Quiet Quitting is Killing Productivity

Organizations are facing challenges with productivity, communication, collaboration, soft skills, and leadership. Professional development and employee training can make all the difference.

by Loralyn & Amrit

In our previous blog, you read that businesses in the USA are losing close to $ 500 billion on their employees’ tendency to embrace quiet quitting. These employees are leaving to take other jobs. Gallup cites retention losses by American businesses at over $1 trillion. Grammarly and the Harris Poll estimate annual losses at $1.2 trillion due to poor communication. These same American businesses are losing over $1 trillion each year due to poor mental health – largely stress related to the job and tension in the workplace. And Slack has analyzed text threads to show that poor collaboration is resulting in $1.8 trillion in annual losses.

Whoa! That is a LOT of losses! We have no clue if those losses overlap but, it’s definitely a fair bet to say that, “American businesses are losing trillions of dollars each year due to low productivity, poor communication, ineffective collaboration, and stress in the workplace.” Some of this is related to poor leadership, but that’s not the only problem.

Quiet Quitting – Quick Recap

Quick recap: Quiet quitting is a new term, but it’s not a new phenomenon. The problem is that “slacking off” and “doing the bare minimum” has become widespread workplace behavior. Employees are increasingly becoming emotionally, intellectually, and ethically detached from the job – but not their paycheck.

On the flipside, a few business publications paint a positive picture of quiet quitting. Some employers cite that pulling back at work is a coping mechanism for workers to modulate their stress. And there’s a very fine line between “pulling back” and “not getting enough done.” It all depends on that subjective definition of how much is “enough.” Both sides lose – nobody wants to take on a job search.

Why is Productivity Tanking?

That brings up another point. Communication in the workplace – or the lack thereof – is one of the most critical factors behind losses in productivity. People spent so much time on their own cocooning in their own space during the pandemic that many are now struggling with interpersonal engagement. Numerous articles comment on the short fuse that is now omnipresent: today, people seemingly don’t have the patience to deal with anything. Or each other.

Coupled with that issue is the challenge of remote work. Sure, employees love it. Building owners and employers … well, not so much. With work-from-home (WFH), the volume of communication has declined. So has the quality. Communicating in person is challenging enough for some people – texting and email offer endless opportunities to be misunderstood. The lack of face-to-face interaction has also affected employees’ communication skills and social skills, further exacerbating the communication challenges in remote work settings.

One thing that employers and managers need to watch out for is duress in their employee. One of their staff may be struggling and in need of external support. Quiet quitting may only be a surface symptom, so look out for that and take care of your staff!

How Quiet Quitting Negatively Impacts Organizations

Let’s stay focused on the “general” cases of quiet quitting. The old adage, “one bad apple spoils the lot,” holds true. Quiet quitting is negatively impacting corporate culture, often making it toxic. Here are some of the negative ripple effects related to quiet quitting:

  • it adversely affects the morale of other hard-working and committed employees
  • it lowers the bar for other employees
  • it encourages absenteeism
  • it negatively impacts your organization’s efficiency and productivity
  • it causes delays and hiccups in ongoing operations
  • it discourages employees from excelling in their respective fields, and consequently, diminishes the overall intellectual wealth of your organization
  • it reduces your competitive advantage
  • it becomes difficult for you to achieve your organizational goals

Employee Training – a Problem and a Solution

Quiet quitting is like slow poison. As a manager or an employer, you don’t see your employees physically not working. They seemingly go about their daily tasks. But they are disengaged from the culture and the values of your organization. Mentally they have already quit. They are outsiders inside your organization.

This is a complex problem. Issues around leadership, recruiting, not asking the right interview questions, interviewing procedures, and talent acquisition strategies overall may all be at play. On the candidate’s side – perhaps even the interviewer’s side – varying abilities in social skills, communication skills, soft skills, interpersonal skills, and an inability to practice active listening may also be factors.

FYI — come back here next week as our blog will feature questions to ask in an interview to suss out those who may be predisposed to quiet quitting!

The good news is that the problem of quiet quitting can be solved in most cases. It mostly happens due to broken communication, and, in general, that can be fixed. Employees indulging in quiet quitting don’t seem to be able to communicate the disconnect they feel with their organization or express what they find troubling.

Employee training can make all the difference. People can learn to be better communicators and build their interpersonal skills so that they get along better with their co-workers. Professional development can help build self-confidence and enhance leadership skills, particularly around conscious leadership instruction. Training can set people on a path for personal and professional enrichment which then drives personal contentment (i.e. less quiet quitting) and greater productivity for the organization. But people need a program as a solution – giving them access to an LMS isn’t enough to drive sustainable change.

If you’ve already noticed quiet quitting in your organization, there’s probably a lot more going on behind the scenes that you haven’t seen. Assess your organization. Find out “where they are.” Make it quick. Make it painless. And report back to everyone in full transparency to start instilling the changes that you seek – and you just might even get ahead of the quiet quitting going right in front of you!



Photo by Tara Winstead: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-text-on-white-textile-8386730/



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