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The latest practice by Millennials and Gen Z workers has been dubbed “quiet quitting,” although it has nothing to do with actually resigning their jobs. Rather these employees continue to collect their paychecks while simultaneously taking a hard line with their employers by, among other things, setting strong boundaries, unplugging after hours, quitting the idea of going above and beyond, rebuking the “hustle culture,” and rejecting the mentality that work has to be your life. While the movement comes on the heels of the Great Resignation, and further causes employers to struggle to adequately staff their teams, there are some key steps employers can take to prevent and combat employees coasting through their jobs.

Clearly Define Expectations

Uncertainty can cause employees to become annoyed, frustrated, and even disengaged with their jobs. To avoid this, set clearly defined expectations for your employees beyond just firm deadlines for projects. Employees need to understand what you expect from them on a general basis, as well as for their specific job duties. This means reviewing policies and procedures, updating job descriptions, and outlining specific performance expectations with metrics and attainable goals. Have expectation-setting discussions with your employees, and get them to voice any concerns they have about their ability to handle their job duties and assignments. Be sure to document these discussions. If expectations have already been defined and an employee is not rising to the occasion, tell them both verbally and in writing. Setting expectations serves no purpose if you do not require employees to meet them. You can and should require employees to perform the jobs for which they were hired and enforce the company’s policies consistently.

Ignoring performance problems, sloppy work product, or laziness in the workplace can have a detrimental impact on your business and on overall employee morale. If an employee is not performing to your expectations you need to take action. Consistently following your established policies can also help avoid discrimination claims. Don’t let a general fear that your employees may actually quit overshadow your ability to enforce your policies and maintain reasonable expectations.

Stay Connected With and Communicate with Your Workforce

Whether your workforce is remote, hybrid, or has returned to 100% in-person, it is incumbent upon employers to frequently check the pulse of their employees. You should make sure that all managers have regularly scheduled one-on-one or team meetings with their employees, that focus on more that specific projects or tasks. Get feedback from your employees. Implement town hall meetings or surveys to measure employee satisfaction. Be sure all meetings are well organized with a concise agenda and ask specific and pointed questions about the employee’s workload, the employee’s career goals, and how the company can contribute to (or do more to help) the employee’s success at the company. You can also use these check-ins to determine what the employee expects of you as an employer. Some-times, all an employee wants is to be heard and frequent pulse checks can easily accomplish this.

Recognize and Reward Employees

Recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and maintain (or even increase) productivity. Although most employees welcome monetary incentives for a job well done, a simple “thank you” or recognition program within your organization is often of minimal cost and can go a long way to boost morale. An occasional pizza party or work-sponsored happy hour is insufficient; Employees likely appreciate these gestures, but rarely do they move the needle to boost morale or increase productivity. Use the above touch points to determine what employees want and implement a recognition program with clear objectives and measurable criteria for employees to reap the rewards.

If you institute these behaviors and stick with them, not only will you avoid quiet quitting,” but you will build better rapport with your workforce. This will in turn result in your getting more consistent work product from your workers, and your business will better attract available workers when you need them.

This information is not intend to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. Please contact one of our attorneys at Schwartz Rollins, or our legal assistant, Vicki Perry at 404.844.4130.


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