this week, words that describe the action of sticking firmly to the job description and not going above and beyond the job role. It got me thinking, firstly, people have been working in this way for years, long before our current times. Secondly, perhaps this presents an opportunity that we as leaders need to pay attention to – the experience of the people in our organisations. It highlights the need to share or re-establish the purpose, the ‘why’ the company exists and what we as leaders stand for. Then finding ways to express ourselves genuinely and engage the people who work for us, so they can see the part they play in achieving that organisational purpose.

Now this will not instantly stop people from ‘quiet quitting’, but it will make a start to helping people see that there is reason to be committed and be high performing. The thing is, no one wants their people to work to the point of burnout, I’m sure it’s about wanting them to feel a sense of satisfaction and achievement at the work they do and understanding the impact its making.

Now that this is getting so much attention, maybe we can take a moment to find out if this is happening in our organisation, identify why and if it is affecting overall performance and culture.
Everything I’ve read about this trend points to people who feel unrecognised, ill-treated, overworked or overwhelmed. None of the reports imply that the people intentionally wanted to do average work.

What we can do to start to address this is clear:
• Make sure people understand and feel a part of what the organisation is there to do. Bringing them in helps to build trust.
• Recognise people’s work – let them know the value they add and the part they play in achieving the goals and priorities.
• Go beyond your reward and recognition scheme – find ways to acknowledge good work personally.
• Alignment to encourage a sensible work / life balance. High performance and productivity is not achieved by pressure and presenting harsh leadership.
• Review the culture and make sure the environment is safe and champions belonging and inclusion.

For any of these and whatever the challenge you face there is a lot of help out there. Have open conversations to find out people’s experience, connect with them about the challenges or changes that might have to be implemented that will affect them.

Above all don’t get distracted by the label and pay attention to what’s really going on to identify how to fix it.

In the article Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees I’ve highlighted the following line ‘Every employee, every workday, makes a decision...’

Maybe as leaders we have the power to influence that decision for the good.

This piece was written by Trudy Lewis, FCIPR, Chart. PR. Founder / Director, Colinear

To find out more about Colinear, visit https://colinear.co/