ExaxtHire is a company that is built around addressing, and fixing HR related issues. From talent sourcing, applicant tracking, onboarding, and much more ExactHire can help. Quiet thriving is a topic recently being discussed in the HR field, along with quiet hiring and quiet quitting. Learn more about it here and how to foster quiet thriving.
What is Quiet Thriving?
There is a “quiet” theme that is becoming rather loud in the professional environment. Quiet quitting, quiet hiring, and now there is an additional “quiet” to explore: quiet thriving. Quiet thriving is a concept coined by psychologist Lesley Alderman. When an employee is quietly thriving, they are finding ways to make changes to their workday to make the day more positive for them and proactively finding ways to re-engage within the work environment. Subtle changes occur without making loud fanfare to promote their actions. These employees tend to perform at or above expectations. Often, low-key and low-maintenance are terms to describe these individuals who simply want to do their job, do it well and often leave the job behind for the day when the workday is over.
In their 2022 State of the Global Workforce report, Gallup reported that 33% of workers felt engaged at work so on the converse, a whopping majority of ~66+% feel disconnected and unmotivated in their daily roles. When the majority of workers feel a disconnect, something is lacking. That number speaks volumes and should motivate organizations to conduct an internal audit of their employees’ engagement and identify ways to better support their employees if the results show employee engagement is below expectations. Extroverted employees are more likely to share their perspectives so do not overlook introverted employees. Introverted employees have relevant, important ideas that can be overshadowed by more vocal employees. After collecting input from employees, use those results to make positive change.
How to Promote Quiet Thriving
Human Resources and management can reduce employees’ chances of quiet quitting and encourage quiet thriving by having consistent conversations to check-in to listen, not hear, but truly listen to what employees have to say. Observe nonverbal communication too. Often, a strong message can be conveyed in actions, not just words. In these check-in conversations, management and/or Human Resources need to ask candid questions to help with engagement and ultimately retention. Find out what parts of their job they like best and least. Are there tasks that they would like to try? Is the employee interested in leadership opportunities? Some people seek higher level roles while others do not want that additional responsibilities and can still be productive contributors.
While extroverts and introverts can both appreciate the benefits of quiet thriving, this concept tends to appeal more to introverts who value opportunities to shine outside of being in the spotlight. Often extroverts are thrust in the limelight, frequently by choice, when they want to share ideas or for acknowledgement of tasks well-done. Vast amounts of public attention can be emotionally draining for introverts. Quiet thriving is not about muting or excluding extroverts. It is centered upon having an environment that meets the needs of both extroverts and introverts.
Supporting Your Employees
Employees who seek to quietly thrive need a work environment that supports their needs. Quiet areas and dedicated rooms can offer the much needed solitude to think, analyze and perform. In those dedicated quiet areas, eliminate noise and distractions. Not everyone thrives in an open environment, and the idea of forced social conversation with colleagues can generate anxiety. This is another opportunity for organizations to explore hybrid and/or remote work opportunities. Some employees can be more productive and mentally happier without onsite social distractions. Providing flexibility to employees to craft their work schedules and locations offers quiet thrivers much needed autonomy which can lead to higher productivity and retention.
Collaboration still exists in an environment of quiet thrivers. Quiet thrivers want meaningful discussion and idea sharing where the attention is focused on finding the solution to a project. It is safely sharing ideas in an environment where no one is ridiculed for asking questions or throwing out an “off-the-wall” idea that might or might not work. Having an environment that is supportive of discussion and debate can promote collaboration between differing personality styles. Teams with all personality types can still coexist, but it is imperative that employees do not overshadow others and prevent teammates from confidently and comfortably sharing ideas.
Communication styles vary among employees. Some individuals who possess valuable knowledge and ideas simply do not like to verbally interact as much as others. Verbal interaction is necessary, but not for every idea shared. Management can support quiet thrivers by promoting chat tools among teammates. Sending messages between teammates can develop discussion with reduced chances of conversations diverting to unrelated topics. When discussing topics, listen to quiet thrivers without interrupting, and allow time for silence. Not everyone wants or should respond immediately without thought on the topic being discussed.
Communication between co-workers is also important. To enhance productivity, encourage employees to share times that they have blocked off on their calendars for high priority projects and/or collaboration. Management should avoid meetings and interruptions during that time, and ask for a recap of action items completed during that time. Ensure the check-in comes across as a request so the manager can be a resource, not that the check-in is a way to make sure work is completed. Micromanagement is a leading cause of employee disengagement. Trust your team to do the work assigned to them.
Focus on the emotional needs of quiet thrivers. No matter the personality type, people want to know they have done well on a project. Quiet thrivers appreciate acknowledgement of success. Praise them privately and give them notice when they will be publicly acknowledged in groups. This gives them time to prepare for extra attention that might make them uncomfortable.
Quiet thriving is a concept meant to build on the strengths of (mostly) introverted employees. In the workforce, quiet thriving can help retain productive employees. Allow employees to be in the shadow of others if they want to be. Supporting employees who seek to quietly thrive will help reduce the risk of them quietly quitting and reduce the need for organizations to quietly hire to offset low producers. Let quiet thrivers shout their message of productivity and engagement using their own quiet voices. They want to be heard!