From quiet quitting to engaged and invested

3 November 2022

Quiet quitting. It’s the currently trending phrase amongst the white-collar world, as the workplace continues to change in the post-pandemic era. During a time where wellbeing has been cast under the spotlight, more and more, employees are making decisions for the benefit of themselves and their work-life balance and becoming disengaged from the organisation they work for. Most people were forced to work from home for more than a year, and it opened eyes to the free time they had gained due to eliminating their commute or other extra work commitments.


What does quiet quitting mean?

 Coined by Anthony Klotz back in 2021, quiet quitting refers to doing what your job demands of you, and nothing more. The remit of going ‘above and beyond’ is omitted. Perisha Kudhail at the BBC described it as staying strictly within the boundaries of your job requirements and not accepting work that goes beyond your contracted responsibilities.


The world of work since Covid-19 has been a key determinant in bringing around this resurgence of only doing what is asked of you, as the ever-growing work-life balance argument takes over. Delia Cai at Vanity Fair said in her comment piece that the days of the professional try-hard are over, and that employees are “stepping off the professional gas pedal in order to protect [their] well-being and sense of identity”. The real question is whether workers are disengaging out of upset and discontent to their employer, or because they’re simply prioritising themselves and trying to strike a healthy balance.


How to tackle quiet quitting?


Quiet quitting can be a result of disengagement, and this can be a difficult beast to tackle. Quite simply, the best way to deal with internal disengagement is through communication. If your employees are quiet quitting and removing themselves from workplace culture, there is usually a reason behind it. Is it because they’re feeling overwhelmed at work and distance is a coping mechanism, or maybe it’s because they feel they aren’t valued? By starting an open conversation with reassurances of confidentiality, you can begin to get to the bottom of the why behind quiet quitting.


After asking direct questions and gaining responses from your team about what is potentially causing this state of mind, you can begin to identify if there are patterns in their discontent, and what needs to be actioned. Often, there are small, simple gestures that can make employees feel valued, engaged and their work life much more desirable like small incentives, appreciative feedback and clearly defining the role they play in the company’s purpose.


Don’t ask your team to fix your cultural problems. If you ask 30 people for solution, 29 of them will end up disappointed because their idea isn’t championed. Gaining opinions and perspectives on the culture isn’t enough on its own, organisations must show what has been learnt, and what steps are being taken for change. Some organisations are now employing culture champions to implement this


Why are people quiet quitting?


Some of your people may disengage because they feel unaligned with your organisation’s values or that there is nothing to engage in. At Portico, our guest experience professionals make it their business to enhance company culture at all our client sites. We make it our business to live and breathe our clients’ brand values and make the workplace a destination employees love coming to and one where they feel they matter. We run experience workshops and lobby activations too to encourage socialisation and collaboration. Ensuring your employees feel valued, and have a voice is critical for engagement and company culture. Behaviour breads behaviour so the more people are happy, the more the positive energy spreads.


How to prevent quiet quitting?


For our own teams, we have found that communication and recognition are key. Last year, we have launched our team members’ app Heartbeat Is has grown to become an invaluable forum to share snippets of life at Portico, individual successes, as well as ask questions and for advice. The app has reached almost 100% participation, which is no mean feat when our teams are all working from their client locations.


To build a sense of belonging, we have also launched our Summer Socials, when teams are invited to an evening of fun activities across the country, in the cities where they live and work.


Small gestures go a long way, and part of our company culture, we give out dozens of ‘thank you’ cards, celebrate work and life anniversaries and salute personal development and career progression milestones. We are also planning to move these to the app, so that it instantaneous and is linked to the overall benefits programme.


Finally, for those loyal team members we offer Long Service Awards and personalised and appropriate gifts for those that have hit 5- and 10-years’ service with us.


Our Portico People Awards are the true pinnacle of our calendars. With gusto, we have chosen Powering Positivity theme for 2022 celebration. The People Awards is our opportunity to come together and celebrate achievements. Each year we have 13 categories and receive over 800 nominations. Our teams treat this like their version of the Oscars to get their site and name in the lights and the energy on the night is electric.


An engaged workforce is essential for employee retention, happiness and engagement, increased productivity, and customer satisfaction. Employee engagement is a symptom of success – if a person feels valued then they will feel that what they do matters.


At the end of the day, everybody wants a level of enjoyment from their work otherwise employees would not view the company they work for as a desirable employer. In the post-pandemic world, the work/life balance argument has never been viewed as so important so keep your employees engaged and help them on their way to achieving this.


Read more here about how Portico’s people culture helps with our employee engagement.