5 Tips To Prevent Quiet Quitting & To Keep Your Team Engaged

The strength of a team is only as strong as the engagement level of each member. Actively combating disengagement, encouraging team building and consistently motivating your team is how you can ensure employee retention and overall satisfaction.

As part of the events and production industry, here at Happily we work with a range of clients and teams; from nonprofits on fundraisers, to corporations on summits, from startups on team retreats, to VCs on cocktail parties. We think deeply about how to design a company culture, how to communicate effectively and how to build fulfilling professional relationships both internally and externally. After all, as event experts we meticulously design experiences with intent, and engagement is at the core of all experiences.

In order to prevent quiet quitting and keep a team engaged in their workplace, many elements need to be put into practice. Employees need to feel supported and confident throughout their working week. They need open lines of communication that seek to empower them, and safe spaces to be heard. They also need to feel validated and valued by leadership and the organization. In this blog post we will discuss all these ideas as well as the advantages of freelancers joining a project, and the power of group experiences.

happily events employee engagement

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

Quiet quitting is a relatively new term that refers to an employee who is only ‘performing as expected’ and just doing what their job requires. No above-and-beyond, no taking their work too seriously, no interest in more responsibilities and little motivation to do what is ultimately best for the brand or organization. It does not stem from laziness nor from incompetence, but is a form of disengagement, and can be a modern rejection of expectations around ‘ladder climbing’, of a hyperfocus career mindset, and of an ‘always-on’ unbalanced lifestyle established by previous generations.

Perhaps it is due to the rise in consciously protecting our mental health, and in actively seeking a truly balanced week with time to enjoy the pleasures of life, that employees are asking themselves ‘does this job value me enough to engage myself more?’ It is with all these same desires that a freelancing lifestyle (like our Happily network) is more appealing than ever, allowing people more flexibility to choose the organizations they engage with, and more control over what their week looks like. Interested in becoming a freelancer? Click here.

Addressing the concept of quiet quitting is not about trying to make employees want to work longer hours nor take on more responsibilities. Preventing quiet quitting is about recognizing that when employees feel happy, engaged and valued at work, it is a much better outcome for the success of the team and for the organization.

Some common causes of quiet quitting and employee disengagement:

- Weak Lines of Communication: unable to confidently raise concerns, ask questions, resolve conflicts, seek help, feel heard.

- Excessive Workload: overburdened and overworked equals burnout.

- Blurred Boundaries: disrespect for work and personal life.

- Poor Compensation: the energy, stress and/or anxiety of the job are not worth the salary and/or benefits.

- Unsupportive Leadership: an unhealthy or weak connection with manager.

- Shifting Expectations: unclear or changing responsibilities or structure.

- Undue Stress: a work environment that generates an unreasonable amount of anxiety.

5 tips for preventing quiet quitting and for keeping your team engaged:

1. Give People More Guidance

People want to have a sense of autonomy and trust to structure their own workload. What they do not want is to have confusion over their to-do-list or what the priorities are.

By providing an employee some structure and defining their tasks, they will have more confidence in their work, and will have a better understanding of the workload. They will also feel a greater sense of achievement come the end of the day or week, and will feel more engaged knowing they are supported and sure of the tasks at hand. Regular one-on-one meetings with a manager that are quick and semi-casual can help focus projects, align priorities, and provide employees a safe space to maintain a realistic workload.

2. Provide Constructive and Respectful Feedback

People are tired of stressing about work and it is a key factor that drives quiet quitting. In an environment where people feel overwhelmed by negative criticism, the stress of consistently anticipating harsh feedback on their work can lead to disengagement and disconnection of the project. Generating an expectation of perfectionism from employees leads them to put in less effort, and not more. They will eventually start to say to themselves; ‘what’s the point in trying too hard, cause it will be all wrong anyway.’

In an industry such as events and production where the client’s satisfaction is paramount, the idea of ‘done is better than perfect’ is not always an ideal mantra. Of course, we want a client to see the results as close to perfection as possible. In order to prevent undue stress, ensure that employees do not fear feedback or criticism of a project or task. Create safe spaces to discuss feedback, ensure that edits are given clear directions, and when applicable explain the reasoning behind a change with inclusive language.

For example, ‘This looks great, but the client is looking for a more professional tone, so let’s try….’ or ‘This copy is almost there, I think we need to find a way to polish it up. Please add…” After all, you are a team working towards a common goal. The results of everyone is a reflection of the team as a whole. By approaching feedback with kindness and respect, you are uplifting the whole team and ensuring no one feels singled out or discouraged.

happily events employee engagement

3. Reorganize Your Team with Freelancers

In many ways, the reasons that lead professionals to ‘quiet quitting’ are the same reasons that tempt them into opting out of a traditional working setting, and into a freelancing lifestyle. With the flexibility that freelancing allows, professionals optimize their week towards their own productivity, and find deeper satisfaction in the projects and organizations they choose to engage with for a certain amount of time.

Freelancing specialists are by nature highly adaptable, proactive, and proficient communicators; those are necessary skills to successfully supplement a team and organization. They are motivated by the task at hand and have experience in building strong lines of communication, in setting boundaries, and outlining expectations. The temporary nature of contract work means they do not need to be consistently re-engaged and quiet quitting is not something necessarily applicable to them.

By choosing to supplement your team with a freelancing specialist, you can ensure that projects are driven forward by engaged and energized professionals. Our Happily Fractional Plan allows you to seamlessly and consistently activate our network of specialists across the world and across our five studios; Strategy, Web, Creative, Broadcast and Experiential. Learn more about how you can tap into our community of freelancers on demand here.

4. Invest in Team Experiences

A part of quiet quitting is employees not seeing their job environment as adding value to their life, and not seeing their job as valuing them as an employee. By intentionally designing shared experiences and enjoyable events for your employees, you can positively change the way they view their relationship with their job and with their team. Experiences that balance work meetings with curated adventures, and business development with thoughtful travel, will allow employees to feel appreciated by the organization, more connected to their team, and inspired to work towards strategic goals.

Team retreats and all-hands meetings that are expertly produced with well considered agendas are an excellent way to combat quiet quitting. They can be the ideal setting to establish company culture, to re-engage a team, and to create a space that actively counteracts any creeping feelings of quiet quitting. Interested in planning a retreat your team will love? We can happily help you.

happily events EXP Retreat 2018

Images: EXP Retreat, Napa Valley 2018. Learn more about Happily Team Retreats here.

5. Lead With Gratitude

Gratification makes us feel satisfied with the amount of energy or effort we put into something because the result was appreciated by someone. A key factor of quiet quitting is when a person doesn’t feel as if they have a positive working relationship with a manager; a manager that understands them, supports them and champions them. Silence from a manager with no acknowledgement of the high quality of a task or the exceptional performance on a project, can cause anyone to feel unvalued, unvalidated and disconnected.

During her 2013 Harvard Commencement Speech Oprah Winfrey said:

“… there is a common denominator in our human experience. Most of us… we want to be validated. We want to be understood. I have done over 35,000 interviews in my career and as soon as that camera shuts off everyone always turns to me and inevitably in their own way asks this question “Was that okay?” I heard it from President Bush, I heard it from President Obama. I’ve heard it from heroes and from housewives…. I even heard it from Beyonce and all of her Beyonceness… [we] all want to know one thing: was that okay? Did you hear me? Do you see me? Did what I say mean anything to you?”

At the core of what Oprah is saying here is that it is natural and human to want our inherent value to be noticed and appreciated. This idea of using gratitude to prevent quiet quitting is not about overtly thanking people for their accomplishments or handing out high words of praise at every meeting. It is about little nods to reassure employees of their worth as a colleague, team member and as a human being.