By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services

“Quiet Quitting”; the newest buzz word/term…or is it?  Back in the day, this was referred to as a ROAD Warrior or Retired On Active Duty.

Many quiet quitters fit Gallup’s definition of being “not engaged” at work — people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job. This describes half of the U.S. workforce.  Read that again, HALF of the U.S. Workforce.  Does the adage, “people quit bosses, not companies” apply here?  Probably.

So, what to do?  This is not the first time SDEA will say this and probably not the last, but employers need to re-think how we work and how we run our businesses.  A good starting point is understanding the different generations in the workplace and what these different generations value and how they want to be recognized and communicated to; how the engage with them. Let’s explore…

The “Boomers”, born 1946 – 1964, are optimistic and are willing to work long hours.  They want to be rewarded with money, title and recognition and are considered the “workaholic” generation.

Generation X, born 1965 – 1980 started the concept of work/life balance.  They are more focused on working hard toward their personal goals and appreciate work autonomy.

Millennial (Gen Y), born 1981 – 1996 are focused on work that is important to them and that betters society.  They are looking for more of a work/life balance and flexibility.  They aim to work smarter, not harder and want their managers to support their professional development.

Gen Z, born 1997 – ?.  Generation Z is less optimistic than previous generations; they are more tech savvy; are considered impatient with a short attention span.  They thrive on new challenges and stimuli and want to be informed and have their input acknowledged.

Just about everyone wants to know how their managers perceive the quality of their work. Silence from a manager can cause worry to creep up on even the best employee as well as feelings of discontent. A bit of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey, who said: “There’s a common denominator in our human experience: We want to be validated. I’ve done over thirty-five thousand interviews in my career. And as soon as that camera shuts off, everyone turns to me and, in their own way, asks this question: ‘Was that okay?’ I’ve heard it from heroes and from housewives. I even heard it from Beyoncé in all of her Beyoncé-ness. . . . [We] all want to know ‘Did you hear me? Do you see me? Did what I say mean anything to you?’” What Winfrey speaks about is a leader noticing and appreciating a person’s inherent value.

Want to combat quiet quitting? Then remember the point of gratitude isn’t just about thanking people for their accomplishments, it’s about helping them see their worth as a colleague and a human being and recognizing them in the manner that means the most to them.  Have conversations with your staff, find out what works for them and what does not. One size does not fit all and that has never been truer than it is now when understanding how to engage your employees.  Employees who are engaged with their manager, the small business owner and the executive team is more likely to stick around and make meaningful contributions to the company; this is what we all want.

SDEA members are provided unlimited consultation from our experienced HR Consultants, give us a call if you have any questions. 858-505-0024

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