Harness the power of employee-led L&D to combat 'quiet quitting'
The talent landscape is undergoing a seismic shift as organisations grapple with the aftermath of the Great Resignation. In an era where employee engagement has become the holy grail, we saw the emergence of quiet quitting. Coined by Brian Creely in 2022, the term relates to employees who only work to the job description. They don't go 'above and beyond', and won't put in even the slightest extra effort or time into their work above what's set out in the job spec.
Inspired by the shifting workplace attitudes and expectations post-pandemic, employees now favour remote and hybrid working. They're driven by a desire of greater work-life balance. A recent AT&T study found the hybrid work model is expected to grow from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024. Quiet quitting for many represents a disengagement from working life, and a drop in productivity and efficiency.
So how much of a problem is quiet quitting, and how can businesses address the trend?
Impact of quiet quitting on worker attitudes
To understand the post-pandemic trends in relation to training, we partnered with independent survey company Research Without Barriers. Finding out employee attitudes to training in 2023 gave us a clearer picture of the wider issue of employee disengagement in the workplace.
We surveyed 2,000 UK workers, split between 1,000 managers and 1,000 non-managerial employees. The surveyed managers have over 15 years of work experience and work in companies of more than 15 employees. The surveyed non-managerial employees have a maximum of three years of experience, and work in companies with more than 15 employees. The goal of these sample requirements was to give us better insight into the attitudes held at different levels of seniority. In the context of a rise in quiet quitting, the results were surprising – and promising.
Is 'quiet quitting' impacting wider employee engagement?
A common belief about quiet quitting is that employees are disengaging because they don't want to work hard or build careers. Our research actually suggests that there remains a strong desire for personal and professional growth among the UK workforce.
A staggering 86% of respondents expressed a willingness to stay longer with their employer – if the employer offers more L&D opportunities. Employees also aren't necessarily interested solely for what a company offers them. Almost all (94%) believed that the company would also benefit if they were given more training. In other words, workers are still willing and interested in engaging with their employers, supporting business goals, and building careers. But they are seeking fulfilment and a mutually beneficial relationship with their employer. This conclusion is reinforced by the social shifts we saw with the Great Resignation, where workers sought work that enhanced their lives.
Our findings underscore the pivotal role that learning & development plays in engaging employees. It provides them with fulfilling work lives – directly impacting their engagement with their roles and countering quiet quitting.
Managerial involvement in training
Managers play a crucial role in nurturing a culture of learning and development within their teams. The survey results revealed that 59% of managers recognise the importance of training in keeping employees engaged and motivated in their roles. In fact, 78% of managers also acknowledged that training had a positive impact on their own commitment and engagement. Generally, business leaders are aware that learning and development have a direct impact on employee engagement at all levels. Understanding this gives us a tool to address quiet quitting within an organisation – where employees are willing and able.
How to deliver employee-led L&D
Despite the awareness, many organisations are falling short in leveraging learning and development as a tool for employee engagement, retention and skills enhancement. Only 29% of managers actively involve employees in selecting and integrating training programmes for their professional development. And 42% of employees reported having no active involvement in training beyond participation. This suggests that many employers, while aware of the benefits of training, are missing out on the benefits that come from actively involving workers in their own development.
There are simple ways to harness the benefits of employee-driven learning and development. These include giving employees personal ownership of training through suggesting courses or subjects and assisting with the sourcing of learning content. But it may also extend to involving employees in learning KPIs or the development of learning pathways.
Russell Donders, Director of International Markets at imc Learning, notes that "we have worked closely with businesses to offer bespoke training and development pathways for a range of industries. Feedback from customers, and our research, is clear: training is a key contributor to employee engagement and business development. Each of us wants to fulfil our potential, and we see huge success in the businesses who understand how to implement that on a personal level.
Bespoke training packages, rolled out across all levels of operation, is a simple and effective tool to engage and retain talent. It even feeds into the recruitment process. In fact, 92 percent of job seekers now consider L&D opportunities to be a dealbreaker – so it makes sense this would also feed into engagement for existing talent. Empowering individual-driven learning and development pathways is a simple but effective solution to address changing priorities and reverse, or avoid, quiet quitting."
Quiet quitting can be addressed by employee-led L&D
Employee engagement has become of paramount importance given the challenges around talent scarcity. The trend of quiet quitting highlights the significance that employee satisfaction and fulfilment now play in modern-day workplaces. Businesses that are responsive to that will see real benefit to productivity and talent retention. By embracing employee-driven learning and development, organisations can align themselves with the evolving needs of their employees. The aim is to enhance retention rates and create a positive, growth-centred workplace in which productivity is a natural consequence of the environment.
Looking to implement an employee-led L&D programme?
We'd love to hear how your organisation aims to increase loyalty and engagement through employee-led L&D. Get in touch with us to see how imc can help you best reach your strategic goals.