If things haven’t been difficult enough for HR lately, here’s the newest trend: Quick Quitting.
It could be coming to your office soon. Or worse, it could already be there. And you want to avoid it.
Quick Quitting is short-term working. It’s turnover after you’ve just dealt with turnover. LinkedIn looked at the metric Short Tenure Rate (STR) – employees leaving within a year of a new job – and found it’s up almost 10% in the past year. More employees than ever are testing the waters of a new job, and if it’s not appealing, they’re jumping out of those waters.
“Quick quitting isn’t completely new,” says Amy Leschke-Kahle, Vice President, Performance Acceleration, The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company. “Employees have been cycling in and out of being-all-in for as long as work has existed. And the root causes of quick quitting are varied. Employees who are contributing less than expected might want to contribute at high levels but have something in their way. It could be stressors outside of work; it could be lack of access to the right resources at work; it could be conflict at work, burnout or even plain old ‘I just don’t care anymore.'”
An overriding theme: an expectation misalignment. New employees come on, expecting the job, company, goals and colleagues will be ideal, and they aren’t. Or the employer brings in new employees, thinking their skills, attitude and fit will be ideal, and they aren’t.
So, as in all cases of undesirable turnover, HR and front-line managers want to get ahead of Quick Quitting. Here are five tactics to avoid the trend before it’s an issue.
Acknowledge Quick Quitting
You don’t want to stick your head in the sand here. Even if it’s not visibly happening at your company, it’s likely on the way.
LinkedIn identified the industries and job levels where it’s happening most. By percentage, these industries are seeing the highest increase in STR:
- arts and recreation industry (11.6%)
- tech and media (10.5%)
- administrative and support services (8.9%)
- accommodation services (7.4%)
- financial services (5.6%)
- professional services (4.5%), and
- transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage (4.2%).
And there’s the shift from the Great Resignation days: The Quick Quitters tend to come from the white-collar, management and professional positions, rather than front-line, blue-collar roles.
Evaluate, revamp onboarding
Take a closer look at your onboarding process. If it’s exactly like it was before the pandemic, it’s likely hurting new employee retention. Nearly everyone has a different perspective on what work – and their new employers – should be now.
The earlier you align expectations, the better. So try a three-prong approach to onboarding:
- Before the first day, deliver formal HR paperwork. More importantly, help new hires feel part of the team by going through introductions via video ahead of first day. You might create a video of each department saying hello.
- Add more structure to the process. In training, introductions and acclimation, help new employees understand how their contributions impact the organization and will make a positive difference.
- Create a continuous onboarding structure. HR leaders and front-line managers will want to work with new hires to plan out their career, including goals, milestones and growth opportunities. This should be regular conversations based on past accomplishments, planning, and adjusting career goals and company needs.
Ask red-flag questions
Because Quick Quitting is – well, quick – HR and front-line managers don’t have time to wait for red flags that a new employee is at risk to walk out.
Instead, ask red-flag questions.
“The best way to identify employees who might be at risk for quick quitting is frequent check-ins,” says Leschke-Kahle. “This simple practice, done weekly, provides real-time insights into how employees are feeling about work.”
She recommends these questions:
- How are you feeling about your work?
- What are your priorities this week? and
- How can I help?
“The responses to the questions are helpful but the real insights come from trends over time. If an employee is gradually becoming less enthusiastic about work, they are at risk,” Leschke-Kahle says.
Turn the tables
Quick Quitting, Quiet Quitting and general disengagement can be cured with more “Joyful Engagement,” according to Erica Dhawan, author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance in her blog.
This is an exercise you’ll want to do with new employees and try with tenured employees to assess and improve engagement.
Dhawan suggests asking these questions in one-on-one meetings:
- What do you loved about your role?
- What activities engage you most?
- What are the best parts of your job?
The idea is to connect with employees and tie what’s working for them to the team and company’s purpose or mission. If there’s a disconnect, you might want to realign their work or role so they’re doing what they love more and are likely to reach goals and be fulfilled.
Boost authentic praise
As new employees become engaged, they need to know they’re making an impact.
“There is a single practice that, when embedded in the organization, can help increase the likelihood of employees being fully engaged and contributing their best – frequent attention from their most important people at work,” says Leschke-Kahle. “When team members receive weekly attention from their team leader, they are at least three times more likely to be fully engaged at work. The simple practice of a weekly check-in isn’t going to prevent all quick quitters, but it will certainly create an environment where is it less likely.”
Don’t just tell new employees they’re doing a good job. Be specific about their practices and behaviors, and how those affect company or team goals. Link their work to positive, direct results related to customers, the bottom line, operations, colleagues and/or the collective good.
“The reasons employees leave jobs are somewhat unique to the employee, but we do know that frequent attention from team leaders is a scalable, impactful practice that contributes to employees being all-in at work,” says Leschke-Kahle. “As the stewards of an organization’s talent, HR will want to promote and support a culture of high attention.”