•   Article   •   4 mins

Let’s Say it Out Loud: Learning Combats Quiet Quitting

A new movement is gaining momentum amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As people reimagine what work can look like, some are embracing the trend of “quiet quitting,” also known as “acting your wage.”

The concept revolves around leaving the hustle mentality behind. Instead of going above and beyond, people are doing only what their job descriptions require. They’re basically working to live, not living to work.

Long hours, burnout and an overall lack of excitement with work are breeding grounds for this new trend. According to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, engagement and wellbeing were rising globally before the pandemic. But now, they’re stagnant: “With only 21% of employees engaged at work and 33% of employees thriving in their overall wellbeing, most would say that they don’t find their work meaningful, don’t think their lives are going well or don’t feel hopeful about their future.”

Employee productivity has long been one of the main metrics for excellence and growth, making “quiet quitters” a top concern of companies worldwide. And it doesn’t bode well for the global economy; low engagement costs the world $7.8 trillion – 11% of global GDP.

How can employers turn this trend around? Boosting engagement by promoting learning is one key way. Employees need to be recognized and compensated fairly but also given the freedom to choose their career pathways — and this starts with a thoughtful learning strategy

Manager involvement is crucial.

Managers can play an important role in re-engaging the workforce. 

In just about any company, managers are uniquely positioned to affect change that gets results. At the same time, they set a tone — in a positive learning culture, people are 92% more likely to say their manager supported their development. Managers create a positive learning experience when they provide guidance on how and what to learn; offer diverse and active development experiences; share feedback and insights on progress; and extend opportunities to practice, apply and stretch skills.

Vale, one of the largest mining companies in the world with 2,000 employees, put its Manager for Compensation and Benefits in charge of a content curation taskforce and saw employee interest in learning grow.  The Degreed Manager’s Guide to a Positive Learning Culture highlights how you can help them build a positive learning culture and boost productivity.

The Manager’s Guide to a Positive Learning Culture

Find out what your employees are passionate about.

Passions are motivators, and helping your people tap into them can ignite their learning journeys. According to Deloitte, companies that will thrive in tomorrow’s dynamic new economy need their employees to be engaged and passionate. Gartner also predicts that passion will be a key driver in changing the workplace in the next decade, with people actively seeking opportunities to tie the impact and value of their work to their own mission, purpose and passions.

Open people’s eyes to their surroundings and help them understand what makes themselves tick by encouraging them to explore what they’re interested in and passionate about. Maybe you have a Customer Experience representative who’s passionate about product development. If their manager is aware of their interest, they can arrange a mentorship with someone from the Product team to develop this further into a new career opportunity.

Encourage self-directed learning and give diverse options.

Tap into your people’s motivations and reasons to learn. Without a learner-centered approach, any attempt to upskill your workforce on a large scale will fail because people won’t buy into it. Cultivate a lifelong learning mindset and encourage employees to be self-sufficient. As managers give them guidance, employees should take the initiative. 

Democratize access to learning opportunities and offer flexibility. Automobile manufacturer Ford Motor Company improved its employee experience by providing learning content to all its workforce, regardless of rank. A first-line employee in finance, or in the factory, has access to the same content as a director or vice-president has. Melanie Davis, Chief Learning Officer at Ford Motor Company, explained the most important step in making learning easier to access was first creating a single sign-on and then starting with three main groups: HR, IT and people leaders. By modeling use of the product and their own learning objectives, they became learning mentors of sorts for their employees.

At Cargill, the L&D team got learning into the hands of their employees faster than ever by using agile development, a strategy popular among software engineers who demand fast and flexible collaboration across teams. . As a result, employee efficiency went up, as did engagement, while Cargill experienced a decrease of 40% to 70% for delivery costs. Agility in the learning process is fundamental. When someone can learn in ways that work for them and set their own goals, they become the protagonist of their own development story. 

Another thing to take notice of is providing learners with diverse options. People learn best when they’re allowed to choose how they learn. Give them courses, books, podcasts, TED Talks and other options available on demand, so they can carve their own personalized learning paths and develop at their own pace.

Diversifying options also means providing materials to your team in the language people are most comfortable with, especially when you operate on a global scale. International consumer goods company Unilever increased employee engagement, generating positive feedback from its workforce when the company localized its learning content.

Build a culture of continuous learning.

Because it’s fundamentally changed the way we work, the pandemic has reinforced the need for continuous learning. Now more than ever, it’s clear that people should always be building skills they’ll need to thrive in the future. Implementing a culture of continuous learning that boosts employee engagement is a crucial part of creating a positive learning culture. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Check out the Degreed Upskilling Survival Guide.

Companies can no longer afford to not invest in training and development initiatives. These programs have evolved from add-on to necessity and become a critical part of any thoughtful growth strategy  — especially one that stops people from quiet quitting.

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