Is Your Team 'Quiet Quitting'?

Feb. 14, 2023

Making validation and recognition a part of the culture.

In the post-pandemic worldthe way that people prioritize their lives has changed. Now more than ever, people are recognizing the importance of a healthy work-life balance. They are putting up more boundaries between their work and day-to-day life and aren’t overextending themselves in their jobs like they used to. This behavior change in the workplace can be seen across industries, including the automotive aftermarketand it has led to the coining of the term “quiet quitting. Although the term is often used negatively, it is important to note that this behavior is not necessarily bad 

Deanna Baumgardner, HR expert and president at Employers Advantage LLC, believes that such behavior shouldn’t be called quiet quitting because of that negative connotation.  

“People aren’t quitting their jobs,” she says. They’re just protecting their time more and themselves.” 

This trend is not something to shirk within the shop. Instead, it should be embraced. Because even though quiet quitting is not initially negative, it may lead to negative patterns if it’s not handled correctly. Baumgardner believes that these negative patterns become especially noticeable. 

If [employees] do not feel that they're getting support, validation or recognition from the organization,” she says. 

Add onto that the low wages and repetitive work that quick lube technicians deal with every day and the odds of avoiding negative behavior are not in an auto-shop employer's favor But fret notBaumgardner has provided three easy ways to avoid the negative side-effects of quiet quitting. 

Check In with Employees  

At Baumgardner’s company, individual check-ins with employees occur bi-weekly. Baumgardner takes this time to talk to everyone about their role and what they’re looking for from their job.  

“I really think people need to be transparent,” she says. Be open with your employees. Have the one-on-one conversations with them, ask them how they're doing. 

Having transparent conversations between shop-owners and employees can help an employee feel supported and ensure that the shop-owner can help the employee meet their career goals. It also helps the employee feel comfortable going to the shop owner with problems, which in turn prevents job dissatisfaction. 

Provide Recognition  

Shop owners can provide recognition to their employees in many waysFor example, Baumgardner ensures that her team feels recognized for their work through a Kudos channelHere anyone is allowed to post about a customer’s positive feedback or an employee’s positive actions. Recognition could also be verbal appreciation from an auto-shop owner to an employee, or a shout-out about a hard-working employee in a team meeting. Regardless of how it happens, providing recognition is essential. Letting employees know that their diligence does not go unnoticed helps them to feel validated and encourages them to continue working hard   

Team-Building Activities 

Baumgardner provides weekly coffee breaks for her employees where the only rule is that they are not allowed to discuss work. Instead, they can talk about whatever they want. This provides the opportunity for team bonding and creates an open-line of peer-to-peer conversation. Baumgardner’s company also has a monthly event where they meet up outside of work to just talk and catch up. Team-building activities prevent the development of negative patterns because they help employees feel seen and heard. These activities offer employees an outlet to express their discontent about work, or life, with others who understand and can validate their feelings. In addition, the meetings give employees a reprieve from their long workdays, helping them with work-life balance.  

When asked what advice she would pass on to shop owners, Baumgardner stressed that even in the fast-paced environment of the shop, owners can still find meaningful opportunities for transparent communication.  

The pandemic has created a huge shift in the way people view work, and how business is done. As a result, automotive companies don’t have the grounds to force their employees to do things the way that they used to. To guarantee continued success, it is necessary for automotive businesses to develop a forward-moving plan. As the workplace continues to shift and change, auto shop owners should make sure that they too are evolving with their business.