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Quiet Quitting—A Costly Employee Epidemic
You’ve probably heard a new term that’s been going around—quiet quitting. This is the phenomenon of employees not outright quitting a job, but becoming so disinterested and disheartened that they only do the bare minimum. In a retail setting like a pharmacy where building relationships with your customers is so important, having employees quiet quitting can be disastrous to your business. The good news is there are positive actions you can take to ensure you’re fostering an environment that keeps your employees engaged, satisfied, and providing excellent customer service.
Recent Gallup polling shows quiet quitters are now upwards of 50% of the workforce. This lack of engagement accelerated in 2021, with the pandemic being an obvious factor, but has progressed even as the country returned to normalcy. According to this polling, key drivers of quiet quitting aren’t necessarily wages as many owners and managers think, but a lack of being cared about, limited opportunities to grow, and not feeling connected to their employers.
The silver lining here is these are all things within your power as an owner to improve, and without having to invest lots of money! One of the most important things you can do is regularly engage with your employees on a personal level. Also, if you have managers, make sure they are doing this as well. In the same Gallup poll about quiet quitting, they found having at least one meaningful conversation per week of 15-30 minutes with an employee to understand their personal life, aspirations, and concerns can dramatically increase how connected they feel to their job. This shouldn’t be a scheduled sit-down time in your office that ends up feeling like a performance review, but a casual conversation taking place during down time. If that’s difficult for you in a busy space, try taking a quick break with them to get a cup of coffee or similar casual activity to get a personal conversation going.
In addition to developing a relationship with your employees where you understand their personal life better, getting to know their professional aspirations and making them aware of how they fit into yours is vital. People work for a paycheck, but they also want to have a sense that their work matters, their contributions are valued, and that people depend on them. This is integral to having happy and productive employees and one of the things most missing in quiet quitters. If they don’t understand how important they are, they end up feeling like an interchangeable cog in a machine that has little to do with them. By taking time to know what makes them feel important at work and what they want to do next, you can develop a relationship that is more of a mentor than a taskmaster. The dividends this will pay over time can be massive for your business. It can also alert you to employees who want to move up and take on more responsibility if given the opportunity. By engaging on this level, you could turn a disheartened quiet quitter into a future manager with the right encouragement.
Another thing you can do to increase morale and make employees feel appreciated are periodic rewards. Things like bringing in coffee and donuts, buying lunch, or taking them out for fun activities after hours can be worth far more than the small amount of money out of your pocket. Be careful though—do not go cheap here. Having a “pizza party” and not buying enough or not taking people’s dietary restrictions into account can make you seem out of touch and like you’re trying to buy their loyalty and have the inverse intended effect. Take those personal conversations you’re regularly having to find out what sort of things they like and then bring them in to show you think of them as more than just a body in a uniform performing a task.
In summation, the real takeaway here is the same thing we implore you to do with your customers—get personal! The more you engage with people, the more loyal they will become, whether they are employees or customers. In a tight labor market and industry that relies so heavily on excellent customer service, the time you put in is among the best investments you can make for your business.