HRD Roundtable Report: Calling time on quiet quitting – overcoming change fatigue through competitive differentiators
- 6 Min Read
We’re amid, what many are justifiably calling “the winter of discontent,” with the sentiment being felt acutely across workforces following years of unpredictability. One of the biggest concerns to people leaders is the impact it’s having on ‘quiet quitting’ numbers as employees are losing their ability to cooperate with continued disruption in the face of […]
We’re amid, what many are justifiably calling “the winter of discontent,” with the sentiment being felt acutely across workforces following years of unpredictability. One of the biggest concerns to people leaders is the impact it’s having on ‘quiet quitting’ numbers as employees are losing their ability to cooperate with continued disruption in the face of an overwhelming sense of fatigue.
What’s the most significant contributor causing employees to consider ‘quiet quitting’? What strategies or approaches should people leaders consider that would beneficially impact employees?
On Thursday 23rd March 2023, HRD Connect hosted a group of senior HR and people leaders to discuss this topic in a virtual roundtable led by Rishita Jones, author, keynote speaker and international consultant specialising in the future of work. She was supported by Richard Doherty, Senior Director at Workday.
The group explored several topics, including the impact of quiet quitting on organisations, how Covid-19 has impacted the job market and workplace culture, as well as the importance of understanding individual employees and using surveys effectively to gather feedback. The session was conducted under Chatham House rules, so while this write-up will highlight key discussion points and takeaways, all participants are anonymised.
The impact of quiet quitting
The roundtable discussion began with participants highlighting the significant impact quiet quitting has had on organisations, causing employees to lose motivation to operate – and cooperate – in the face of constant change. One member brought up how the Covid-19 pandemic was the tipping point that changed the job market considerably. Candidates became harder to come by, but jobs remained available, leading to counteroffers and lucrative salaries. This change was especially difficult for inexperienced consultants who had only ever worked in a pre-Covid-19 environment. Additionally, the “Covid-19 hangover” persists in terms of finding a new normal that allows for an effective work-life balance.
The group agreed on the importance of understanding individual employees and using tools like surveys and sentiment analysis to gather feedback to continuously improve the work environment. One member reflected on their experience with pulse surveys, and another explored their methods in trying to find ways to get closer to employees who may not be answering surveys. The company is still working to ensure talent does not feel forgotten, especially in the context of hybrid working. Overall, the group acknowledged the value of feedback and the need to continuously improve and adapt to avoid demoralizing employees.
Managing change effectively
The group also talked about a flex model for hybrid working and how badging data could be used to gain insight into workforce trends and identify segments of the workforce that are not coming into the office. The discussion also touched on the effects of change management and increased workloads on employee resentment and engagement. The consensus was that smaller changes can lead to fatigue and that change management is an underestimated and undervalued skill. The struggles of managers adapting to hybrid working and recreating workplace culture in a remote environment was a general challenge discussed among the group.
Finding a hybrid model that works for you
Participants dug deeper into their experiences with hybrid work models. One participant described their company’s transition from working entirely in the office to working entirely from home and then to a hybrid model. However, they noted that some employees are still more comfortable working from home and that collaboration can be difficult.
Another participant explained how their company allowed employees to decide when to come into the office for connecting, collaborating, or consulting, but without setting a fixed rule. They also expressed how volunteering activities and team-based events were used to encourage socializing.
Another member mentioned the challenges of working in a distributed team but described how they have established a schedule for working in the office, regular non-work-related team meetings, and quarterly social events. Overall, the participants agreed that finding the right balance in a hybrid model requires flexibility and consideration for employees’ preferences and needs.
Combatting employee dissatisfaction with empathetic leadership
The decline in engagement and employee satisfaction among the younger generation was a hot topic among participants, who agreed that poor management contributes to “quiet quitting”. Members echoed the importance of having good relationships with managers who possess the power to inspire, motivate, and support employees. They also discussed the impact of mental health on employee productivity and how managers can recognize signs of declining performance and address them early. One participant shared an example of how they implemented “collaboration Wednesdays” to encourage employees to work together in a more human way. There was a big emphasis on the value of building strong relationships between managers and employees and finding creative ways to maintain employee motivation and productivity.
A tailored employee experience to boost engagement
On the topic of combatting employee apathy, Richard introduced the use of employee journey mapping. This stressed the importance of understanding what employees experience during changes, specifically identifying the moments that matter to them and finding areas of improvement. He continued by sharing insights from his experience as an HR technologist, such as using natural language processing (NLP) to understand employee feedback, implementing the concept of an ‘eternal marketplace’ to give employees opportunities to grow, and running poll services to understand employees’ personas, needs, and challenges. Richard emphasized the need to tailor the employee experience to different target audiences and provide them with the necessary support to improve their engagement and satisfaction with their work.
Rishita concluded the roundtable by reflecting on the various initiatives shared by participants to re-energise the workplace, including launching a shadow board, reducing email communication, and using two different platforms for easy access to frequent communication. Richard highlighted the importance of having feedback loops and mechanisms to listen to employees regularly, and how technology can help address challenges before they become a significant problem. The values of trust and team cohesion in the face of change were deemed prized commodities during the ‘winter of discontent.’ Overall, the group had a great discussion and shared valuable takeaways.
To join future discussions please visit: HRDxWorkday UK Roundtable Series 2023 (hrdconnect.com)