27 February 2023

How to Provide Performance Feedback When Your Employees Are Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is a TikTok trend that rapidly went viral and escaped the boundaries of our screens, spilling out into people’s lives – and careers. As explained by thousands of young social media users, quiet quitting doesn’t mean quitting your job. It means, instead, doing the bare minimum of what’s required before heading home for the night. Advocates of quiet quitting say that it means breaking free from “hustle culture” and regaining work-life balance. Organizational behaviour experts say it’s a way of dealing with burnout.

Indeed, the popularity and appeal of quiet quitting is indicative of the state of the employee experience today.

Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workforce report demonstrated that only 21% of the workforce were engaged at work. It also demonstrated that employee stress is at an all-time high.

Working in a post-pandemic world isn’t always easy. Workers say that post-pandemic, they have fewer work connections than before, and combined with capabilities to work from home, this also means less engagement.

Another vital element contributing to low engagement is the performance review process. In particular, it has been shown that engagement is linked to an employee’s perception of their opportunities to learn and grow, how valued they are by the company, and the clarity of expectations around their role and performance. If there is a disconnect between the employee and the organization in these key aspects of performance reviews, it can decrease engagement. Tackling performance reviews in a new way, to ensure that they’re delivering more of what employees need, may be key to increasing employee engagement and decreasing the probability of your talent quiet quitting.

However, it can be difficult to know where to start with improving the performance review process. Managers across Europe are now getting ready to have these conversations, but they may find themselves more nervous and unsure about how to handle them than ever before. The good news is that there are ways to make these conversations engaging, productive and valuable.

The importance of providing performance feedback

Despite how challenging it can be, providing performance feedback is essential to the success of the business and to the well-being of employees. Feedback helps employees to understand their role in the big picture and employees are also more engaged when their managers recognize their role in “the big picture.” In terms of performance, 85% of employees stated that they take more initiative when they receive feedback, and 73% noted that it makes them better collaborators, too.

McKinsey’s research on feedback also demonstrates that it enables companies to avoid the perils of enabling “social loafing”, in which team members start to skate by, relying instead on the few top performers on the team to keep delivering consistently. This, of course, has a demotivating effect on both the top performers and the social loafers – hindering performance, growth, and achievement. Intervening with feedback for each team member creates a healthier and more balanced team. Overall, feedback on performance elevates employee engagement, develops careers in the right direction, and boosts organizational performance.

How to provide effective performance feedback

The best feedback is ongoing feedback. Although many organizations have structured their performance reviews as an annual process, the evidence suggests that ongoing and real-time feedback is more effective. Bosses checking in regularly in an engaged and supportive manner generates results. In fact, studies show that people who feel regularly supported by their manager are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.

Indeed, 80% of office workers would prefer feedback in real-time, rather than receiving all feedback months down the line.

Unfortunately, this has decreased since the pandemic, with the advent of remote working, as ongoing conversations turn to Zoom check-ins that are all too often rescheduled or rushed. Therefore, managers must double down on efforts to ensure that they’re providing ongoing feedback throughout the year, as well as summarizing that feedback in yearly performance evaluations.

This can prove harder than it sounds. All too often, leaders have been trained to fill in a form instead of coaching their employees on their performance in a regular and sustainable way. This leaves them scratching their heads when faced with the need to change, unsure of how to pivot from once-a-year feedback to a culture of ongoing coaching in the new age of hybrid working and quiet quitting.

What is performance coaching

The answer to the combined problems of ineffective yearly reviews and the new working world is performance coaching. Performance coaching represents a better methodology for management in which a performance coaching manager will support their employee by providing the guidance they need to achieve specific and mutually agreed goals, via a consistent and continuing process.

It’s real-time and it’s authentic, enabling employees to lean into their strengths, or course correct if necessary, in a way that is relevant to their daily work and inspiring for their future performance. This instrument for developing employee potential and work performance is based on years of research and understanding the factors that motivate peak performance and healthy career trajectories.

The difference between performance coaching & performance management

Performance coaching is a departure from rigid models of performance management.

  • Employee-led: Instead of managers typing away at feedback in private and presenting it to the employee at the end of the year, the employee is involved in an open conversation, setting their own goals and thinking about how they will achieve them, guided by their manager.
  • Human-centered: The employee is seen as a human with their own development goals instead of a part of the organizational machine. They build closer relationships with their managers through these conversations and by flourishing in their own careers, they help the organization flourish too.
  • Celebrates Success: Performance coaching creates space for positive feedback and ongoing celebration of successes. A nurturing environment is developed in which the employee hears a balance of positive and constructive feedback.
  • Builds and Develops: Coaching focuses on learning and improvement instead of simply evaluating the past, as traditional performance management does. It is goal-oriented and centered around employee growth, bridging the gap between where the employee is now and what they want to achieve.

In the performance coaching model, the “annual review” loses its weight and significance. Instead, it’s simply a summary of the ongoing feedback that has taken place over the year. There are no nasty surprises or plot twists, no hard feelings, and no robotic forms to fill out.

Turning managers into effective performance coaches

Performance coaching in a quiet quitting culture builds a more collaborative and open relationship between managers and employees long term and builds a supportive, communicative company culture that functions as an antidote to quiet quitting culture.

Unlike performance management, performance coaching delivers meaningful and inspirational change in the lives of employees, helping them to achieve their career goals and feel fulfilled in their journeys toward their next level of success.

During this annual review process, engage with your talent to identify this and other skills gaps that may exist in your organization and plot out their personal development plan for the year to build a happier, healthier, more resilient team.

Learnlight is an EdTech company offering language, intercultural, and communication skills training for today’s multilingual, multi-cultural workplace. Contact us today to find out how we can help your talent thrive and close the skills gaps in your organization.

Share this article

Latest Insights

Ready to start?

Take your business on the first step to transformative learning today. We look forward to being part of your journey.