Have your people quit and stayed? Five questions to ask yourself

Only 20% of people say that they are truly passionate about their work according to a recent survey from Deloitte.  The vast majority of workers are disengaged, with an estimated 23 million “actively disengaged” in the U.S. alone according to Gallup. 

The lingering economic slowdown has created a real motivational problem for today’s leaders.  A shortage of resources has limited the ability of organizations to provide raises, promotions, and other perks. It’s been just as bad for employees as the widespread scope of the problem has left them with few alternatives beyond their present organization.

The result has been a perfect storm where millions of workers have resigned themselves to their jobs and effectively “quit and stayed.”  These workers show up and do their job at a basic level, but they are sullen and unmotivated in a quiet way that is hard to get at. 

It’s not so much what these workers do, as much as it is what they don’t do.

Here are the five intentions that passionate employees embrace.  Wondering if your people have “quit and stayed?”  Ask yourself to what degree your people:

  1. Actively endorse the organization as a good place to work?
  2. Go above and beyond the basic requirements of the job in terms of performance?
  3. Think beyond themselves and strive for win/win solutions?
  4. Go the extra mile when it is necessary to get the job done?
  5. Intend to stay with the organization long term?

If you can’t answer YES confidently to these five questions, here are a couple of additional questions to ask yourself to get at the cause of the problem. A lack of passion is usually caused by negative perceptions at a job, organizational, or relationship level.  Probe a little bit in each of these areas and you will likely find the problem area. 

  • Job Factors: Do your employees see the importance of their work?  Are people empowered to make decisions about their work and tasks? Are workloads reasonably proportioned for the time people have to accomplish them?
  • Organizational Factors: Does the organization still seem committed to growth? Have clear goals been set? Are decisions about resources being made fairly?
  • Relationship Factors: Do people feel connected? Do employees have a supportive professional relationship with their leader? Are leaders checking in and providing feedback regarding employee performance?

No one wants to be the type of person who quits and stays, but sometimes people fall into that trap.  Help people up.  Open up a dialogue around these issues.  Just taking the time and asking how things are going in each of these areas will show people that you’re noticing, that you’re willing to help, and that you care.

PS: Do you have a “quit and stay” solution to share?

On January 25, The Ken Blanchard Companies will be hosting a Leadership Livecast on the problem of Quitting and Staying.  Have you successfully addressed quitting and staying in your organization? Can you share it in five minutes or less?  Videotape yourself and send it to us.  You could be a featured speaker!  Click here for details.

9 thoughts on “Have your people quit and stayed? Five questions to ask yourself

  1. This great! It will my consulting business. CEOs’ of company’s need to hear this. I need to be your distributor.

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  4. I like the ideas but I wonder how they work in practice. I moved from a supportive company to one that is competitive, from win-win to zero-sum, win-lose. We want open communication but shoot the messenger more often than we mean to. I believe that our management sincerely wants to engage employees and improve teamwork, though. I’m trying to imagine a constructive discussion from both sides.

    “Do you feel we have a supportive environment here? Do you feel welcome and appreciated?”

    An employee who needs his job more than he wants it is likely to give the answer least likely to get him in trouble: “Yes. Can I go back to work now?”

    How does management build trust and get the honesty they want? How does the bullet-riddled past messenger who wants to do the right thing and be engaged respond?

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