A recent PWC report, based on research with 1,800 Australian workers, found that 38% are looking to quit their job in the next year. This substantial figure echoes the much talked about ‘quiet quitting’ trend, where, amidst the pandemic, many people began to reassess their relationship to work and disengage.
In this new era of workplace dynamics, employers can no longer afford to rely on their teams to remain motivated without making a deliberate investment. Our Managing Director, Sarah Thapa, shares her thoughts on why this is a business risk and what to do to make sure good people stay engaged for the long term.
Are your staff quietly quitting?
While the idea of quiet quitting went viral on TikTok last year, the much-talked-about phenomenon is not new. Even as the pandemic has had many people reassess their relationship with work, many have experienced feeling burned out or disengaged and as a result, not going the extra mile.
Sarah says that quiet quitting is essentially a problem of company culture. “This is a sign that the person is not in the right seat. They may have outgrown their role or found that their values do not align with those of the business. They are no longer acting in the interests of the business.”
How to pick up on cues
Many Australian businesses are seeing similar problems across their workforce. Good employers need to be aware if this is happening among their staff by keeping an eye out for the following:
- Is someone in your team not participating in meetings in the same way?
- Are they delivering work late or of lower quality?
- Are they not expressing enthusiasm for future goals or putting forward ideas on how to improve things?
All of these may be signs that they are no longer motivated and may be looking for a way out. But not to worry – not all is lost!
How to make sure good talent stays
“Given the quiet quitting trend is to do with a reassessment of work against other life priorities, employers should be thinking about how to offer more to their staff. The solution is not a straightforward equation of offering a high salary in exchange for the skills required,” said Sarah.
“Leaving a quiet quitter unattended is very destructive for a company. It impacts team performance and the business overall. As business leaders, we need to make bold moves and act on people issues, instead of doing nothing out of fear of losing that team member.”
PWC’s ‘What workers want’ report shows that while pay may be what attracts workers to roles initially, it is not necessarily what makes them stay – and this is especially true for women. Workers are increasingly looking for greater purpose and flexibility.
“Establishing a strong company culture, which includes a solid Employee Value Proposition (EVP), has worked for us. In HR terms, an EVP is key to a strategy for attracting and retaining talent – why they choose to work at your company. Think of it as how your employees would describe what they like about their job to their friends,” said Sarah.
Framework for a strong Employee Value Proposition
In order to maintain worker satisfaction over the long term, consider the following:
- Understand what matters to your employees
There can be a mismatch between what founders or managers think workers want and what they actually want. Don’t assume – use team meetings and anonymous surveys to work out what is important to your people. The Migration Agency does this through quarterly conversations with team members.
Take time to understand what they require at the day-to-day level and what future growth in their role looks like. Communication and accountability are key, so once a strategy is in place, report your progress back to your team.
- Ensure a work/life balance
One of the top reasons for quiet quitting is that people feel overworked. While some jobs are inevitably demanding, balance these obligations with flexible arrangements: consider flexible working hours, the ability to work from home, accrued days off and travel.
“The Migration Agency calls this ‘TMA Life’: doing what you love with people who you love (colleagues whose values align). We offer people extra time to pursue other passions: 1 week of additional leave, plus birthday and volunteer leave,” said Sarah.
- Live your values
Given that quiet quitting is to do with reflections on where work fits in with other areas of life, values and purpose are increasingly important. People will stay if they believe in what they do.
“Every company needs a set of core values that define who they are. Every time we onboard someone, I explain what an employee can expect from our company and what we expect from them. Values are more than a statement on a website, they need to inform all business decisions,” said Sarah.
- Shape your workplace together
“Sufficient face-to-face time to build connection and collaborate is crucial. A high-performance team has clear accountability, so there is nowhere to hide for a quiet quitter!
“Each person should know exactly what results they need to achieve in their role and that there is a system in place to share these across the business. Our scorecard is reviewed weekly to see if we are on track as a business and with individual contributions,” said Sarah.
- Formalise through policies and procedures
Don’t assume your EVP just happens. Once you’ve determined your approach, have a plan to execute and check in with your people regularly.
“At The Migration Agency, we have each other’s back. Each person getting their job done allows the rest of the team to do theirs. We don’t let underperformance impact others in the team or our customer service standards. Expectations should be clearly communicated by the business, expressed in policies and actively acted upon,” said Sarah.
“Our values are at the heart of all we do. They enrich our workplace culture and are key to keeping staff happy to come to work each day,” said Sarah.