The majority of the world’s workforce is “quiet quitting”. This is according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, which showed how in addition to 59% of employees “quiet quitting”, only 23% are thriving while 18% are “loud quitting”.
This points towards a major lack of employee engagement in the workplace. The employee-work relationship has been in flux ever since the pandemic, which seemed to inflame existing gripes and concerns. We had the “great resignation” which saw workers leave their current roles in search of new meaning and opportunities, not to mention a tug of war (that is still ongoing) between employee and employer over flexible working.
But at a time when the economy is putting pressure on businesses to do more with less, leaders can’t afford to have an employee base uninterested in their overarching role, and a ticking retention timebomb. This is especially true for customer-facing teams, who face an increasingly competitive marketplace, dealing with bigger revenue targets and changing customer behaviour. What might prove the answer though is the latest workplace trend – “quiet thriving”.
Why businesses stand to benefit from “quiet thriving”
While “quiet quitting” sees employees fulfilling the basic tasks of their role, but lacking motivation to go above and beyond, “quiet thriving” is the opposite – employees taking control of their career, being positive and pursuing new interests and relationships.
The term was coined by neuroscientist and success coach Laura Ellera who, in the Washington Post, wrote: “If you’re frustrated at work – and who isn’t some of the time – quiet quitting is not the only answer … involves taking specific actions and making mental shifts that help you to feel more engaged on the job.”
When it comes to implementing a trend like this, what are workplaces waiting for? Well, making the transition from quitting to thriving isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Especially when it concerns almost 6 in 10 of the global workforce. One thing that can certainly speed up the transition and get the employee-work relationship back on track though is coaching.
According to Aircall’s AI Index, 77% of employees at small to medium businesses (SMBs) said training and coaching teams is essential to get the most value from calls with their customers. But today, finding the time to dedicate to these opportunities can be difficult. Almost half (48%) of support and customer service reps say a key issue they face is poor coaching materials or a lack of them.
The answer for teams might seem frustratingly out of reach, but there is one way business leaders can carve out the time required for coaching without stripping more hours out of their already threadbare day – and that’s technology.
How technology makes coaching possible
Even before the pandemic, technology had started to play more of a role in employee training and coaching. It’s no surprise really – coaching platforms and technology not only help reduce the time a senior leader spends in face-to-face training, but can help deliver uniformity across employee skill sets and connect the dots between a hybrid workplace.
Yet coaching technology is a pretty broad term and if the intention is to drive employee engagement, then business leaders should look to invest in their coaching beyond a new tech subscription and logins. It has to involve investment.
Below, I outline some must-haves every business leader should be mindful of when implementing technology into their coaching strategy.
Rather than the cookie-cutter approach to coaching, you should look to employ a strategy that rewards curiosity and personal aims. When employees have control over their own trajectory, it can leave them far more satisfied in their role and feeling as though they’ve played a greater part in organisational success.
Every business will have its targets – whether it’s call conversion rates, calls made, resolution times, etc. – but how your sales and support reps get there should, in some part, be done to them. Work with them on how they perform best and what personal value they think they're bringing to the role – and then look to give them what they need, whether that’s encouragement or tools.
Make your team’s time count
A major attraction of coaching technology is how it saves time. But this doesn’t mean sales and support leaders should hand over the reins entirely. Instead, look at it from another angle – ask what technology solutions you are using to enable those good at coaching to do more of it.
According to our AI Index, SMB employees are spending an average of three hours a week on coaching and training other team members. This might not sound like much, but try and find three hours in your diary! Plus, we can presume that these three hours are free from automation and are admin-heavy. Technology should first make it easier for your team to be able to coach – and then enable them to have a greater impact through the assets it creates (more on that below).
Harness expert opinions
We don’t just mean your team. Your customers are the ones you are moving heaven and earth to please, so make sure you are listening to them and using their insights. AI-supported tools are invaluable in their ability to sift through hours of calls and voicemails to deliver insights and trends that would take your team days to put together.
These can be used to form playbooks and best practice methods. Partner them with your hardened team leaders who have years of experience on the job, and you have a powerful and inspiring way of coaching your team.
The path to “loud thriving”
It’s possible that years of vanilla strategies and a lack of real investment from business leaders have made coaching a negative thing – something people do begrudgingly and leaves little lasting impression.
What can change all this is reinforcing coaching with the double-whammy of technology and leadership investment. Streamlining the process, and boiling down the assets and time to make everything as potent as possible. This isn’t something that can just take the edge of a “quietly quitting” workforce, but something that can empower people to thrive – and do so, loudly.
Lead image: Photo by NEOM