We’ve all heard about the post-pandemic “great resignation,” when the national quit rate reached epic proportions. Quiet quitting then gained notoriety as employee engagement and performance dropped dramatically. However, a newer buzzword is emerging that sees workers left behind taking on more responsibilities and an increased workload beyond their job description without receiving a promotion, new title or additional compensation.
This “quiet promotion” trend can cost your business valuable loyal employees, increase turnover and create a toxic work culture of resentment and dissatisfaction.
Quiet promotion is a quick and harsh solution to a company’s staffing issue that puts extra pressure and work on existing employees. As companies battle high employee turnover, loyal employees left behind are saddled with extra responsibilities. There’s no compensation increase or title change. Often, the organization doesn’t even acknowledge the unfair expectations it places on affected team members.
Quiet promotions indicate a disconnect that may stem from one or all of the following:
It’s crucial for businesses to recognize the existence of quiet promotions in their workplaces or risk losing valuable employees.
Unfortunately, quiet promotions aren’t unusual. According to the employer review site Job Sage, 78 percent of surveyed workers experienced a quiet promotion – a workload increase without a pay raise. Additionally, 67 percent were saddled with extra work after a colleague left the company.
While company workloads fluctuate, quiet promotions that strain loyal employees are far too common. While quiet promotions can happen in any organization, the following industries are most susceptible:
According to the Job Sage data, these industries are 80 percent or more likely to increase workloads without compensation – with art and design and hospitality nearly hitting 90 percent.
Quiet promotions are detrimental to the workplace and cause severe drawbacks for employers and employees. Here are some of the issues quiet promotions create in the workplace:
Most businesses want a healthy environment where employees produce high-quality work. As workloads fluctuate and staffing issues occur, managers must balance fairness and accountability with high productivity and employee engagement.
Here are some ways to keep your team working effectively and efficiently while avoiding quiet promotions:
Your company leaders are key to avoiding quiet promotions. True leaders will find a way to balance responsibilities while prioritizing employee wellness and engagement.
The right leadership team is crucial when recruiting talented employees, keeping them and maintaining an excellent employer reputation. Having the wrong person in charge can alienate employees and ultimately steer your business in the wrong direction.
Directors and managers must create a balanced delegation plan to increase productivity while avoiding overworking their teams. Some tips for balanced delegation include the following:
Setting clear expectations for employees is crucial. There may come a time when you need to adjust or change an employee’s workload or role without a promotion. If this is the case, be clear about any additional responsibilities you’re giving them and why. Let them know if the additional workload is temporary or building toward a promotion or pay increase. Follow through on the expectations you set in an appropriate time frame.
If you must ask an employee to go above and beyond but don’t plan to promote them, be clear about that as well. Consider offering bonuses as compensation, and don’t make their workload increase permanent.
If you’re adding to your team’s workload constantly and they’re consistently performing tasks outside their job descriptions, it may be time to hire more employees – or give your current staff a raise.
Communication is vital to avoiding quiet promotions. Great leaders and managers communicate with their employees effectively to lead and inspire them. They assign duties, manage conflict, incentivize and develop relationships – all of which require excellent and transparent communication. It’s crucial to talk to employees consistently and intentionally to assess their workloads and feelings and see if they’re getting the support they need.
Employees want a positive work-life balance, rewarding work and career growth. When your company can help provide all three, you gain a loyal, productive, engaged workforce. When employees and companies understand each other’s goals, they can work together to ensure all needs are being met.
In an environment where employees feel empowered and have a sense of ownership over their work, they’ll perform at a higher level and flourish. Gratitude and recognition are key.
If managers give employees a considerable increase in responsibilities, it should go hand in hand with the proper recognition and rewards to empower the employee for continued success.
Compensation doesn’t always mean a salary increase. If your employees are taking on additional work, consider offering more employee benefits like paid time off (PTO), flexible work schedules, and remote or hybrid work options. Employees will appreciate creative perks that boost their work-life balance, including opportunities to pursue professional development.
As organizations fight to retain valued employees, they can’t afford quiet promotions that wreak havoc on their workplace culture. Employees deserve a positive work-life balance, benefits, fair compensation and respect. Keeping the lines of communication open and delegating thoughtfully can keep employees from feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated.
When businesses establish a company culture where employees feel valued and engaged, everyone wins.