Worried about the ‘Quit-Tok’ trend? Ways to boost employee engagement

One of the latest HR catchphrases could have big implications for everything from employee engagement to retention and recruitment: It’s been dubbed “Quit-Tok,” and it happens when employees use social media phenomenon TikTok to release covertly filmed resignation meetings or terminations.

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According to Garrick Beck, vice president of talent acquisition at NTT DATA Group Corp., a global IT and business services company, the Quit-Tok trend—mainly involving Gen Z workers—follows in the wake of  “quiet quitting,” where employees do as little work as possible, but just enough not to be fired.

Beck explains that both trends point to troubling employee engagement issues. For example, he cites a recent Gallup poll that found only one-third of U.S. employees are currently engaged in their work. According to the Conference Board, disengagement contributes to, on average, $500 billion worth of losses annually.

Link between employee engagement and upskilling

Beck says the skills gap is a “decisive factor in the decline of engagement, with companies too often relying on handbooks and onboarding documents to comprehensively increase the skills level of new and existing employees.”

Another recent survey found that nearly half of workers polled said they would be more likely to stay at their current jobs if their employer offered more training. Beck explains that by implementing a personalized upskilling program, employers can create tangible learning opportunities for employees, placing employers as partners in career development, while attracting top talent.

Garrick Beck, NTT Data
Garrick Beck, NTT DATA

Given that the skills gap in the “efficient use of new technologies is stark,” Beck says, this could be a primary focus for combatting the disengagement that leads to Quit-Tok among younger workers.

“We have seen younger workforces become more willing to accept newer technologies as businesses digitally transform,” he says. “This means more focus could be placed on upskilling experienced employees on remote connectivity tools.”

However, Beck says, implementing these programs is not challenge-free. For example, resistance from senior staff and logistical hurdles in deploying training at scale are common issues.

“It’s crucial for companies to address these challenges head-on by integrating change-management strategies into program rollouts,” he says.

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Furthermore, he adds, improved skill levels could dramatically influence other aspects of business performance, such as innovation and operational efficiency.

“As companies become more adept at using new technologies, they not only close the skills gap but also enhance their competitive edge in a rapidly evolving marketplace,” Beck says.

Being proactive to prevent turnover

Upskilling alone isn’t enough to fend off the issues fueling Quit-Tok, says Beck, who notes employers should be prepared to see surges in attrition rates this year. A recent Harris Poll showed one-third of U.S. hiring managers are anticipating an increase in employee turnover in 2024. Also, a survey from Haillo found three-quarters of employees surveyed are considering leaving their jobs by the end of 2024.

“To address this scenario, businesses must place more emphasis on employee wellbeing in order to reap the rewards of a more engaged workforce,” Beck says. He adds that employee resource groups can be an effective wellbeing tool, as they create a feedback loop between employees and managers.

By helping employees with shared identities bond, he adds, employers can foster a culture of inclusivity, and integrate employees into the fabric of their company. Additionally, Beck notes, ERGs can also be an effective way to attract talent through referral systems, utilizing networks to help like-minded people find suitable opportunities.

In addition to ERGs, Beck believes employers should explore flexible working arrangements, more competitive compensation packages and robust career development opportunities to further boost employee retention and satisfaction.

“These comprehensive approaches ensure that businesses not only have talent but also cultivate a motivated, committed workforce,” he says.

Using data to quantify, drive employee engagement

In Beck’s view, as data becomes the driving force of decision-making at most large employers, failing to take a metrics-led approach to engagement will put businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

He offers that one way to address this is by quantifying engagement—for instance, investing in software such as embedded business intelligence or company-wide surveys. Such tools can provide managers and talent acquisition stakeholders with key data indicators on the user experience of specific technologies.

“Identifying these factors can serve as the first step towards enabling technology teams to develop more intuitive platforms,” Beck says.

To enhance the effectiveness of metrics, employers should also consider benchmarking their engagement levels against industry standards or competitors. It can result in a clearer perspective on where they stand in the marketplace and highlight areas requiring improvement.

Additionally, Beck adds, the data collected can lead to actionable insights. He notes that if surveys indicate employees are struggling with a new technology, targeted training sessions can be organized to enhance competence and satisfaction.

“Establishing continuous feedback loops where employees regularly contribute thoughts on workplace technologies and practices is also crucial in keeping engagement strategies relevant and effective,” Beck explains. Furthermore, he says, incorporating predictive analytics can significantly enhance employee engagement strategies.

“By analyzing trends and patterns from the collected data, employers can predict potential disengagement issues before they escalate, allowing for proactive interventions,” he concludes. “In the end, it’s a solid strategy in reducing—if not eliminating—an internal ‘Quit-Took’ outbreak.”

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Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at [email protected].