How to motivate employees and avoid quiet quitting?

Carolina Gomez

Growth Hacker

If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve probably heard the term “quiet quitting” floating around. The trend took off so quickly that it probably hit your radar, even if you aren’t social media savvy. 

But what does it really mean when someone quiet quits? And should leaders be worried about it?

Well, quiet quitting might not be exactly what it sounds like. But Is it still a thing in 2023?

Keep reading as we discuss the impacts of quiet quitting. Plus, we’ll share tips on how you can improve employee motivation and avoid quiet sitting.

What is quiet quitting?

The term quiet quitting is a bit of a misnomer. When an employee is ‘quiet quitting’ they aren’t actually resigning or quitting at all.

What they’re doing is scaling back their effort levels to the bare minimum. They’re not doing their job, but they aren’t making a point to excel at it either.

This might seem harmless, given that quiet quitting doesn’t necessarily mean employee turnover. But you’re likely not getting the most out of someone who is unmotivated. They’re simply showing up and going through the emotions.

Realistically, if an employee feels apathetic for long enough, they’ll likely quit eventually anyway.

Quiet quitting has become a way for employees to express their frustration with hustle culture and cope with how they feel about their work. Particularly among millennials and Gen Z workers. It’s become so commonplace that quiet quitting is making up at least 50% of the workforce in the US.

What’s caused this new wave of quiet quitting? Well, it boils down to one thing – lack of employee motivation.

Why does employee motivation matter?

Most of us start new jobs excited and bright-eyed. So what causes employees to lose motivation over time and turn to tactics like quiet quitting?

Let’s start by understanding some of the reasons that can cause employees to lose motivation.

●      Lack of purpose: They don’t understand how their work is making an impact.

●      Lack of transparency: They don’t feel they can trust their managers or the company and vice versa.

●      Feeling under-appreciated: They feel the work they’re doing isn’t valued.

●      Feeling burnt out: Their workload is impacting their work-life balance and creating stress and exhaustion.

When employees lose motivation, they’re more likely to disengage. As a result, they’ll be less productive and produce lower-quality work.

Avoiding quiet quitting doesn’t mean you should be encouraging your employees to work around the clock. But it does mean that they’re putting their best foot forward when they’re at work.

Over time, employee motivation can be extremely costly for businesses.

So what can you do if your team is experiencing a decline in employee motivation?

Tips for motivating employees in the workplace

Improving motivation among employees is more than just making them happier. While that’s certainly important, motivated employees are more driven to help your business achieve its goals.

If your business is seeing a rise in quiet quitting and a decrease in motivation among employees, you’re not alone. But all is not lost!

Here are some ways you can improve employee motivation and avoid quiet quitting.

Give employees a sense of purpose

Even though employees come to work to earn a paycheck. They’re still investing their time and effort into your company. Without a sense of purpose, they’re likely to feel directionless.
In many cases, it’s not that their work isn’t important. It’s that employees don’t actually understand how their work aligns with the company mission.

An easy way to improve employee motivation is by making it a priority to help every person understand how they directly or indirectly impact business goals.

Create a culture of transparency

Another way to improve the sense of purpose among your team is simply by being more transparent.

Especially in larger organizations, junior team members don’t always get insight into overall company strategy. While not everyone needs to know about every little decision, keeping the company mission shrouded in secrecy can leave employees feeling disconnected.

Being more transparent is a great way to improve trust among employees. It also removes barriers so teams can understand where they fit in the puzzle. This way no team or individual feels like they’re working in asilo.

Employees should generally have an understanding of what the company goals are and what other teams are working on. Town halls and open forums are a great way to share company-wide goals and progress.

Whether things are good or bad – a culture of transparency will always be valued among employees.

Demonstrate employee appreciation and recognition.

A little appreciation can go a long way.

In most cases, employees want to come to work and do their best. But if it goes unacknowledged for extended periods of time, they start to question why they’re putting in the effort.

There are so many ways companies can celebrate milestones and provide recognition – even in the day-to-day.

●      Team-wide kudos: Celebrate the milestones as a company or as a team. Make a point to recognize when employees go out of their way or hit their target.

●      Peer-to-peer recognition: Encourage employees to share praise with one another when deserved. Apps like Evergreen make it easy for teams to show appreciation right within platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

●      Rewards programs: Appreciation doesn’t always have to come in the form of a reward or gift. Even thank-you notes can make a difference when it comes to motivation. But sometimes a reward is the cherry on top!

Practice ruthless prioritization

For a lot of employees, quiet quitting comes down to burnout. This is especially true among millennials and younger workers.

While many appreciate the shift to remote and hybrid workplaces, it’s easy for work to blend in with personal life. This can wreak havoc on your employees’ mental and physical health – so it’s no surprise that this can be a huge demotivating factor.

There are only so many hours in a workday. So instead of building a culture around working as much as possible, consider focusing on impact instead.

Employees and leaders should make sure to evaluate if time is being used wisely. You can do this by asking questions like:

●      Is the work being done connected to the overall goals of the business?

●      What tasks will make the biggest impact?

●      Are there things that can be delegated?

If the work isn’t driving the business forward in a meaningful way, it’s worth questioning if it’s the best use of time and resources.

Create opportunities for employee connection.

Whether your team is in-office or working remotely, it’s up to your organization to help create opportunities for employees to connect.

When employees can build better relationships, they’re more likely to feel connected to the company. It improves collaboration and communication.

Whether it’s coffee breaks, team socials, or company-wide events, these opportunities help employees stay connected to one another. Make sure to give time for employees to socialize on non-work-related things too!

If your team is remote-first, this also means investing int he technology to help foster connection virtually.

Build a competitive compensation structure.

Most employees work to earn a living. So, we would be remiss to discuss compensation and benefits.

Motivation can often be linked to people feeling like they’re being paid their worth. So a key part of helping your employees stay engaged is paying them appropriately. Salaries and compensation should be somewhat in line with industry averages.

It’s important to remember that cash isn’t the be-all-end-all. Especially if you’re a smaller business or unable to compete with larger organizations when it comes to salary.

Many studies have shown that millennials, in particular, place a high value on remote work and flexible arrangements, even more so than pay.

You can improve your total compensation packages through levers like:

●      Flexible work arrangements

●      Benefits and wellness perks

●      Vacation and paid time off

●      Rewards and bonus structures

Allow for autonomy

It’s true – no one likes a micromanager. Your employees should feel like they’re empowered to make their own decisions, whether it’s their work output or how they work.

It can be tempting for leaders to try to hold onto control. But remember, you hired someone for a reason. At some point, you should put your trust in them to deliver. Otherwise, your team will start to get frustrated and eventually give up altogether.

 Instead, focus on things like accountability and open communication. This way organizations can maintain quality of work and productivity, while still offering the flexibility and autonomy that employees need to stay engaged.

Encourage diversity and inclusivity

A culture of diversity and inclusion is becoming increasingly important to employees. And for good reason!

But DEI doesn’t only mean hiring diverse employees. (Although that’s important too!)

It means creating a safe space for employees to come to work and be themselves. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table.

By encouraging different points of view, employees will be more motivated to share their opinions and ideas. Ultimately, everyone will learn from each other, which helps your teams produce better work!

Listen to your employees

Finally, make sure you take the time to understand what really matters to your team.

Implement tools like satisfaction surveys and anonymous forms to gather intel into how your employees truly feel. Consider questions like:

●      Do you find your work engaging?

●      Do you feel your role aligns with your career goals?

●      Do you feel supported in your role?

It can be difficult to be told that you’re missing the mark as an organization. But it’s the best way to make sure you’re investing in tactics that will move the motivation needle. Your employees can tell you better than anyone what they need to stay motivated.

But don’t be all talk and no action. Make sure to take the time to address concerns and put an implementation plan in place. Otherwise, your employees will continue to stay frustrated.

Help quiet quitting a stay passing trend

The truth is, it’s easy to see why quiet quitting was able to gain so much traction. With the massive shifts in the workplace over the last few years, it’s been challenging for employers and employees to find the right balance.

The good news is that the quiet quitting trend has paved the way for employers to really prioritize company culture and employee engagement. And those that do, will stand out from the rest.

With these tips, you’ll be able to create a place where people want to come to work every day. In no time at all, you’ll find that quiet quitting will fade into a thing of the past.

 Need a simple place to start? Try peer recognition! With Evergreen, teams can give kudos in just a few clicks. Plus, every time someone recognizes a teammate, you will plant a tree!

Take the first step toward improving employee motivation today. Get a free 14-day trial of Evergreen.

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