How to Combat Quiet Quitting at Portfolio Companies

Quiet Quitting is the latest workforce trend that has taken the media by storm. The new term refers to portfolio company employees doing the bare minimum, often avoiding additional projects outside of their job descriptions. Quiet quitters rarely go above and beyond and lack interest in investing any emotional connection to their jobs. Simply put, they finish their tasks and log off for the day. The trend has grown to a level that HR and talent leaders can no longer ignore. 

Why Are Employees Quiet Quitting?

  1. Disengaged and disconnected: Employees underwent major shifts during the pandemic. Layoffs, remote work, and now back-to-office mandates or hybrid scheduling – these changes impacted work relationships that could be causing the disconnect. According to a recent study by Gallup, 16% of employees are actively disengaged in 2022 compared to 14% in 2020.
  1. Lack of growth and development opportunities: Many employees feel they’ve reached a dead end in their current roles. This feeling can be built within a portfolio company if employees are not presented with a clear career path and the resources needed to develop their skills. 
  1. Underpaid or overworked: Many employees feel their compensation is less than they deserve. The Great Resignation left many roles unfilled, forcing employees to fill the gap without additional compensation or recognition.  
  1. Setting work boundaries: The pandemic left employees exhausted and burnt out. They are no longer interested in sacrificing their work-life balance or well-being for a job – putting an end to the once popular hustle culture.  

Identifying Potential Quiet Quitters 

It is important for leaders to recognize signs that could potentially indicate a quiet quitter on the team; otherwise, employee satisfaction, team dynamics, and the work environment for other employees can suffer. Here are some of the most common signs to look out for:

  • The employee seems disengaged from their work or the team 
  • You notice a lack of participation in group meetings or brainstorming sessions 
  • Their productivity or quality of work is declining 
  • The employee seems disinterested in participating in team-building events  

The level of involvement and enthusiasm among employees in the workplace dropped for the first time in over ten years.  

– Gallup

Combating Quiet Quitting 

Portfolio companies should consider implementing these tactics to prevent the issue of quiet quitting from spreading:

Build a Culture of Connection

Quiet Quitting, for some, isn’t about avoiding work; it’s about lacking a sense of purpose. Communication is key to preventing an employee from becoming disengaged. Frequent one-on-one meetings can foster a strong relationship between managers and employees. These weekly syncs are an excellent opportunity to cover both professional and personal development. Leaders should highlight how an employee’s work impacts the portfolio company’s overall success to build meaning in their work.

Another way to connect with employees is to make them feel that their voices are valued and heard. Soliciting feedback through engagement surveys provides an avenue of communication to help them get their ideas to leadership. Employees want to feel that they are making a difference, so collecting and considering their feedback is essential.

Invest in Your Employees 

One of the top reasons people quit last year was a lack of career development and growth opportunities. Organizations must play an active role in building career paths that align with the interests of both the employee and the company’s goals. Investing in adequate resources and programs to grow employees is a big part of an effective retention strategy.

Leaders should develop a habit of asking employees about their interests and career goals – are there particular skills they want to develop or leverage? Is there a specific project they want to be a part of? From there, management can build a career map with potential opportunities and resources to support professional growth. Implementing a flexible career path allows employees to have visibility into their future at your organization and can directly impact their motivation, career satisfaction, and productivity.

Part of keeping employees engaged is keeping them excited about their future and letting them have a say in their careers. 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if they had access to career development.

– LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 

Plan Your Workforce 

Workforce planning helps forecast business demands and identify current gaps to determine specific hiring needs. Part of this includes assessing the skills of existing employees and placing them in roles where they can leverage them – improving engagement and retention. Effective workforce planning also helps identify skill gaps so leaders can provide the necessary training and resources to develop existing employees for the future. Proactively preparing for the future needs of a business will help maintain adequate staffing levels and avoid overburdening existing staff.  

“Organizations sometimes have a one-size-fits-all orientation. This approach doesn’t account for the different skill and experience levels that should be considered for onboarding. While it may not be feasible to make customizable orientations, companies should look at the existing orientation and determine if there are some parts that aren’t necessary for all new hires, based on prior experience.”

– Dina DeMarco, Hueman People Solutions 

Recognize Your People 

Employee engagement is directly correlated with recognition. Why would employees try to go above and beyond if their efforts go unnoticed? Organizations should create fair and consistent recognition and promotion guidelines to help employees feel seen. Setting specific goals and expectations within teams, divisions, and departments can help standardize the process – helping employees feel more valued at work.

Recognition can extend beyond financial compensation. Celebrating milestones, work anniversaries, or actions that embody your organization’s core values can help you build a great culture. It’s important to remind your employees that their efforts are appreciated.

Have you seen a change in your workforce due to quiet quitting? Hueman can help you employ a strategy to build a talented, engaged workforce. Contact us to learn more to learn more.