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Quiet quitting: How better communications can help fix it

Low engagement is costing the global economy $8.8 trillion yearly, according to new Gallup estimates, and is putting employees on a path toward quiet quitting.

  • 59% of employees self-reported they were not engaged in 2023 — quiet quitting. 
  • 18% of employees were actively disengaged — loud quitting.

Why it matters: “Poor management leads to lost customers and lost profits, but it also leads to miserable lives,” Gallup reports. “Research into wellbeing finds that having a job you hate is worse than being unemployed — and those negative emotions end up at home... If you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving at life.”

Over 40% of surveyed employees said the top thing that would change their workplace is its culture and engagement — things like having more open communication with their managers, clearer goals and stronger guidance, and greater respect and recognition. Fixing each will require leaders at every level to be stronger, more consistent communicators. 

  • Managers: Managers drive 70% of team engagement, with Gallup calling them the “linchpin of engagement.” Managers need to cascade crucial information to their direct reports with the context they need to get their jobs done. And they need to do it on a timely and consistent basis to truly have the impact wayward employees need. 
  • Leaders & CEOs: Nearly 80% of leaders think their internal updates are helpful and relevant, an Axios HQ study shows, but only 46% of employees agree. A communication gap like that exposes where employees and leaders are misaligned. To get things back on track, leaders need to share updates on the topics employees need to hear about
  • Communication teams: They are air traffic controllers, directing information through the best channels for employees to read, absorb, and take action. They need to ensure critical updates get reinforced without adding to inbox overload. That starts by identifying key communicators across all departments, gathering updates, and distilling down information critical for jobs to get done. 

The bottom line: “Change the way your people are managed,” is Gallup’s take. And if you look at what employees are asking for — in fact, what employees are telling leaders will make the difference in their engagement — it’s better access to the information they need to succeed in their role. Listen to them, find it, and communicate it clearly.

Go deeper: The "up, down and, around" internal communication strategy to keep teams engaged


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