First, there was the Great Resignation. Which led to the difficult job market. And now there’s something new (because of course). It’s called “quiet quitting” (mentioned by Chamath Palihapitiya on the podcast All In, and reported in detail in the NYT and WSJ), and it’s the next trend we’re watching at Forshay. What is it? It is that general malaise people may feel about their jobs, but for whatever reason, they can’t make a change. Some call it a rejection of hustle culture (which we’ve rejected from the beginning, but are not quiet quitting!). Some are bored, some are overwhelmed, and some are burnt out. But in this ‘summer of layoffs’ leaving a role right now isn’t likely the best option. What’s a person to do?
Fret not. There’s an antidote (or several).
A recent Stanford Business article called “Take This Job and Love It: How a Growth Mindset Can Boost Happiness at Work” acknowledges that doing the hard work of changing yourself and your role at work takes effort, but the benefits are worth it (and btw, they also last longer).
This research takes the idea of growth mindset and multiplies it into a “dual-growth mindset.” What this means, the article outlines, is the idea that in order to change your happiness, you can’t just change yourself–you also need to change your job. This doesn’t mean you have to quit though. It just means you need to broaden your focus.
The article describes an experiment conducted by Justin Berg, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and his co-authors Amy Wrzesniewski (Yale School of Management), Adam M. Grant (Wharton School), Jennifer Kurkoski and Brian Welle (both at Google). One group of participants were asked to focus on their growth mindset for themselves at work, a second group focused on flexibility in their roles and the third group was tasked with doing both.
The result? The groups who focused on both were happier at their jobs six months later. The extra work to look for ways to change both their role, but also themselves, created happiness that was sustainable.
A shortlist of ideas to get the groove back.
Maybe you want to change things up for yourself, or maybe you’re a manager hoping to keep your high-performers happy and engaged. Either way, there are some tricks you can try.
Antidotes for Anyone
Seek Out Interesting Work
What lights you up? What motivates you? How can you get more of it?
Focus On the “Good” in Your Job
Do you enjoy your coworkers? Have agency over your work? Love your client groups? People often don’t realize how good they have it until they make a job change.
Set Work Boundaries
Decline meetings if you have a conflict. Set times for work, responding to email (you get the idea). For example, if you set clear hours or do-not-disturb time to your schedule, people will learn to adjust.
What’s most important to you? A flexible schedule? Working remotely? Agency over how you perform your work? Learning a new skill? How do you shape your job to live your best life?
…And Willing to Negotiate
Make sure your manager feels like you’re in the driver seat with them. Do you really need to work remote 100% of the time? Or do you just need a month away to recharge and change your scenery? Or would you be fine agreeing to X number of days in the office and X number remote? A “good” negotiation is when both sides feel like they’ve won.
Antidotes for Managers
Discover Their Needs/Wants/Dreams
How do you keep your team engaged? Find out what your employees need to stay at their job. You won’t know unless you ask.
Be an Advocate
Show that you are just as engaged in their happiness (or fulfillment at work) as you are with their performance.
You know that longer one-on-one that always gets rescheduled? Maybe a quick chat over coffee is better, or shorter walk/talk calls if remote. However it needs to happen, make time to connect, listen, and adjust. And a gentle suggestion: reconsider how the rescheduling impacts their feelings of importance.
What’s most important to you may not be what’s most important to your team. Find a way to work with each other. Think outside the desk (see what we did there? Hope it made you at least half smile).
Negotiation Goes Both Ways
What value does your talent bring? How can they build trust with you to let you know they’re still fully engaged and working at a high level?
Who says there can’t be two winners?
Everyone wins when managers and talent are working together to make the job work on all levels. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.
Is there an expertise (compensation refresh? Org re-design? Or HR expertise?) that would not only help your current talent but also increase your company’s productivity? Our team has subject matter expertise in areas in these plus DEIB, talent acquisition, learning & development, and people analytics to level up your team. With a little extra help and consultation, your team will have the freedom to grow in their fulfillment while also driving business goals.
Want to find out where your team happiness is? We can help facilitate a team gathering to discover what matters most to them and develop a mutual plan that makes everyone happier and more productive. Here’s to always co-creating the win/win/win!