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Have you heard the news? People are quietly quitting.

I am fascinated by the press on this, as I don’t think I’m the only one who might be wondering if this is breaking news. This has always been business. This has always been people. This is a new name. This is not new news.

Gallup has been surveying employees around the world for over 25 years to measure their engagement.  The percentage of employees engaged in their work – that is, involved in, committed to, and excited about their work – has barely moved from the 30-33% range in all of that time.  Interestingly, the highest level of engagement was in June 2020. Yes, near the beginning of COVID. A topic for another blog, but I believe the reason for that is communication; we have never communicated as much as we did during that time. In addition, while so many businesses were shutting down, there was a greater appreciation from those who had a job.

The publicity around quiet quitting, though, is a great reminder for leaders, managers, and supervisors to be more aware.   Look around you. Statistics show that every person on your team is:

  1. Actively engaged
  2. Actively disengaged
  3. Somewhere in between

What do we do about it? It’s a simple concept; it’s not an easy process. Here are the action steps. 

  1. Pay attention to those who are actively engaged.
  2. Move the actively disengaged off the team
  3. Nurture the in-between to become more actively engaged. 

Pay attention to those who are actively engaged.

  1. Find out who they are. That should be simple, as they will typically rise to the top.  It can be easy to ignore them, though, as they set goals, they achieve them, and they may appear as low maintenance. 
  2. Don’t assume they will continue to stay actively engaged, though.  They need challenges and opportunities to learn and grow, and as they take these on, they need to be supported. 
  3. Recognize them for being engaged and high performing in a way they wish to be appreciated. Say thanks, at the very least – again and again and again. 

Move the actively disengaged off the team.

In a time when the workforce is smaller than ever before, this might seem like the last thing you want to do or even feel able to do. I challenge you, though, to think about the time wasted and dollars spent when ultimately, most of this group is not using their strengths in their current role, they are not the right culture fit, or they are simply not in the right place. It doesn’t mean they won’t succeed elsewhere, but it’s too much time and effort to move them up the engagement ladder.  Life will be better for all parties if we allow or encourage them to move on.   

Nurture the in between to become more actively engaged.

  1. Talk to them. Find out what does engage them and determine whether you can make it happen.
  2. Challenge them. I find many times this group is just bored. They are constantly doing the same thing or working with the same people and find it monotonous. Do you have – or can THEY create – opportunities for rotations, apprenticeships, coaching, or new assignments? Throwing money at them once or twice a year is typically not the answer. It’s the daily experiences and opportunities that can make the difference.

Gallup’s famous Q12 questions can be a great way to get started.  These questions can be a survey for your organization or team or can just be asked and discussed during coaching or review sessions. They first appeared in Gallup’s early 2000 book, Now, Discover Your Strengths and include, once again, some simple concepts. Gallup’s research on these 12 questions showed that the best teams were able to answer yes on the majority – or all – of these questions.

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Note that these questions are like running up a hill. If your answer to #1 is no, you won’t even get to #2 – much less 12.  Start at the bottom of the hill.

Do you need assistance with employee engagement?  Reach out to us at Purple Ink to learn more about our training, facilitation, and consulting teams.

JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis is the Founder of Purple Ink, Powered by Purple Ink, and the ink pad, author of four books in the JoyPowered® series, and co-host of The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. JoDee has a passion for helping organizations and individuals discover their talents and do more or what they do well!

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