I spent a lot of my time these days focused on onboarding, bringing in new people, getting them up to speed, and contributing. That’s an important process. So is off-boarding, because when you don’t have a proper process for departing employees, stuff like this can happen.
They are setting boundaries. They are cutting back on their commitment and engagement with work because they see that work is not the most important thing in life. They make decisions based on their mental health instead of the company’s bottom line.
No one is leaving their job in this situation. No one is not doing their work. They are simply not taking on extra work and commitments that they aren’t getting paid for.
Our society’s relationship with work is so skewed that the word we have chosen for this is “quitting”. There’s something profoundly sad about that.
Let’s face it, what company in the tech or legal sector is not telling employees that the way to get ahead is to go “above and beyond” their job description? Or, as I also hear often, to get that promotion, you need to be doing part of the next job on your career path.
I also know many people, especially younger people, who hear that and immediately ask why they should be doing a job that isn’t the job they are getting paid to do.
That’s a fair question. Why should any of us stress ourselves to take on responsibilities that might allow us to get a promotion and eventually be paid for doing that work someday? Let’s face it; many people have been doing that work and getting no promotions or salary adjustments for years. They see that and want no part of it.
Why would we do that to ourselves? Maybe we all should figure out a better way to evaluate and promote people.
People want to grow. They want to learn, and they want to develop the skills necessary to remain relevant in industries that are going through constant change. You can provide them with opportunities, or they will go somewhere else to do those things. Those are genuinely your only options. Change happens way too fast now for you to sit back and not help your people change with the times. Career stagnation is career death.
It’s all the remote equivalent of sitting at your desk later than your coworkers to show you are hard-working. That never told anyone who was getting the most work done, but it rarely stopped bosses from using it as a proxy and rewarding people for looking like they worked hard. It’s been an issue in the workplace for years, and remote work finally allowed us to get rid of it forever if we chose to.
Or we can just keep doing it and never make any improvements.
I’ve seen this fail so many times I can’t even begin to count them all. Mostly where they fail is that the career path is designed by someone who got where they are by taking path “A”, and so they design the same path for everyone else to follow. This is short-sighted for two reasons:?1. Not everyone is you. Not everyone wants to do the same things you have done or do now. (Over time those things you did 10-15 years ago may not even be relevant.)?2. That path winds to your job, so unless you are leaving, it has a dead-end built into it. Dead-ends cause retention problems.