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Are your staff quitting quietly? Here’s how to say it and what you should do

Source: Unsplash/Laura Davidson.

If your staff is prone to mood swings, raising their hands on fewer projects, being frustrated out loud, visibly withdrawn, or taking more sick days, they may be quietly quitting.

It’s an antidote movement gaining traction in the workplace as hordes of employees suffer from burnout – whether it’s filling the gaps of labor shortages, pandemic burnout , dissatisfaction with work or the feeling of having stagnated in their career with no progression in sight.

“You don’t quit your job outright, but you give up on the idea of ​​going beyond it,” TikTokker @zkchillin explained.

“You’re still doing your job, but you no longer subscribe to the hustle culture mentality that work should be your life – the reality is that it’s not.”

So what should leaders watch out for and what can they do when they spot the signs of a silent quitter? Two experts intervene.

Why are Australians quietly quitting their jobs?

Just look at the modern workplace, says Lauren Berry, HR and culture manager at Employment Hero. Technology has made work easier, but it has also seen work encroach on our personal lives.

Then the pandemic hit and work-from-home mandates saw the intersection of an employee’s work and personal life become a complete combination.

“This idea of ​​quietly quitting smoking could be considered a subset of the Great Quit as this concept speaks to this ongoing trend that came out of COVID,” Berry said.

“Individuals are reassessing their priorities and their work is at the center of that reassessment for the first time in many years.”

Could leaders contribute to a silent shutdown?

When thinking about the concept of silent surrender, leaders need to ask themselves one question: have I taken the time to get to know my team?

“It’s important that managers really know their employees so that any change in behavior is easily captured,” said Hareta McMullin, founder and leadership coach of Third Space People.

“These changes in behavior are clues that managers can use to uncover the real problems their employees are facing.”

If a company sees an increasing number of resignations, it’s a telltale sign that something is wrong, she continues.

“The societal changes we are seeing with the big resignation/shuffle are indicators that employers need to take a hard look at their employee experience and its impact on their culture and, therefore, their business performance.”

After all, adds Berry, “if you have an increase in turnover, there is only one common denominator!”

What can leaders do to better support staff?

If they detect a change in an employee that does not correct itself after an extended period – after all, a drop in performance may only be the temporary result of a tricky roommate or a quarrel with a partner – it is time to have a chat.

“Have a curious, open conversation that you approach with good intentions,” McMullin advised.

“Once you understand the challenges an employee faces, you can work together to intentionally pattern their work.”

Tailoring a staff member’s job to their needs has never been more important as Australia faces record labor and skills shortages in the post-pandemic era.

“A lot has changed, and there’s a greater desire for flexibility, putting more boundaries between work and life, and changing the mindset from live to work to work to live,” said Berry added.

“Placing boundaries around work is key to helping prevent burnout among our employees.”

This may look like imposing a strict quit time for staff, rolling out a no email policy outside of working hours, and insisting that staff take their lunch breaks in entire.

Does this mean that the quality of work will decrease?

On the contrary, continues Berry.

“We know that our employees are more productive when they are well rested and have the opportunity to take a break and recharge by doing the things they love – so having conversations about how we work and how our employees work, where we can promote that work-life balance helps with productivity,” she said.

Additionally, adds McMullin, creating an environment where all staff feel comfortable, supported and able to work within their means is an important step forward for the labor market, which for decades has stood for “culture of agitation”.

“The power dynamic between employer and employee has been out of balance for so long,” she said.

“After the realities of the past few years, the labor market is correcting its trajectory and returning to alignment.

“Employees have understood that giving themselves completely to their work is no longer acceptable.”

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