Life & Work

Quiet quitting: How to restore staff emotional connection


Quiet quitting is a systematic disengagement that might not be seen in the short term. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Employee engagement is defined as the strength of an employee’s physical and mental connection to the workplace, while quiet quitting is a systematic disengagement that might not be seen in the short term.

Here you will find the employees who were so lively and contributing all of a sudden quiet and no longer challenging any initiative.

The mental and physical connection to the workplace, for others is thick and live while others could be weak and fading.

An employee by default cannot be assumed as one who disables all other spheres of life from 8-5 to reactivate them at 5 pm.

No, humans were not designed to enable and disable some buttons, it’s a profile that runs through the day, all factors as financial wellbeing, social positioning, health, desire for growth and learning and many other items shaping their thoughts and influencing the decisions they make throughout the day.

Most employees are motivated by their ability to contribute to the realisation of the company objectives and the value they bring to the system until a point where they no longer see that value and disengagement sets in.

Therefore, quiet quitting is a modern-day disengagement where the employee disengages emotionally and not physically.

That physical presence is informed by many other factors that are never workplace related, the workplace-related items have enabled emotional detachment and what companies are left with are emotionless profiles not feeling the pain or challenges a firm could be undergoing.

Read: Quiet quitting: A misnomer or myth?

These are the profiles you will find saying that they could have moved so long ago but they can’t change the school at this time of the year, or they are yet to go get a job that pays better than the current role or even one that has the same medical benefits.

The emotional detachment will shade the duty to care and most employees at this stage no longer care for the health of the company and most times they deliberately make decisions that are not in the best interest of the company.

Detrimental effects on the company could be driven by the desire to have the company incur unnecessary costs, cause noncompliance or derail the achievement of objectives.

The cost of quiet quitting is enormous to businesses as employees are no longer willing to pass and exceed expectations.

They just input to get by and this denies the firm the much-needed energies and efforts to create value.

Sadly, the customers will eventually feel low energy and that affects customer satisfaction which will in turn trigger churning.

The question that then arises is how companies can cure and restore the emotional connection to the workplace and turn things around.

The starting point is checking the company culture.

Check the aggravators in the workplaces driving the disengagement, it could be in the positioning of policies, learning and growth opportunities, benefits administration or even the organisational design that stifles capabilities.

With deliberate intervention to address items causing disengagement, the fact that employees are still there physically is a sign that if a genuine discussion is effected and a clear road map to address the motivators is prioritised, then the emotional connection will be re-activated and that comes with the duty to care and the desire to see the company flourish.

Read: The latest headache for most workplaces post-Covid-19

If the company goals are well aligned with personal goals, that acts as a motivation for engagement.

The writer is HR Manager at Wananchi Group | [email protected]