Quiet Quitting | InCorp Help Center

Quiet Quitting: 4 Ways to Improve Productivity

If you're a business owner or supervisor, you may have heard about it on the news, read something on the Internet, or even experienced it for yourself. Two simple, straightforward words that, when combined, can become an incredibly polarizing topic: Quiet Quitting.

So, what exactly is quiet quitting? Depending on who you ask, you can get any number of explanations.

From a boss's point of view? An employee's passive-aggressive refusal to put in more than the bare minimum effort in an uncertain economy where so many businesses are fighting to stay alive.

From an employee's perspective? It's an employee refusing to give time or effort beyond what was mutually understood to be the basic responsibilities of that employee's position. Employers often feel that an employee engaged in quiet quitting lacks ambition, has a poor work ethic, and is ungrateful for the employment opportunity. On the other hand, that employee may feel that the boss's demands go beyond acceptable boundaries where work/life balance is concerned or that the boss is attempting to squeeze more work out of them without paying for it.

To make matters worse, quiet quitting, as the name implies, often begins well before an owner or supervisor notices. As those managing businesses seek to reestablish some degree of normality in a post-pandemic world, the focus may be on restructuring, stabilizing, and growing the business in an economy where customer needs, supply chains, and sometimes, literal rules have changed. As a result, employees can be well down the path of quiet quitting before management even notices. In fact, some figures say that more than 50% of workers in our country are at some point on that path (1). Can you say for certain that none of your current employees are engaged in quiet quitting?

Now that we've acknowledged the potential threat to your business, let's look at some simple ways to fix it!

  • Better Communication

    As a manager or owner, you probably live deep in the heart of "above and beyond." It's absolutely necessary if you want to own or manage a successful business. It can, however, skew your view of what you think you're communicating to your employees versus what they actually hear from you. Too often, we become so conditioned in our work ethic or our ways of accomplishing tasks that we expect the same behavior from others without telling them. If you need a specific change from an employee, clearly communicate it to them. They may simply agree, or, depending on the size of the change, they may request a renegotiation of their pay. Regardless of what happens, you'll be on the same page, which benefits everyone concerned!

  • Self-Evaluation

    Before thinking your employee is lazy or disloyal, do your best to give your concerns an unbiased once over. What you're asking from your employees is in the business's best interest. You may also be looking at it through the eyes of someone who has sacrificed so much to make the business successful. It's your passion. Your purpose. It also directly impacts your bank account. Whether your employee goes above and beyond or does the bare minimum, they likely earn the same wages unless their commission is involved. You, however, may have to tighten your purse strings one month or splurge on a family vacation the next, depending on your business's success during those time frames. Put yourself in your employee's shoes. Are the additional tasks you're requesting reasonable and sustainable? Would any reasonable person be able to accomplish them without their other duties suffering and during their regular work hours? While they should definitely earn their pay, they also shouldn't feel on the verge of burning out.

  • Accountability

    Your employees should feel accountable to you as the owner and/or supervisor. Ideally, they should also feel accountable to their coworkers. You don't just want them to do what is reasonable and expected of anyone holding their position. You also want them to want to do those tasks. When an employee feels accountable, their quality of work improves. Their attention to detail improves. They begin to show initiative in taking on tasks, not just to make their own job easier but to benefit the business as a whole. So how do you build accountability? Consistency, communication of expectations, and team building.

    From Day 1, you should clearly establish what you want and expect from an employee. Of course, as a supervisor, your priorities can vary significantly daily, but if what you consider to be acceptable work varies day-to-day, it makes it nearly impossible for your employees to hit that mark every day. A consistent definition of acceptable work, however, gives employees a goal to work towards, leading to improved feelings of accountability to the team and a greater sense of job satisfaction.

    To achieve consistency, you need clear communication of expectations. This can be difficult for some people. Let's face it. You have a lot on your plate as someone in a supervisory position. The stress from managerial responsibilities can take its toll in many ways. It's not uncommon to think you've communicated a task to an employee only to realize at the time you expected it to be completed that you never actually conveyed the information anywhere beyond the confines of your over-burdened brain. No matter how outstanding your employees may be, they're likely not telepathic. You can't expect people to feel a sense of accountability for tasks they were never clear needed completion.

    While consistency and communication of expectations are pivotal to the supervisor/employee relationship, your third accountability tool focuses on the peer-to-peer relationships among your staff: team building. Accountability focuses on not letting someone down, whether it be oneself or others. Many employers set out on the pointless mission of minimizing employees' interactions with each other. Obviously, you aren't paying your staff to socialize, but some familiarity is critical to team building. If you establish a personal relationship with someone, even a casual one, your desire not to be judged poorly by them is immediately present to some degree. As a supervisor, you can foster these positive relationships through team-building activities. These could be as simple as providing lunch for the team to eat together monthly or more involved activities, such as a day at an amusement park, a concert or show together, or spectating or participating in sports. Team building activities are only limited by your budget, work schedule, and imagination. No matter what activity you choose, your staff will get to know each other better and build a better sense of accountability to each other.

  • Stay Up to Date on Your Industry

    There are plenty of reasons to stay current on trends in your industry if you want to stay competitive. One way often forgotten is competitive pay.

    It's easy to get stuck in a rut where employee compensation is concerned, and it's even easier to justify what you pay your staff by thinking, "It was good enough when I hired them, so it should be good enough now." Back in the day, earning a little less out of loyalty to an employer might have been acceptable. Still, competitive pay rates are of the utmost importance to your employees, with a job market flush with opportunities for prospective employees and an economy rapidly outpacing annual raises. An employee hired two years ago earning the same pay rate under which they were hired likely has excellent prospects in the job market. Keeping your thumb on the pulse of your industry and ensuring that below-the-average pay, no matter how small your business may be, is not an issue secretly pushing your staff to seek employment elsewhere.

All things considered, you have several strategies to keep valued employees from quiet quitting. It may seem daunting or even like something you shouldn't have to worry about. Still, with the hundreds of thousands of American workers willing to walk away from a job rather than settle for so-so conditions, you'll make your life far easier and your business more successful by checking in on your employees' job satisfaction before it becomes a problem.

1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2022/09/15/why-half-the-workforce-is-quiet-quitting-and-what-to-do-about-it/?sh=77993fd3a25b

Stay in the know!

Join our newsletter for special offers.