The Real Reason Behind Quiet Quitting

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Kaylee McHugh

September 9, 2022
“Quiet Quitting”. The term is everywhere right now, and seems like the next big hurdle team leaders and HR teams are working to combat. Quiet quitting is what happens when a team member stops engaging with their work outside of their assigned tasks. They may still be fulfilling their job duties, but otherwise are completely detached from their team, aren’t concerned with the success of their organization, and don’t volunteer to take on additional responsibilities even if those responsibilities have a clear path to higher pay or chance of promotion. 

The exact cause behind quiet quitting continues to be debated, especially since it’s affecting workplaces on the heels of the Great Resignation. Are people quiet quitting in response to the pandemic, which left many re-evaluating their priorities and goals? Is this in response to remote work, which can leave people feeling more isolated and detached? Or, is this trend in response to burnout after many recent rounds of layoffs which have changed tech companies across the world?
At ChattyKathi, our team focuses day-in and day-out on how to improve team collaboration, engagement, and happiness. To us, a major reason behind Quiet Quitting is quite clear - people don’t feel connected to their teams. The answer to combatting quiet quitting isn’t planning more company all-hands, sending out more company engagement surveys, or even providing large salary increases – it’s ensuring just that everyone at your company feels connected with their team; and it’s making them feel like they belong. 

Research shows that someone’s connection to their team is one of the most important factors in their happiness. In fact, 70% of a team’s engagement comes directly from their relationship and interactions with their manager. And, if someone feels like they don’t belong to their team, they’re 50% more likely to quit, their performance decreases 56%, and they take 75% more sick days. But, if someone feels like they belong to their team and that their team cares about them as a person, the results are astounding.

When we really think about it, this makes a ton of sense. How many of us left good jobs because we felt like outsiders who weren’t understood by our manager or teammates?  
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Who among us were soured by a manager who didn’t remember that we pick our kids up from school every day and kept planning meetings at 3:30? We may mostly interact with our co-workers digitally nowadays, but that doesn’t make us any less human or our needs any less important. 

This is why we built ChattyKathi - a platform that helps team leaders remember all the important things about who their employees are outside of the office. The leader can be seen as a rockstar and their team can feel appreciated, seen, and heard. In the process of building ChattyKathi, we learned a few tips that even the busiest of managers can use to combat Quiet Quitting.

Start every one-on-one meeting with a “How are you?”. As a manager, you probably have an agenda of items you need to talk through, but working through those items without first understanding how your team member is feeling will leave them feeling underappreciated and unimportant. Not sure how your team member is feeling going into the meeting? You can use ChattyKathi’s Sentiment Analysis to help.

Plan for 5-minutes of unstructured catch-up or icebreakers at the start of every all-team meeting. If your team only knows how to talk about work with one another, they don’t really know one another and their ability to work as a team is most likely suffering. If you’re unsure of which icebreakers to use, you can always use ChattyKathi’s Meeting Starters

Incorporate your team’s interests outside of work into your meetings. If you know your team loves hiking, you can present a new project to them by comparing it to climbing a mountain. If you know your team loves video games, incorporate images of video game characters into your internal status update decks. Telling your team a deadline has been moved up is much easier if Pikachu or Link is there to help share the news. If you don’t know much about your team outside of work, you can use ChattyKathi’s Team Member Profiles to get started. 

Quiet Quitting isn’t going away, but as a manager you can use the above tactics to make sure it doesn’t affect your team. Get to know your team members for who they are outside of work, help to make sure they connect with one another, and watch your team’s engagement and happiness soar.
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