From quiet quitter to loud and proud

3 strategies to turn quiet quitters into engaged employees

Addressing employee disengagement is the employers’ job. Here’s how they can make progress.

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Quiet quitting emerged amid the pandemic, forcing workers globally to reevaluate their work-life balance. Many workers scaled back their time spent on the job and did just enough to get by.

According to a recent Gallup poll, it’s continued beyond the height of the pandemic as at least half of the U.S. workforce today consists of so-called quiet quitters. As a result, companies are experiencing productivity challenges, high turnover, and taking hits to their profitability. Leaders are striving to identify the reasons behind employee disengagement and proactively find ways to address these challenges.


Employees are more inclined to apply themselves when they believe their position offers them professional development, autonomy, and recognition. If you’ve noticed a particular employee isn’t performing as well as they once did, this is an ideal time to examine the value and support your company offers.

3 strategies to reengage employees and drive out quiet quitting

Looking to improve employee engagement or re-engage your quiet quitters? Here are three effective strategies to re-engage your employees and quit quiet quitting once and for all.


Proactive intervention with open and customized conversations

According to Gallup, voluntary turnover due to burnout alone costs companies about 15% to 20% of their payroll budget. Not acknowledging burnout and championing employee well-being is clearly costly. By expressing genuine concern, valuing contributions, and identifying potential obstacles or needs, managers can pave the way for productive dialogue and meaningful solutions.

Situation: A manager has noticed some changes in employee behavior that suggest a lack of engagement. These changes include an increase in the amount of paid time off taken, decreased participation in team meetings, and a noticeable shift in attitude toward negativity.

Solution: Upon noticing the employee’s disengagement, the manager should take proactive steps to understand the underlying cause. Arrange a one-on-one time with the employee to discuss their observations and express their concerns. It’s essential to approach the conversation with empathy, seeking to understand the employee’s perspective and any underlying issues that may be factoring into their disengagement, and collaboratively develop targeted solutions.


Pro-tip: Companies that utilize behavioral assessment tools to understand their employees’ natural drives, preferences, and work styles have higher levels of engagement and employee satisfaction. In this situation, a manager can understand how a disengaged employee prefers to communicate, make decisions, approach tasks, and collaborate. Armed with these insights, the manager can tailor their management approach and communication style to meet the employee’s individual needs.

Cultivating transparency, active listening, and taking action

Employee engagement surveys offer valuable insights into the employee experience and can help identify concerns within the workplace. Monthly or quarterly pulse surveys can help ensure employees feel heard and recognized while assessing the effectiveness of implemented measures.


Sharing survey results with employees fosters trust and accountability. By utilizing employee feedback, organizations can develop a comprehensive change management plan to address deficiencies and achieve meaningful improvements.

Situation: A company recently underwent a merger/acquisition, a significant organizational change. The leadership team and new owners recognized that these changes could impact employee morale, engagement, and satisfaction. They decided to use an employee engagement survey to assess the impact of the changes and understand how employees were adapting to the new environment.


Solution: The survey helped identify areas where employees were struggling due to recent changes. The management team quickly addressed misunderstandings and provided support to ensure a smooth transition based on the feedback received. They also created communication strategies to keep employees informed, organizing town hall meetings and Q&A sessions. Additionally, they offered extra training and resources to help employees adapt to the new structure and leadership.

After conducting the employee engagement survey and an action plan to address findings and issues, the company regularly conducted pulse surveys to track progress over time. By comparing data from multiple pulse surveys, they could determine the effectiveness of any changes or initiatives implemented to improve employee engagement and take further action if needed.


The impact of recognition, rewards, and compensation strategies

Recognition and compensation play pivotal roles in re-engaging employees and attracting top talent. Implementing a robust recognition and reward program can boost employee engagement and performance. It’s also important to establish a compensation strategy that is motivating, competitive, fair, and equitable, as compensation and benefits are persuasive tools.


Situation: Consider the case where a growing manufacturing company needed to add another salesperson to the team. The company already had one high-performing employee of eight years in the position, and it was time to expand the sales team to cover growing territories. They found a great-fit candidate who went through several interview rounds, resulting in mutual interest and excitement between the candidate and employer. During the offer stage, the company learned the candidate’s expectations of a $75,000 salary and work-from-home flexibility, which created challenges for the employer.

First, their established salary range was between $50,000 and $60,000, and the current high-performing salesperson in the same role was earning $55,000. The other challenge they encountered was that they had an “in-office” requirement for the position, even though the salesperson would be out in the field 80% of the time. The company decided not to proceed with the candidate because of perceived misalignment. This scenario began to repeat itself for this position and others, resulting in many unfilled positions, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. They finally realized they needed to adapt their approach to attract and retain talented employees.


Solution: The company conducted compensation benchmarking and analysis. They evaluated their position in relation to the market, prioritizing unfilled roles and the most critical positions. They discovered significant discrepancies between their current pay ranges and what the market offered, making it challenging to hire new employees. The company created a plan and budget to update their salary ranges, ensuring they remain competitive within the market to attract and retain top talent. They also took proactive steps to address compensation inequities for current employees, pledging to meet market rates within a year. The company communicated this plan individually to affected employees, showing their dedication to fair compensation and valuing their employees. They also utilized a phased approach to manage any unplanned costs.

The company leveraged a pulse survey to gather employee perspectives on flexible and work-from-home arrangements. Upon reviewing the results, the company implemented flex schedules and a hybrid work-from-home model.


Quiet quitters don’t have to be a drag on your workforce. Take the opportunity to reconnect with your employees and managers to better understand their perceptions and needs. Ignoring the underlying problems will only make it more difficult. Companies can overcome challenges and establish a workplace that promotes lasting engagement and productivity by addressing the issues head-on through active listening, involving and rewarding your staff, and utilizing talent assessment tools.

Karen Turner is principal of RVR Consulting Group. A disciplined sales leader and customer success strategist, Karen has been directly involved with three startups generating $380mm in revenue in less than five years. She successfully established a Customer–Centric Innovation Center and “Career Advantage Coach” technology platform as well as numerous recruiting and workforce innovation.