Written by Camille Lin, HR consultant and trainer specializing in the prevention of psychosocial risks for Groupe-conseil Perrier, and creator of the podcast Panser l'entreprise.
In the face of quiet quitting, this question is becoming increasingly popular. But maybe it's not the best question to ask yourself in this situation.
So instead, I suggest that you understand the causes of quiet quitting and ask yourself another question: How can we get people to stop working less, or rather to stop feeling the need to disengage from work?
For those of you who haven't heard of quiet quitting, I'll explain it to you in less than 30 seconds.
Quiet quitting is "giving up the idea of giving everything for your job". In other words, you stop putting work at the centre of your life, you stop working overtime, you stop replying to e-mails outside working hours, etc. That's it.
That's it, it's as simple as that.
And for some time now, there have been hundreds of articles talking about this phenomenon of young people who no longer want to work, who no longer want to give 120% to the company.
Aaaaaaaah this generation Z that no longer wants to do anything.... But is it really that? Is the new generation really lazy?
Honestly? I doubt it!
Because, let's be clear and frank, quiet quitting is just deciding to do what you're paid to do and nothing more. So really, there's nothing wrong with that!
But the last few decades have taught us to give more to the company. What has always been valued is staying late at the office, answering emails even at weekends, saying yes to overwork, etc. And now we find ourselves always giving more. And we end up giving more and more, without getting more in return: no recognition, more and more control, deleterious management practices, and so on.
In my opinion, these are the reasons why we should no longer put work at the centre of our lives, but of course they are not the only ones. Today we're going to focus mainly on the organisational problems that lead to quiet quitting. Causes you can do something about!
By the way, I'll make a bet with you that when you hire someone new to your team, you hire them because you believe in their skills. And this new person, let's call her Julie. When Julie starts her first few days on the job, she's enthusiastic and motivated!
Except that, after a few months, Julie still doesn't know what's expected of her, her objectives are constantly changing, and some of them are quite simply unrealistic. Nor does the company reflect what was said at the interview. As for recognition, it's non-existent. So what's the point in doing more if there's no benefit? Especially since even if Julie does more, her salary doesn't increase.
Do you see what I'm getting at?
Basically, people are motivated when they come to work, they're motivated to get things done. I don't believe that they're all lazy and don't want to do anything. I just think that in the face of various organisational factors, employee motivation is being eroded more and more.
So when faced with quiet quitting, rather than trying to find ways of re-motivating employees, managers should concentrate on how to stop demotivating them. And I assure you, you'll get a lot more out of it! Because motivation is something people already have! Your employees already have energy, ideas and talents that are worth sharing.
Becoming a Desirable Employer Without Gimmicks
So now that you've got that in mind, the question you need to ask yourself isn't "How can I motivate my team?" but rather, "How can I create a working environment in which my team members stay motivated?"
And to do that, I'm not going to tell you to offer laundry services like Facebook did, have slides like Google did or offer a free canteen morning, noon and night.
These advantages are false advantages, they often make people dream, but they are not decisive when it comes to the quality of life at work for employees. Toxic management remains toxic even if you no longer need to do your laundry!
You can become a desirable employer without these gimmicks. How can you do it? By respecting the three fundamental needs of individuals.
The First Fundamental Need Is Autonomy
In other words, to be able to act in accordance with our personal values, to feel free to initiate and propose actions. To reinforce this need, as a manager you can, for example, ask yourself whether the members of your team have sufficient room for manoeuvre to take decisions independently? Can they take part in organizational decisions that affect them? Etc.
The Second Fundamental Need Is Competence
In other words, to feel effective in achieving your objectives. As a manager, you can encourage this by providing everyone with the resources they need to do their job properly, by ensuring a reasonable workload, by setting clear objectives, and so on.
Third Fundamental Need: The Need for Social Relations
In other words, the fact of having enriching social contacts, of feeling that you belong to a group. Here, for example, you can strengthen the links between team members by encouraging informal get-togethers and proposing relevant group activities. This also involves encouraging the integration of each member of staff into the team, etc.
According to the theory of self-determination, it is through these three elements that an employee comes to develop a more autonomous general motivation to work, which generates better results both in terms of productivity and well-being at work. Not bad, is it? And it's even better if you're in a healthy working environment, because it will enhance intrinsic motivation.
Oh yes, I know it's often said that remuneration helps to motivate, but that it's not enough to maintain a satisfactory level of motivation over the long term. And that's true! But that doesn't mean you should forget to pay your employees properly. Working means selling your time and skills in exchange for an income. Despite what some people might say, it's still a transaction. So you shouldn't overlook this aspect either.
In any case, I hope that this buzz around quiet quitting won't make you want to introduce even more procedures or tighten up controls, but rather to rethink the way things are done!
Camille is a 17th Floor partner
HR consultant and trainer specialising in the prevention of psychosocial risks for Groupe-conseil Perrier, and creator of the podcast Panser l'entreprise.
With a dual master's degree in HR management and organisational change, Camille puts her skills to work for companies that want to put people at the heart of their strategy.
Her experience in the prevention and management of psychosocial risks in the workplace has been put to good use in a wide range of situations, including toxic work climates, series of unexplained departures, tensions within or between teams, and stress experienced by first-level managers.
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