Stop Letting the Latest Trend Dictate How You Run Your Company
QUIET QUITTING. Quiet firing. Quiet thriving. What will be the next viral workplace term?
Today’s businesses aren’t plagued by these “new” movements—except for the reactionary movement of buying into the latest buzzword and letting it affect their workplace culture.
As talked about in this Business Insider article, these trends have caused panic among leaders in all industries, who are now looking to combat these “new” issues, and consultants are right there with them, offering all sorts of “solutions.” A quick search on LinkedIn will bring you to the pages of coaches and consultants who claim to solve “quiet quitting,” using the keyword to garner clients.
The truth: These aren’t new problems. These are age-old issues with trendy, new names. “Quiet quitting” is a rebrand of employee disengagement, describing workers who choose to coast through their work hours instead of putting in the effort. “Quiet firing” came about in response to it, describing the passive-aggressive behavior of managers who withhold opportunities from quiet-quitters instead of firing them altogether.
The list of new terms goes on and on, but the point is that while these problems can’t be ignored, they aren’t new trends. There’s one common denominator behind them:
The majority of today’s organizations aren’t talent-centric.
If a company puts its talent first in its strategy and decision-making, these problems won’t arise in the first place.
THE “WHY” BEHIND THE TRENDS
Rather than looking to protect your company from the latest viral movement, look at why your employees are disgruntled, disengaged, or quitting in the first place. Chances are, it’s for one of the following reasons: They don’t feel connected to the vision of the business, they don’t feel heard or appreciated, there’s a lack of communication, or there’s a lack of opportunity for growth.
The simplest way to ensure these needs are met is to center your company around your employees.
START AT THE TOP
Asking questions is the best way to start changing your company. Where are your company’s decisions primarily being made? Usually, they’re being made within your executive team. So, when thinking about your employees and talent strategies, that’s where you must start: at the top.
Ask each person on your executive team what the vision is for your company. Then prepare to be surprised: Your CEO, CFO, and COO may very well give different answers. When your executives have different visions, you have a problem.
Multiple visions make for stagnant companies, with each member of your team rowing toward a different destination. There’s no way to reach a goal when everyone is rowing out of sync. How do you work for a company where your leaders each want to achieve something different? You don’t. This is what leads to employee turnover.
Company leaders and managers must be able to communicate the same vision. It sounds minute, but this one statement sets the tone for all subsequent actions.
When your leaders are aligned, your talent will hum at the same frequency, and you’ll notice more engagement and connection to the greater purpose of your business. When your talent doesn’t know the company’s vision in the first place, disconnection can easily become the norm.
VIEW FEEDBACK AS A PLUS
As a business committed to focusing on your talent, you must commit to hearing from employees. Being talent-centric isn’t about posting “we put employees first” on your website or on a placard on an office wall; it’s about making time to hear from your employees and truly listening.
I call this a culture of feedback. This, too, starts with the executive team. Those in leadership positions set the tone for the entire organization, so everyone must openly show their commitment to wanting feedback from any employee and also giving their own. Feedback must be offered without fear of repercussions. Open your schedule—and your team’s schedules—to allow one-on-one meetings with any worker.
Listening to your staff will establish trust among peers, managers, and higher-ups, which leads to loyalty and engagement. Plus, these one-on-one meetings provide a great time to check in with employees and ask what they need, what their goals are, and how you can help them reach them. Maybe all they need is a mental health day or advice on a new project. By having proactive conversations, you’ll prevent disengagement on their end.
Putting your talent first starts at the very beginning: the interview process. Stay true to the position you’re offering. Don’t embellish or leave out significant (or unsavory) duties the job requires. Most importantly, don’t downgrade the hours needed for the position.
Imagine you’ve accepted a 10-hour-per-week position. After the first month, you realize you’ve been working 30 hours to keep up with the workload. If there’s any way to cause an employee to disengage at work, this is it. Be honest from the very first conversation. It will ultimately lead you to weed out workers who don’t fit your expectations.
IT’S TIME TO REFOCUS
It’s time to look within—and not outside of—your organization for solutions to your problems. Once you take the steps to refocus your company on the people within it, these problems will start to fade.
Carol Schultz, founder and CEO of Vertical Elevation, is a talent equity and leadership coaching and advisory expert with 30 years in the business. She’s helped hundreds of companies transform their organizations and create sustainable, talent-centric cultures that run at maximum efficiency. She’s the author of the Amazon bestseller Powered By People: How Talent-Centric Organizations Master Recruitment, Retention, and Revenue (and How to Build One). Learn more at vertical elevation.com.
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