Webinar Rewatch: Quiet Quitters – how to re-engage before it’s too late

The current era has thrown up a lot of ‘never befores’ for care and healthcare organisations, unfortunately, many of them are not for the better. Months and months of upheaval and radical change in the workplace has resulted in a disconnected workforce like never before, now weighed down by another new phenomenon – ‘Quiet Quitters’.

Every care business has Quiet Quitters, the people who show up, switch the PC on and spend the work day wishing they were somewhere else. These are the same people who, not so long ago, were leading the way and contributing huge value to your organisation’s efforts.

Rewatch our webinar with workforce engagement expert, Gemma Bullock, and learn fast how to re-engage your Quiet Quitters before it’s too late and you lose some of your best staff to the competition and incur unwelcome costs to recruit and replace.

Act now and engage effectively to drive your organisation forward!

Transcript

Thank you everyone for attending, today’s webinar is on ‘quiet quitting’ and we’re going to try to do it in under 15 minutes, which is a little bit ambitious.

Let’s get into this, if you haven’t met me before, my name’s Gemma Bullock and I am an industry expert. I’ve worked in engagement, communications and culture roles now for eight years and I’m recognised as an NHS Community speaker expert and thought leader. You’re in safe hands and this is a subject I’m really excited to talk about and when my colleague Amelia brought it to my attention, I just thought this would be a topic for a webinar so I’m really excited to share that with you today.

Before we get started, my commitment is to try to stick to 15 minutes, I think I’ve got about 20 slides so we’re going to have to do it at quite a fast pace. If you’ve got any questions do pop those in the chat box and at the end I will answer them for you. And this is a webinar obviously around engagement topics so please be present so you get the most out of it. 15 minutes is not too long so put your phone down. It might be a nice little brain rest for you.

Please pay attention and we’ll dive straight into it and say what is ‘quiet quitting’? It has become so trendy recently, you’ll have seen it probably trending on LinkedIn. You might have seen some articles about it but what even is it and why is it a big thing at the moment? So ‘quiet quitting’ in essence is not quitting an organisation, but it is quitting anything that is above and beyond your job description, anything that is above and beyond the kind of bare minimum of what your job requires, so taking on no extra responsibility, taking on no extra tasks, taking on no extra time spent at work so really working to your dedicated hours and despite the name, the philosophy of work quitting is not connected to actual quitting. It’s working in an organisation but really doing exactly what that job requires and in essence, you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond.

I want to caveat all of what I’ve just said by saying there are lots of people out there who don’t even believe that ‘quiet quitting’ is a thing. What I want to do today is really open your ears and hopefully create some curiosity in you about this subject. I’m not here to tell you whether it is or it isn’t but it is definitely a trend and therefore we should really explore what that means for us as leaders. This really is a social media movement that came from TikTok. If you don’t know what TikTok is, it is an app, which is particularly popular with Gen Z and the younger generations and it became massive during lockdown and is one of the most popular social media apps in the world now. It’s full of short form content, so quick videos that last anything from 30 seconds to two minutes and there are millions and millions of them on there and you just scroll through and pick up that content. It is probably the most popular with the younger generations and TikTok will often create a lot of the trends that you see out there. Now you don’t necessarily see that many TikTok trends around engagement or work so this is probably a bit rare, but it is a social media movement and it came from a man called Brian Creeley. He is a career coach and a YouTube kind of guru with over 100,000 subscribers. He started this training in March when he shared an article by The Insider which was headlined ‘My company is not my family.’ Fed up with long hours, many employees have quietly decided to take it easy at work rather than quit their jobs.

In this video, which is about two minutes long, he explains why he thinks that’s a good course of action for you and why you should quietly quit and why you should take back control of your career and why you should really set some boundaries around work, focus on your well-being and do the bare minimum. Since then, that video has been watched millions and millions of times, but I went on TikTok yesterday and there are thousands and thousands of videos on this topic and most people are really for ‘quiet quitting’ and it has become very, very trendy. You’ll see that it’s been really big on social media, but you’ll also see that it has become really big in some of the kinds of thought leaders. Forbes Magazine has written many articles about this in terms of its financial implication, BBC News has covered it and the Financial Times have covered it. Gallup, who we quote for a lot of our engagement data have done lots of research on it to see how that kind of compares to engagement data. So are our people really ‘quiet quitting’ or is it just a social media trend? Tony Robbins, one of the best coaches in the world and somebody who I’m really fond of his work, has also covered it as well. 

It’s been covered on lots of spectrums. On LinkedIn, you will find a lot of articles about quiet quitting and so not only is it being covered on a social media platform, it’s also moved its way into professional platforms. I think it is quite important to say that it’s not just on social media. Some stats that might help you to see and and you’ll see in this webinar, I’m trying to keep this really balanced. I’m not for or against quiet quitting, I’m just trying to give you some facts around it. So we know from the Gallup State of the Workforce Report in 2022 that 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace, which would suggest that there is a cohort of people already quiet quitting, that only 15% of your people are really actively engaged. So what are the rest doing? Research suggests that the UK in particular struggles with this. Rates year on year of engaged employees only equate to 8% in the workforce and Gallup also thinks that at least 50% of the US workforce are already quiet quitting. That shows that that trend is starting to come through the data suggests that there has been a drop in engagement again, and also that there has been a drop in productivity which suggests that the quiet quitting trend is here. 

The younger workforce in particular have seen a particular drop. So 10 or more points dropped in the percentage you strongly agree that somebody firstly cares about them at work, somebody encourages their development at work, and they have opportunities to learn and grow at work and I think that’s quite staggering in terms of that work. And the last stat which I think is a great one to talk about in terms of this is that 69% of employees say that they would work harder if they were better appreciated. A lot of the quiet quitting trend is all around actually if you’re not recognised for your work, why bother doing extra? I think that statistic really shows that quiet quitting probably is happening. I think the other thing to consider is that there’s probably been a stage in most employees’ lives when they get to the end of their career in a particular sector or a particular job where they quietly quit and sit out of the last few months. Maybe when they’ve resigned, maybe when they start looking for a new job, and we know the great resignations happening right now. So when they just kind of disconnect a little bit from the organisation they do their job, they show up, but other than that they don’t try to connect to their colleagues or to their work. 

So that’s the other part where quiet quitting probably was already happening and now just this trend makes it more prominent is part of the question. We will see in the data of next year how prominent this is, but for now, there’s anecdotal evidence and just that it is happening and there’s enough evidence to suggest that it’s going to continue to happen. The concept is an old one and as The Simpsons always do, they predicted this and I think this really just made me chuckle yesterday but also it just shows the kind of attitude around it. Homer famously said in 1995 “Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t strike, you just go in every day and do it. Half-assed, that’s the American way!” That might be a cultural thing but it’s quite funny in terms of thinking about this and and is it just going to work and doing it and in kind of a half way but also just a bit of fun.

There were two sides of the same point here and I think we should just talk a little bit about where this comes from. There’s kind of two generations here with two very different views. There are the young generations particularly Gen Z that are the real adopters of quiet quitting and this comes from them being predominantly an anti-hustle culture movement. 

There has been for the previous few years a real drive for full hustle culture. Full hustle culture is that you wake up every day at 5am, you grind, you work hard, and I know there’s been criticism recently of influencers such as people like Kim Kardashian and I’m saying this because it’s culturally part of what’s going on there and who have said, you know, you’ve got the same 24 hours as Beyoncé. You can work harder. You’ve got to work harder to get where you want to get to and where we think work is coming from is the opposite. Actually, the Anti Hustle Culture, I don’t believe it’s great, it’s people that really want to boundary set and this is open to interpretation, whether they’re boundary setting too much, but it’s boundary setting so actually why work outside these hours and do extra work I’m not paid for etc.

Also this year around looking after your own wellbeing. Now it’s obvious to see why this would have come from you have to remember that Generation Z in particular are growing up in a pandemic and in some of their most prominent years. So that’s where that part can come from. There’s also the other side of the coin, which is around critics of the movement which tend to be older generations, but not always and this is people that believe that quiet quitting is an entitlement culture and it’s lazy or that the quiet quitting doesn’t actually exist at all. 

So there’s two sides of the same coin. Now I’m going to tell you which side of the coin is right. I think both parts of the coin have points that are really, really important. In the middle, is probably a sweet spot, which would help. Why has this happened? Why is it happening now? Why is quiet quitting becoming a trend right now?

Because many individuals feel overwhelmed, overworked and underappreciated and have felt this way for a few years now, so it comes from people not feeling recognised, appreciated or well paid at their work. Many people think that this has happened because of COVID-19 and the collapse of work/life boundaries. 

For example, during the pandemic people were asked to work remotely, to work hybrid and they basically brought that office into their home and with technology these days you could be contacted all day, all night, on weekends and suddenly the work-life boundaries that you had where you went to work from 9-5 then came home and collapsed has been made really really difficult. Many people believe that they also are not cared about as a human being or as an individual and they are more cared about as a number and the cost of living crisis is also really starting to have an impact on this because there are many people in the younger generations trying to buy houses, trying to move on in their lives but are struggling financially. They have struggled through the pandemic and now through a financial crash and the impact that has. These things are all things taken into consideration. When a trend happens like this, we really have to look at the inter external landscape and the culture in the world to see where this might have come from.

So what can you do about it? The first thing I want to say is please try to have empathy. As leaders, the best thing you can do, and you might be looking at all of this and going ”Gosh this is silly and we never had quiet quitting when I was working.”  But the best thing you can do is have empathy, compassion and understanding and try to support your colleagues. This is in my view the most underrated leadership qualities: having empathy, having compassion and being there for your people. What you need to do with quiet quitting and anything else, is just having a little look and trying to be curious, try to understand the perspective of your employee. 

The next thing I wanted to go through and I’m sorry to take you back to Leadership School, is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I always go back to this because I think it really teaches you the basic needs of your people. These are all Foundation Building Blocks, if you haven’t seen them to get people to this place of self-actualisation. I believe at the moment, we just have to have a little consideration of this. At the bottom your first foundation is your physiological needs and this is the need for food, water, warmth and rest. This is a basic need that all humans need to be able to thrive and during the cost of living crisis and let’s just get real with this, we are in a helping care setting, there will be nurses or carers who during this winter who will have to use a food bank and that is awful. This means the physiological needs are being shaken and there will be concern, there will be worry, fear and anxiety where that need is not being met. Secondly, your safety needs are the next foundation and the next building block. During  a winter when we’re set to have Australian flu and another peak of COVID do people really feel that they are safe or secure in the workplace? Or are they worried? Again, that can be another foundation shake up. So those are two needs that I think are really going to be shaken by winter and the cost of living crisis. But where does the quiet quitting trend come into this?

I believe it comes into it in this box here around psychological needs. Are people’s psychological needs being met in the workplace? The first one is around belonging and connection. Have they got friendships so they have great connections at work and they’ve got good colleagues at work? Do they feel part of something? Quiet quitting often comes because people were staying at home working remotely and they’ve lost the office environment. They have lost speaking to their colleagues. They have lost that connection with the 2 metre social distancing and putting a mask on. Esteem needs are the need to feel prestige and feeling this other accomplishment and this is all around recognition and quiet quitting often comes to people being unrecognised for their work and undervalued. I think again where this is coming from is these needs not being met, the foundations have been shaken and as leaders, more attention needs to go to those areas in order to get people back to the place where they are feeling self-fulfilled and where they can achieve their full potential at work. This is why quitting has this decline in terms of productivity within your organisation. Something to consider is which needs of your employees are not being met and how can you as a leader help in any of those areas to help that need be met within the workplace

Finally, here are some tips to support you and with this. The first thing I want to talk about is finding a way to keep your colleagues connected and meeting that psychological need, particularly when they work remotely or hybrid, or they work in the office one day a week. How do you find a way to keep your colleagues connected? Obviously at Ryalto we would recommend the Ryalto app. I think it’s the best way for it. Also how do you find that way to keep those colleagues connected? Also trying to find a way to connect your colleagues to something greater: a mission, a purpose, a calling. Where is our organisation going? What is that, why and how are we all collectively a part of getting to this level and meeting those goals. Make the mission greater than the everyday work, let people see a vision for your organisation.

The next one is obviously the thing I keep harping on about- recognition. No one has ever sat on their sofa at night and said they’ve been thanked too much. No one’s ever done it: recognise your people’s successes, celebrate their achievements, give them a great performance review where you tell them all of their achievements that year and you get them to celebrate and say thank you, almost too much. Be really thankful and grateful for your colleagues’ work and appreciate what they’re doing. Also, recognition can come when somebody’s presenting something to you or talking to you about something and you actually listen. If somebody’s presenting an idea, they’ve been working on it for the past four weeks and they can see you typing on your phone or looking down then that’s not making them feel recognised. So think about that and think about platforms where you can recognise your people and celebrate them. Communicate and engage well with all members of the team and cut the hierarchy that exists in social and healthcare. Don’t just tell your people at the top the news, find a way you can give everybody news all at the same time so that everyone feels connected and everyone feels engaged which might be via the Ryalto Newsfeed, but find a way that you can engage in communicating with everyone. 

Ensure that you’ve got robust personal development plans individually for people to help them to work out where they’re going, help them to see what their goal is and how and help them to find the steps that will help them to get there. When you invest in your people, they will invest so much back. When you’re not investing in them, they will tend to quiet quit.

Focus on colleagues’ wellbeing and wellness content as a priority because people are quitting because they don’t believe that you care about their wellbeing, so show them that you do but also as a leader you have to show that for yourself. Do you look after your own wellbeing? Do you have your own boundaries around that? Do you have those tips for them? Be that person that does that and be a leader. 

The last one is really important is to gather that regular feedback from your people, listen to it and act on it. We have a really good surveying tool within Ryalto that really works for this. I know it’s staff survey season. The reason people won’t fill in your survey is because they don’t think you did anything with last year’s survey. So find a way to get people to complete that survey and get that feedback but do something with it or at least communicate to them and say this is what you said, and these are our plans or this is why we can’t do anything about that one, but we have heard you or put on the priority list for 2025, but do something with that feedback and communicate that and engage that back to your workforce.

That is it from me and if there are any questions and I hope that’s giving you a good overview in terms of what ‘quiet quitting’ is and how you can spot it, some of the trends around it and what you can do in the future as well.

Thanks everyone.

Rob Swift: Would you recommend using the focused News section in Ryalto to help with learning and development?

Gemma: That’s a great question. Yes. Absolutely. I think it’s the perfect place to put and advertise training coming up or ways that you can advance your career or hear some learning. I also think about professional learning. So if you’re a nurse, I’d love to hear from a senior nurse that can tell me how she got to her position because that’s really inspiring to me. So, how can we share that kind of vulnerability as leaders? So absolutely, I think that’s a great idea and if you’re a client of ours and you want some help with that, please let me know. I’d love to help you.

Rob: Brilliant, and then finally then would you like to remind everyone about your appearance at the Care Show next week and Jon’s talk? 

Gemma: Yes, absolutely. So cheeky plug here guys. We’re going to The Care Show next week, I’m sure some of you are also there. We’re there on the 12th and the 13th. Our stand is C95 so you can find us there and I believe that’s between the Care England stand and the Social Champion stand so you can find this in the middle of there. Also on the 12th, we will be doing a talk at 1:45pm in the People, Workforce and Wellbeing Theatre around engagement. So if you want to learn more if you want to come to that talk and or if you want to visit us at the stand and have an extended conversation about anything I’ve covered, we would love to talk to you and hopefully see you there!

Rob: Brilliant, there will also be a live demonstration if you come to the stand of the Ryalto ROI calculator so you can bring your own details and we can go through that with you. Thank you very much, that’s brilliant Gemma.

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