Every organization wants productive, engaged, and happy employees. How is quiet quitting killing that and how can we prevent it?

In this podcast, Charles Rogel, employee engagement expert and VP of Consulting Services, discusses how knowing what to measure can help your organization recognize why employees have quietly quit and what to do about it.


[00:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome to our presentation today. My name is Charles Roel and I’m the Vice President of Consulting Services here at DecisionWise. The title of our presentation is “How to Measure Burnout to Prevent Quiet Quitting.”

[00:00:14] I do welcome your questions and comments, so please submit them using the chat. And I’ll do my best to answer those questions as they come up. So let me just transition over here now to our presentation. 

[00:00:26] But what I wanna talk about in terms of quiet quitting is kind of the definition, where’d it come from? You know, this is kind of the buzzword of the day. We’ll kind of get into a little bit of history behind it and what it means, but then I’m gonna relate this more to what we have expertise in, and that is measuring engagement. So what’s the relationship between quiet quitting and engagement. We’re seeing a lot in our research where burnout is one of the reasons why we’re seeing people kind of choose to quiet quit, so to speak, in their roles and responsibilities. So we’ll provide some questions that you can use on employee surveys to ask, to understand this concept better and what might be impacting that. And I’ve got a lot of data to share from our benchmarks around what we’re measuring, what we’re seeing, and how this is kind of playing out with people’s perceptions.

[00:01:11] Finally, at the end, we’ve been brainstorming here at DecisionWise with our consultants and others to really understand some recommendations around how to kind of mitigate, quiet quitting and what you can do about it. So we’ll spend some time going through those at the end. 

[00:01:25] I don’t know if all of you or any of you have really seen the TikTok video that kind of kicked off the whole concept of quiet quitting, but it’s a very simple, somewhat boring not very well produced video that has this text here. So the TikToker basically just says, “you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not. Your worth as a person is not identified by your labor.”

[00:01:56] So, it’s just a simple statement that really kind of took off and got people kind of questioning what this really meant. Now, this wasn’t the first kind of person to come up with the idea. You know, this person basically saying, I heard this concept and here’s what it means. 

[00:02:09] This concept, quite quitting was first used kind of officially back in 2009 by an economist named Mark Bulger at a symposium to describe worker attitudes in Venezuela at the time. And so, you know, again, this has been bantered around, it’s become more popular since the pandemic. And uh, it is kind of the new term that we’re kind of seeing be talked about. Plenty of articles out there and it’s funny how this has kind of taken a life of its own. Everyone’s got kind of something to say and you’ll notice everyone kind of uses the term and then kind of applies their approach, which we’re gonna be doing today. So you’ll kind of get the DecisionWise take on what quiet quitting means and how we’re seeing it kind of appear in results. 

[00:02:51] Now the interesting thing as we’ve looked at some of these headlines, you know, we got quiet, quitting, you know, we’ve sent out other headlines saying, Hey, well it’s not necessarily quiet quitting, it’s more about acting your wage. In other words, do what you’re getting paid for and stop going above and beyond. It’s not worth it to you. 

[00:03:06] And then in response, there’s been some other terms and articles out there about quiet firing. In other words you’re not really firing someone, but you’re making their job miserable enough that they’ll end up quitting. So, that’s another toxic behavior that we’ve seen in workplaces.

[00:03:20] So just keep in mind that, you know, I think this gives an opportunity, this term comes up, everyone kind of throws their hat in the mix about saying, Hey, what does this mean? And, you know, generationally, you know, for women, people of color, so. Lot of different analysis going on here. The funny thing is, you know, we’re seeing this spike in Google search trends and so as we’re looking at the number of searches, it got really popular just here at the probably beginning of August and you can see it’s kind of tailing off already in terms of search trends on the term quiet quitting. But again, you know, it really spiked on our radar here. And so we’re gonna talk about it and kind of, dissect it a bit. 

[00:03:56] So, here’s kind of an urban dictionary definition. If you did a Google search, you’d probably see this one pop up. But essentially, you know, when an employee has limited their tasks, those strictly within their job description to avoid working longer hours, they want to do the bare minimum to get the job done and set clear boundaries to improve work-life balance. Now, I’ll take exception with this definition because I don’t necessarily think it means doing the bare minimum, and I think we might be labeling some employees as quiet quitters when they’re simply setting clear boundaries or maybe healthier boundaries around work life balance.

[00:04:29] What a manager might see as a quiet quitter is maybe somebody who’s been like their go getter, someone they can count on, that’s really kind of, carried the load for a bit in their job. Maybe has gone above and beyond, works long hours, that sort of thing, and they’re kind of cutting back.

[00:04:44] They’re kind of emerging from the pandemic, working from home, all these other things, realizing, I don’t want to be about that hustle culture anymore. It’s not worth it. And so you might see that, where some of your real strong players or employees are holding back a little bit more, or at least trying to protect some boundaries that they felt like were important to them as they emerged from pandemic. More on this in a moment. 

[00:05:05] We’ve used another term here at DecisionWise called “Quit and Stay” for a long time. When we found people that are fully disengaged in their jobs and we generally say they’re bored, they’re frustrated at work, they speak poorly about leaders, they blame others for their disengagement. They do enough to get by, they’re not happy, and they could create a toxic work environment. And generally we see if people are fully disengaged, they tend to leave eventually, but some do quit and stay. They feel like, Hey, I’ve got good benefits package here, decent compensation, I can get by with doing a minimum, and so we’ll see that occur as well. 

[00:05:38] That’s different, necessarily, in quiet quitting. I would say someone that’s a quiet quitter is maintaining their workload or the amount of work that they need to do to be successful. And so they’re not necessarily you know, trying to get away with stuff. And so, I’ll kind of highlight that in a moment here. 

[00:05:55] Here’s what we’ve seen happen over the past few years. So everyone kind of comes to us as we’re doing an employee survey with company, and they’ll say, What have you seen going on during the pandemic? What was interesting in 2020 when the pandemic set in around March, everyone was very concerned about safety. Everyone was working from home, or if you’re working on site, all these safety precautions were implemented. We added a lot of questions to most surveys around safety. Before it was mainly with manufacturing organizations and actually what we measured there is that organizations were doing well. People felt like organization cared about them and was looking out for their safety and had good precautions in place. 

[00:06:31] Diversity, equity and inclusion became very important, especially in June of 2020 as there was so much civil unrest in the US. You know, we had been asking questions around DEI for years with some companies and now most companies include these questions to understand if we have a diverse, or if people feel like there’s an equitable atmosphere or there’s a sense of inclusion. 

[00:06:54] Communication, productivity, collaboration. Also big concerns. The good news is in 2020 we saw you know, higher scores comparatively on these statements than we had seen before, especially around communication. Organizations were communicating a lot more. 

[00:07:07] Now it shifted in 2021. So we kind of got towards the end of the shutdown, so to speak, where you know, a lot of people were used to working from home, so WFH: working from home. And that was important to them, but there was a shift to get people back in the office. And so we started seeing towards the end of the year, organizations implementing their hybrid work policies. And there was a reaction to that. Some people weren’t happy, people that preferred working from home a hundred percent of the time thought there wasn’t a need, couldn’t justify it. So that was the topic that was most on people’s minds. 

[00:07:40] Workload increased because a lot of organizations had laid off some people, and so there were short staffed and then the economy picked up. So we’re still in the midst of this where we’re still trying to hire and re-staff at least to kind of keep up with the workload. That impacted retention. lot of people during the pandemic started looking around and wage sensitivity became important or became more acute as people were shopping around to kind of say, Hey, what should I get be getting paid now, and are there other opportunities?

[00:08:09] Diversity, equity and inclusion was still important and culture became more important as organizations were trying to understand, what does our culture look like? Now that we’re, we’ve kind of gone through this disruption? And working from home? And hybrid culture? And are we connecting? And… you know, so we’re trying to figure out, you know, how are people interpreting or thriving in our culture as a result.

[00:08:31] Now this year it’s been interesting because flexibility has really been a hot topic and very important to people. So this is that kind of hybrid work environment, working from home, working in the office. And so it has taken higher priority and people trying to figure that out and navigate that and implement various work from home policies.

[00:08:49] Retention’s still a major issue. How do we keep people. I’ll talk about retention topics here in a moment. DEI kind of merged with culture because this idea of being diverse and inclusive is kind of tied to also a healthy culture now. 

[00:09:04] Workload is still important and wellbeing is becoming more of a hot topic, and this ties into quite quitting because people more concerned about their overall wellbeing, as opposed to, you know, joining the rat race sort of thing. 

[00:09:18] All right, so that’s kind of the lay of the land. Now let’s kinda look at how we would say, you know, we’ve been measuring employee engagement for the past 26 years and we’re trying to understand how do quiet quitters kind of fit into this definition or this idea of engagement. Because we would say, according to this definition or DecisionWise definition here, it’s really an emotional state where you feel passionate and energetic about your work.

[00:09:42] So it’s a feeling as well as an outcome. So when you feel engaged, you will want to invest your best selves. We say your heart, spirits, minds, and hands in the work that you do. But it’s this idea of discretionary effort, right? So if you’re more engaged, then you’re gonna provide more discretionary effort in your job. You’re gonna work harder, maybe work longer, contribute more.

[00:10:03] And if you’re a quiet quitter, then you’re saying, well, basically I’m kind of removing that discretionary effort off the table. I’m providing less effort or a standard level of effort to meet the expectations of my role. 

[00:10:14] As we’re measuring this, we find that there’s kind of two ,components that really factor into the employee experience.

[00:10:22] One is this foundational level of satisfaction with your job. So when you’re thinking about this, these are elements like pay and benefits, safety, workload, stress. If those things are on par with your expectation, you will feel satisfied with your work and you will tend to stay longer at an organization. So satisfaction is important because it drives retention. 

[00:10:43] And then engagement really grows off of this foundation. So if these things are in par with your expectations, you don’t necessarily think about them. If they’re not on par, they’re detractors from your engagement. Engagement then is really feeling passionate about your work. And so we always look at factors like meaning and impact and connection as drivers of engagement that help drive performance. And so if you experience more meaning or growth opportunities, you’ll tend to be more engaged in your job. 

[00:11:12] When we measure engagement, we separate people kind of into these different groups. Now, we use a subset of questions on the survey, we call them anchor questions, to understand this level of passion and energy towards the work. And generally, if people are saying strongly agree to these statements, we would say that they’re fully engaged in their work. So highly motivated, strong discretionary effort, organization, pride and so on.

[00:11:35] If you’re saying agree to those statements, we’d call you a key contributor. So generally satisfied, you’re strong and steady, you’re delivering. You know, again, no, performance problems essentially with these workers. Sometimes though, people are answering more neutral to these statements and we see in our global database about 18% of the population fall into this group.

[00:11:53] Now over the years, it fluctuates a bit. We’ve seen it go up to like 78% engagement to 76% engagement, but it’s been pretty consistent over the years as we’ve been measuring this. 

[00:12:05] And then there’s this last group, people that are kind of disagreeing with these statements we ask about their overall job experience and we call those the fully disengaged group. So bored, frustrated. This is where we might find the quit and stay group that I described earlier. 

[00:12:19] Now I’ll show you some data from these groups. So if we’re saying, you know, 18% of the population is in this opportunity group, well, what else are they saying on the other survey questions that we ask?

[00:12:28] Now these are the bottom five. So these are the questions that are kind of bothering people that are in this opportunity group. And when we say disagree and strong and disagree, so 37% of the people of this 18% of people in our database, and it’s a huge data, you know, millions of responses are in here, they would disagree with this statement. They either said, disagree or strongly disagree to this question about we work effectively across departments and functions. 

[00:12:51] 37% disagreed with the statement about communication. And then you can see 36% disagreed with the statement about professional growth and advancement opportunities. And also senior leaders understanding what’s going on. So, not surprisingly, you know, communication questions tend to score lower in our database than other items, but these growth and advancement questions kind of stand out specifically or particularly for this group, if you’re in this opportunity group. So this is kind of what’s detracting or bothering people if you’re less engaged. Now, there’s others on the list. I’m only showing the top five. I’ve got some more to show you here in a moment. But that really stands out on those with the most disagreement. 

[00:13:27] Now I’ll also show you the fully disengaged, so those that are fully disengaged in our database. And again, this is from 2018 to 2021. More disagreement here. So 76% of these, 5% of the people in our database, they said disagree or strongly disagree to “I’m satisfied with opportunities for professional growth in this organization.” 71% disagreed about senior leaders understanding what’s going on. And here’s this advancement question again. 71% disagreed. So you’ll notice there’s a lot of similarity between the list, couple differences here about valuing employee input and feeling like I belong here with this fully disengaged group. But both professional growth and advancement appear for both of these groups.

[00:14:04] So if you’re less engaged in your work, here are some of the things that are bothering you. We call these detractors of engagement. This is what we want to maybe, you know, fix with the folks that we’re seeing that are less engaged. And again, it’s not surprising if you’re not seeing really a path for yourself in an organization. In the future, you will tend to be less engaged in your work. 

[00:14:25] All right, so let’s look at some more perceptions. We’re focused on this workload and burnout topic as kind of the reason why people are kind of quiet quitting, so to speak, in their work. Now, looking at our group that we call the Opportunity Group, again, these people are more neutral about their overall engagement. We’re seeing this distribution of scores around these topics of workload, work life balance, and stress. What this is saying is 44% of the people in this group, this is 18% of our total population in our database, 44% agree. They said, agree or strongly agree. 26% said neutral and 29% said disagree or strongly disagree on a five point scale.

[00:15:05] So you can see these perceptions are relatively low as well. More disagreement, less agreement on these statements if you’re in this opportunity group. So this is having an impact as well. So we always say, there’s a satisfaction element. You know, these are the stress workload topics. If this isn’t working for you, it’s hard to engage in your work.

[00:15:24] More data. Looking at our database, again, we ask these common questions around people’s intent to stay with an organization. So maybe you’re a quiet quitter and you are gonna stay. Here, we’re also saying, Well, what are some of the drivers or questions that really mark whether someone’s gonna stick around with your organization or not?

[00:15:43] Over the past three years, you can see I’m confident that this organization has a successful future, 85% agreement with this statement when we’re looking at our entire global database. So this is all engagement levels, not just the opportunity group now. 

[00:15:57] It went up a bit in 2021. So this is interesting. So during the pandemic, 88% agreed with that statement, and now it’s dipped a bit and this could be maybe because there’s, you know, the talk of the recession in the future. There’s a little bit of uncertainty in the market and so we’re seeing a slight dip overall in the first six months of the data we’ve collected so far this year.

[00:16:19] Recommending this is a great place to work. Pretty steady. 78% agreement, again, in 2022 is similar to what we saw in the past two years. And then here’s another question, choosing to remain with this organization. Even if the job was similar pain benefits were available elsewhere. It’s dipped. It went down three points. Now that’s pretty significant looking at our entire database that includes millions of responses. So, people’s intent to stay has changed a bit in the first six months of this year comparatively. And again, it’s kind of an outcome of work life balance, working from home policies, or working in the office policies and things like that. And also some uncertainty in the market. If people feel like their job is a little bit more unsafe, in other words, not as secure, they will tend to look around more for other opportunities 

[00:17:04] right, let’s look at work life balance questions. So again, same statements we saw earlier. We looked at these for the opportunity group. This is our entire database over the past three years here. So we’re looking at everyone that’s taken a survey with us over the past three years. Promoting reasonable work life balance. A dip. So 78%. So again, as we’re seeing more of a stress to kind of get back in the office and resume normal work, you know, pre pandemic perceptions are shifting a bit lower on this statement about our organization promoting balance.

[00:17:35] My job allows me to maintain healthy balance between work and personal life. So a slightly different question we ask. It’s dropped a bit too since 2021. Workload is holding steady, 69% of the population saying agree or strongly agree to this statement about the amount of work I’m expected to do is reasonable. And the level of stress slight increase. 66% agreement on this statement. 

[00:17:59] So you can see it’s interesting, you know, stress and workload still kind of a factor in the results that we’re seeing. And we’re seeing this also in various populations, especially when we parse the results out between managers and non-managers. Manager results or perceptions on these two bottom questions about workload and stress. Their perceptions are lower than non-managers right now. They’re feeling kind of the brunt, they’re buffering their employees. And so there’s a lot of stress and workload with that group. 

[00:18:28] So how do we measure this? I’ve shown you some questions already. I’m gonna talk about some additional questions to measure around stress. So we’re talking about stress you know, level of stress and my job is manageable. This is a question we’ve been using for years. It’s very well benchmarked. We’ve got some good data behind it, and it really helps to understand stress. Typically, we find this question is tied to that workload question, the level, amount of work I have is reasonable, but other times it’s related to other things. We saw this emerge during the pandemic where people didn’t feel safe sometimes in their work environment. You know, level protection, things like that, or if they’re interacting with customers a lot that causes stress. So there’s sometimes other reasons. A lot of times it’s related to workload. 

[00:19:12] So then can I speak up and talk to my supervisor? Are they kind of supportive, is what we’re trying to measure here. So a lot of times we can help mitigate or manage stress locally through the supervisor interaction. Can I speak up? Again, this kind of ties to a supervisor interaction here, and so on. So those are some ways to kind of get at stress. Are there any relief valves for stress in the organization? And so on. And this also ties into the wellbeing topic. 

[00:19:37] Now, workload. We talked about this one already. Measuring the amount of workload I’m expected to do is reasonable.

[00:19:43] This is interesting too because, you know, workload is relative to people. Reasonableness is relative to people. So some people can handle a high level. Others not so much. 

[00:19:53] Do we have effective ways to balance workload and stress on my team? So that’s a good question to say, Hey, are we talking about this? Do we meet regularly? Do we collaborate and kind of distribute the workload? 

[00:20:05] And then again, we saw this question earlier that we’ve been measuring: what’s your organization doing to encourage healthy balance between work and personal life? And so this gives you some good data to understand these perceptions.

[00:20:17] All right, Another set of questions, wellbeing. Health and wellbeing. We started asking this question a lot more during the pandemic to see if people felt like there was a lot of concern for, you know, my wellbeing overall and this kind of ties into I feel cared about and so on. But again, this is an important topic, more around the stress and workload question.

[00:20:36] This is an interesting question that we don’t use too frequently, but I really like it. You know, my work contributes to my overall level of happiness and wellbeing. It’s a little bit of a harder question and it’s an important one though too because again, you know, we spend most of our time working. \ Is it really contributing to happiness? 

[00:20:53] And then finally, do I feel psychologically safe at work? You know, we ask in general, do I feel safe at work? And when we’re talking about safety, but this is the psychologically safe question. It ties a lot in with feeling like you have a voice, like you can speak up, for example and be heard.

[00:21:10] And a couple comment questions. So, what can be done to better manage stress and workloads? We wanna get specifics about what people are asking about and what you might see. You might see a lot of responses here about, you know, more opportunities to work from home. Hire more people. Staffing is a problem right now. So you might anticipate some of the responses you would get in your organization to this question. 

[00:21:32] And then we kind of also ask kind of a positively worded question. So what are we doing that is helping to manage stress and workloads? So let’s keep doing some of the things that are working and let’s add maybe some more things to the list that could help.

[00:21:45] And then finally, you know, I talked about engagement before. Here are three questions that we use typically to measure the overall level of engagement to kind of give us a benchmark or that split that we saw between the different engagement groups about how engaged people are. Again, if they’re saying strongly agree to these questions, we’d say they’re fully engaged. If they were just saying agree, they’d be in that key contributor group and so on. If they’re more neutral, that opportunity group we saw before. So this gives us the overall level of engagement. And then once you know, You can parse your data to look at those that are less engaged or fully engaged. Like what’s the profile of these different people and how do they answer the rest of the questions to the survey?

[00:22:24] So it really helps you to really factor in like fully engaged people or very happy with the level of impact that they’re having or the meaning that they’re experiencing in their work. But if you’re disengaged, you know, we saw growth and advancement kind of show up on that list.

[00:22:39] And then intent to stay. You know, we saw a couple of these questions already. You know, choosing to remain, would I recommend this organization is a great place to work. These are real strong indicators of people’s intent to stay. And I’m gonna do another presentation next month to really explore this in greater detail. But the idea is if people are answering these questions less affirmatively, in other words, if they’re more neutral or disagreeing, then what is the result? Do they leave the organization later? So one thing you can do with your employee survey data that I highly recommend is, let’s say you did your employee survey in January. Six months later, take your termed employee list and load that back into your data as a demographic and identify the responses of those that left the organization since the survey was taken.

[00:23:25] So you’re trying to say if these people were thinking of leaving, what were their perceptions before they left? And let’s see what the differences are between those that stayed. You’ll find some really interesting trends and results in your data that way, and we’ve got some good benchmark data that I’ll share on our next webinar to show you what we are seeing with our clients that have done this. 

[00:23:44] All right now, engagement changes. And so what we see is people’s perceptions about their job you know, increase or decrease, and so it’s not static, right? And most times if you’re doing an annual employee survey, You know, you’re taking a picture in time.

[00:23:58] You can do pulse surveys to kind of keep a tab on this more frequently. But it’s interesting to see that a lot of times, you know, in this data set from 2019 and 20, it’s a small data set, but with an, with a company, we can look at the percent or the number of people that we would deem as fully engaged. There were 68 people in this group. And then let’s see what happened a year later. Did they remain engaged? Did they become less engaged? So this data allows us then to say, well, yeah, 88 people this year are fully engaged compared to 68 last year. That’s good. So we saw an increase. We saw an influx from the next tier down from this key contributor group, there’s a larger influx of people that became fully engaged, and then a few people from this opportunity group crept up here as well. So good. We’ve changed some perceptions. People are having a better experience, more engaged in their work. 

[00:24:48] We can see the key contributor group, you know, 150 over here on the right hand side. It got a little smaller. There’s a big, you know, swath of people that remained. Some dipped down into the opportunity group. Some didn’t participate this year. Maybe they left the organization. Some became less engaged, and so there’s, you know, small groups that kind of migrate back and forth. What we’re trying to do is change the perceptions, a lot of these people in this opportunity group to kind of become a key contributor or even fully engaged. 

[00:25:14] So again, there’s movement. You can test these perceptions. You can kind of see what the factors or drivers are that are helping people kind of reengage in their work. So you can get some good data and insight in terms of what behaviors or interventions are making the most impact.

[00:25:31] All right, so let me kind of get to the end of our webinar here. So now I’ve got about, five minutes here of recommendations to provide to you. So as we’re talking about quiet, quitting what do we need to do?

[00:25:43] So, The first item here is this performance management topic. So when people, for example, you’re a manager and you notice that your employee, for example, is stopped replying to emails after hours, or is kind of logging off at 5:00 PM if they’re working from home and they’re not able to be contacted or maybe they’re not volunteering for more projects or whatever.

[00:26:05] Basically it’s a performance management issue. So if you feel like they’re not performing up to expectations and you need to have a conversation. If they’re at expectations but not exceeding expectations, you also need to talk about that. ” You know, I’m seeing that before, you were, you know, a star performer, always exceeding expectations, but now I see you just kind of doing enough to get by or just meeting expectations in general, what’s going on?” So that conversation matters. And that kind of ties into manager check-ins. Maybe the person says, Yeah, listen, I’m just trying to meet expectations here, but I’m busy now, or I’ve got family situations, or, I really enjoy my work life balance. So I don’t want to go above and beyond. I just want to do my work and kind of go home and shut off at the end of the day. 

[00:26:47] That might make you as a manager upset because that’s not how we do things around here, or that’s not the expectation that’s been there. But in a way, it is what it is. And so if they are meeting expectations you know, you can choose to keep them or let them go. But a lot of times we say that experience, that expertise they have is more important than maybe the additional contribution you’re losing. 

[00:27:09] You might also be able to convince them or have them or find out what might reinvigorate them or is there something special they could do as a result? So, I think at first people might say, Oh yeah, quiet quitting. I’m gonna do that. And so they take a harder stance, but then they loosen up a bit when they feel like they have better work life balance. 

[00:27:29] You know, good question here about, can you speak on how maintaining boundaries with work life balance and not be seen as quiet quitting? I think that’s a good question because as an employee, you might be saying to your manager, “Hey, listen, I’ve gotta reset expectations here because I’ve been killing myself over the past year. You know, we’ve been understaffed. I just can’t keep up the pace anymore. It’s stressing me. You know, my, my anxiety is high, whatever, stress is high.”

[00:27:55] And so in a way you can just say, I’m not quite quitting. I’m still gonna be doing my job and delivering excellent work, but I can’t take on additional assignments or, you know, I gotta move this project to someone else, whatever the case might be. So it will be at difficult conversations in some cases, but you know, it factors in.

[00:28:12] Another good comment here you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires federal GS employees to not respond to emails after hours. Yeah. If you’re in federal government, there are, you know, better regulations there too. And so, you know, there, there’s certain things legally that you can and can’t do that might, some managers we’re getting away with in private, in the private sector. It’s a common practice a lot of times, so, yeah. Good question. 

[00:28:35] The big thing I see, especially in our employee survey results is staffing. And so the reason why people are kind of quiet quitting is because, you know, we’ve lost a couple people on the team. Now I’m taking on additional responsibility and I’m not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel here. We haven’t got approved to hire for that position yet. And so I’m gonna be the one picking up all the slack. Well, in response people, you know, employees can say, Listen, it’s not fair. We’re just gonna let some stuff drop, right? So I can’t do everything and I’m not gonna kill myself to keep doing it if the company’s not gonna hire.

[00:29:06] So that’s also another outcome here, where as a manager you have to kind of figure out. Yeah, you know, maybe we can’t, we don’t have the output we once did because we are short staffed and that’s just an outcome of what’s going on in the market right now. To respond to that though, staffing is important, but realize that it does take a while to get someone up to speed and kind of have that impact the other employees.

[00:29:30] Meaningful work comes in. We always say meaning is one of the strong drivers of engagement. And so sometimes people feel like they’re doing a lot of extra mundane work that isn’t fulfilling. And so, if they have more meaningful experiences now, won’t we? You can’t always have every meaning, you know, all your tasks can’t be meaningful. But as long as there are some additional ones, where it’s peppered into your work week, where you felt like you’re doing something that’s meaningful, that helps to engage people in their work and kind of provide extra effort and really do their best. 

[00:30:03] Both opportunities. We saw that earlier. So not only advancement or career growth. So part of it is a manager, for example, setting expectations around what it means to advance in the organization and what it takes. And also timetables, because some people say, Well, you know, I did everything you told me to. I’m ready for my promotion now, and there’s just nothing available. So that’s another conversation to have, but growth in general, like, am I learning? Am I improving? Do I feel like I’m getting better at something? That’s also very engaging. 

[00:30:33] Working from home, you know, so more working from home for some people. So what we’re seeing is that there is a spectrum of people that wanna get back to the office and interact with people and others that would prefer to work at home full time, no problem.

[00:30:48] So figuring that out for your employees, what’s the right mix for them? Is there more flexibility? Working from home a lot of times is a great way for people to kind of catch up, get everything done. Because they’re not so distracted in the office. 

[00:31:01] And if you are in the office having better experiences. So sometimes, as we’re saying, implementing our hybrid work policy, you know, we want you in the office a couple days a week, and then you show up and nobody’s here. Or it’s it’s kind of crazy. You know, you come to the office and now you’re peppered with all kinds of questions and interrupts your work. So how do we create good collaborative experiences when we are in the office together? 

[00:31:23] All right, what to decrease. And I welcome more suggestions here too. So if you want to add to this list, please provide them in the comments. Another comment here, you know, communicating expectations versus not talking about it at all is a great option for both parties. And I think that’s really true. A as we’re talking about, you know, what, you know, are we noticing a difference? Let’s talk about it and make sure we align expectations. 

[00:31:47] All right, so decrease. There’s this topic now, you know this, you know, the hustle culture we talked about earlier in the presentation. A lot of times I see this urgency for the sake of urgency that just doesn’t work, right? People get burnt out on this and I think as managers, you know, we might feel that, hey, you know, I see someone sitting around not doing much work, or maybe they weren’t logged in for an hour or something working from home, and so, hey, they’re not, you know, they’re not contributing or really, you know, doing what they’re getting paid to.

[00:32:15] There’s ups and downs, right? So work gets busy. Sometimes there’s some slow days. Those are good, that having fluctuation helps people kind of reset and reengage in their work. So if it’s always on a hundred percent, you know, all the time, it can burn people out. And if you’re a manager that’s always kinda looking for things to keep people busy, that can also be demotivating.

[00:32:37] You know, after work requests. We touched on this a bit already. This kind of talks, this is to that urgency piece too. In a way, you know, it’s fine to send emails after work hours, but to expect a response unless it’s urgent, you know, an urgent, you know, fire to put out, then I would say you gotta be careful. Use those sparingly. And if it’s a common practice, it works with some people, but this is changing. People are feeling like, Hey, this is my personal time now. 

[00:33:03] Another one is goals for the sake of goals. And the example I have here are bonus programs that de-incentivize. What this means is, say at the beginning of the year, you put together your performance metrics, your goals for the year, and you outline a plan. There’s certain you know, KPIs that you’re working towards throughout the year. What typically happens is six months into the year, those KPIs, some of them become irrelevant, and so now you have a list of maybe five goals that you’re trying to hit. Two of which are no longer pertinent to what you’re trying to do, priorities have changed.

[00:33:34] But the problem is you can’t change that on your list in some cases. And so people are kind of held to, Hey, if I wanna hit my bonus at the end of the year, I’ve gotta achieve these five KPIs. But two of them are irrelevant and kind of busy work now, but I have to complete them in order to get a 2% raise. So they look at that and say, Well, it’s not worth it. I don’t care. You know, maybe I’m just going to be a quiet quitter and do what it takes to get my job done, and I’m not gonna worry about a 2% increase, which isn’t even keeping up with inflation. So that’s where I say, you know, goals for the sake of goals. Bonus programs that are too structured and de-incentivize in the long run. 

[00:34:15] You know, working in a collaborative office or working in a disruptive or empty office. We’ve touched on this as well. So again, you know, evaluating your work from home policies. Now put down here pointless work from home policies. I’m seeing a lot in employee survey results and comments, for example, where people will say, Hey, our work from home policy is not fair. Some departments get more time at home, others don’t, or you know, this idea of coming in on Tuesdays is stupid and you know, it interferes with whatever. You know, again, there’s been a lot of change and fluctuation in terms of how organizations are trying to navigate working from home, working in the office, and we’re figuring those out. So again, be sensitive to that and see how that’s working within your organization. 

[00:35:00] All right. Another thing I’ll show is kind of this model, you know, putting it more together as an organization plan. When people think about their employee experience, I’ll refer you to kind of the middle box here. It’s a 50 50 proposition where people can choose to engage in their work. So here we have, you know, we create an experience, people choose to engage. We get these outcomes of these different engagement levels that I touched on earlier.

[00:35:26] Well, what goes into this proposition? How do we create a good experience? Well, part of it is leadership excellence and typically in smaller organizations, this is the executive leadership where they are aligned on strategies and goals and decisions. They’re communicating well, you know, you’re visible, accessible, you know, you’re basically kind of helping to shape the organization, but you’re walking the talk. So, you know, we have a set of values. Do senior leadership really model those values?

[00:35:52] In the middle are more of the structural elements and. HR is involved a lot here when we’re talking about systems and incentives and leadership programs. Also, I see this as like collaboration across the organization. These items help promote, but also can be detractors of engagement. So they kind of get in the way sometimes if there’re seeing like there’s too much bureaucracy or politics, you know, things like that kind of emerging. And then most of the experiences really at the manager or team level, so we always say, you know, manager interaction is very important here. Most people we find in our survey results are really happy with the team that they work with. You know, we collaborate, we get along. And so that’s generally not a problem. Most managers also do a good job in organizations. We see generally on teams pretty high perceptions about the interaction people are having with their boss.

[00:36:41] Some though, we find like 10, 20% of managers and organizations, we see lower scores there. So you gotta focus in on those teams or areas. But that’s generally what we see. And if the manager does a good job of maybe balancing or mitigating some of the communication that’s coming down from above, they can also help augment that experience so people can be more engaged.

[00:37:02] We also say in this kind of 50 50 proposition, some people are more apt to engage in the work that they do. So they’re more kind of inclined to engagement. Others are less inclined. We find about, like 50% of people though are able to be influenced in their engagement. You know, you have your, some workers that are always engaged and others that it’s really hard to engage. So it is a mix, but generally we see as these things play out in good ways, we see better outcomes around engagement. 

[00:37:31] So I just want to touch on a couple of the other comments here. So, a good comment here from Christine about what contributes to quiet quitting mentality, that the unhealthy sedentary nature of much work done in telework eligible positions.

[00:37:46] So the idea is the employees just expected to sit in front of a laptop screen for hour after hour, monitoring emails, responding to jab or so on. But employees are advised to get up every hour, walk in a circle, you know, move your blood around, things like that. So, That’s really important. You know, if it, the monitoring, gosh, that gets back to, you know, if we got people working from home, you know, we’re worried about productivity. And so we implement these monitoring services or devices to understand are people at their computer? Is there mouse pointer moving? Am I seeing activity? Are they typing? You know, so we’re trying to get the most productivity out of people when they’re working from home instead of measuring, are they really delivering on what we’ve hired them to do in terms of output? And so as we started measure activity versus output, that’s demotivating for people. They will see it as kind of a big brother mentality. And so if they have to sit at their computer and keep their mouse moving throughout the entire day, that’s exhausting and not productive.

[00:38:43] People do need breaks. We don’t work that way normally. So requiring it really puts a damper on people’s motivation. So again, as a manager, it comes back to that idea of performance management and how we are expecting what we expect of our employees and are they really delivering, Are we as productive?

[00:39:00] One cool finding we did see in our employee survey data is that productivity working from home remained high, in some cases improved, and people felt like they were more productive a lot of times. So again, let’s not undercut our efforts by focusing on the wrong thing when we’re talking about engagement and productivity and output overall. So those are important distinctions to make in the results. 

[00:39:25] Alright, so let me just wrap up here. So, again as we’re looking at this, thanks for your questions and your feedback. I do wanna plug, you know, it’s funny, a lot of times we’ll do these presentations and people ask you do employee surveys. Yes, we do. Many organizations all around the world. So if you’re looking for a solution or want to engage with DecisionWise, get some pricing, just let us know. You know, I’ve talked a lot about our annual employee engagement survey data. But we also supplement that a lot with these life cycle surveys around onboarding, pulsing, and exit.

[00:39:52] So thanks everyone for participating today. Thanks for your contributions and I wish you the best of luck as you navigate this. This is a difficult time as we’re trying to kind of come out of this pandemic, we’ve got kind of a hotter economy that we experienced earlier in the year. Hiring is tough right now. Retention is tough right now. And now we’re looking at somewhat of a recession and we’re not quite sure, a lot of uncertainty. So as you measure, as you’re thinking about this, understanding your employee perceptions are really important to maintain and decrease turnover, but also to create a great workplace that’s gonna be attractive to other people that you’re trying to hire for.

[00:40:31] So, tune into the next webinar. I’ll have a lot more data to share around retention and what we’re seeing as drivers of retention in organizations and what you can do about it as well. Thanks everyone. Signing off for now.

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