Quiet quitting in your sales team. Can you prevent it?

Quiet quitting in your sales team. Can you prevent it?

Quiet quitting, or quiet resignation, is a trend that has recently made headlines in the labor market. What does it consist of and why are companies afraid of it? Learn about its causes, symptoms and effects – see what you face as an employer. Find out what you can do when you notice that an employee is professionally burned out.

Being tired, being physically and mentally exhausted, feeling helpless, feeling like a cheap labor force, being dissatisfied with one’s job duties – probably each of us has experienced at least one of these things at some point in the workplace.

Photo 1. Chronic exhaustion is one of the symptoms of quiet quitting trend.
Photo 1. Chronic exhaustion is one of the symptoms of quiet quitting trend.

What if there are more such symptoms and they occur simultaneously? When can we talk about the quiet quitting phenomenon, and when already, a much more serious in its health consequences, professional burnout? What made us decide to start talking about it?

In the past, employees simply hid the first symptoms of professional burnout, today they subconsciously try to prevent it by choosing to become a quiet quitters.

What is the phenomenon called quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting, is when employees limit the work they do to basic duties, and avoid more responsibility.

Employees who choose quiet quitting simply do not intend to engage in more challenging and creative tasks, and do not take more initiative than necessary.

Their emotional involvement in what they do for a living is minimal.

Why do employees choose to quietly quitting in the context of performing their job duties?

It is worth taking a broader look at this multifaceted quiet quitting trend and noting the various factors that may be causing it. The fact that employees choose quiet quitting can have many reasons.

Let’s explore some of them.

  • They like their jobs, but don’t feel like staying after hours or attending non mandatory meetings. They want a better work-life balance standard and more time for personal life. They are setting boundaries to avoid the job burnout they observe in their co-workers. As a matter of principle – they only do what is necessary bare minimum in the workplace.

Photo 2. The phenomenon of quiet quitting can have various causes.
Photo 2. The phenomenon of quiet quitting can have various causes.

  • Quiet quitters are primarily concerned about their mental health. Probably, they see the negative effects of emotional exhaustion and long-term stress in the work environment. More likely, they already feel the first signs of job burnout and don’t want it to get worse, so they choose to set boundaries and quiet quit so their health does not suffer even more.
  • They experience a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, do not believe in their own abilities and do not look for another job. Those employees are accustomed to what they already know. They don’t have the courage to change things and think they can’t handle more challenging jobs. This type of quiet quitters continue to do their primary responsibilities but avoid work in non office hours and going an extra mile to achieve any goal.
  • They are attached to their jobs and the current level of pay suits them. Those people know that their lack of commitment will not be noticed, they have been working at a similar level for years, and no one carefully checks their performance. Quiet quitting is a convenient excuse for them and an excuse not to have to make an effort. This type of employees are not a bored workers but people who have no intention in job switching.

Where did quiet quitting come from?

The change in employees’ attitudes toward their job duties actually began during the pandemic, when a trend called great resignation began. At least half of american workers were thinking about quiet quitting and how quiet quitting will affect theirs personal life.

That’s when people feeling the effects of job burnout began to leave their jobs en masse.

Photo 3. The time of the pandemic was a period of great resignation, when workers began to leave their jobs en masse.
Photo 3. The time of the pandemic was a period of great resignation, when workers began to leave their jobs en masse.

Remote work, feelings of loneliness, chronic stress, lack of work life balance, poor management, an overload of responsibilities and high demands set by bosses – all of this has caused employees to question the sense of advancing their careers at the expense of themselves.

They began to talk loudly about professional burnout syndrome. Thus was born the phenomenon of quiet quitting.

What is the difference between professional burnout and quiet quitting?

What do we actually call professional burnout? As it turns out, professional burnout and quiet quitting trend have a lot in common. Quiet quitting is a defense mechanism that employees use to prevent professional burnout.

According to the WHO, or World Health Organization, professional burnout syndrome is a psychological condition caused by chronic stress.

It is considered the body’s reaction to constant tension and exhaustion. Professional burnout usually lasts for an extended period of time and progresses in a certain way.

Professional burnout can be characterized by:

  • emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue;
  • depersonalization – employees don’t identify with what they do as they used to, they don’t want to confront more difficult tasks and situations. A person with professional burnout begins to have a negative attitude toward the people he or she works with and doesn’t want to be a team member anymore;
  • lack of satisfaction at work and a decrease in employee engagement.

Stages of professional burnout

The American Psychological Association distinguishes five stages that characterize the phenomenon of professional burnout.

  1. Honeymoon – this is the time when the employee engagement is high, is full of energy, enjoys the duties and, consequently, shows enthusiasm. There is a lot of extra effort and he/she is tend to work harder and staying late. He is characterized by optimism and is fully fascinated by what he does.
  2. Awakening – this is the stage of professional burnout, when the employee tries to maintain an idealistic vision of work, works more and more intensively. At the same time, he begins to notice that this vision is slipping away from reality.
  3. Roughness – this is the moment when relationships with co-workers and customers deteriorate, and it takes more and more time to perform duties. Professional burnout is already taking its toll, and burned-out people feel overtired.
  4. Full-blown burnout – is complete physical and mental exhaustion, there is a feeling of emptiness, aimlessness and loneliness, as well as depression. The employee is doing a bare minimum and is actively disengaged.
  5. Recovery – is the time when an employee recovers from having experienced professional burnout syndrome.

Photo 4. Professional burnout has five stages. Quiet quitting is the is a defense mechanism.
Photo 4. Professional burnout has five stages. Quiet quitting is the is a defense mechanism.

Causes of professional burnout

Among the causes of professional burnout are those related to the organization of work (e.g., time pressure), as well as those having to do with an employee’s characteristics and competencies.

What causes professional burnout? Causes include:

  • excessive responsibilities and disregard for the needs of employees – lack of balance between private life and work,
  • too little pay – when new challenges at work do not come with a high enough paycheck and bonus,
  • lack of job satisfaction – the feeling of wasting time on monotonous and repetitive tasks that do not motivate action and do not require creative thinking.
Photo 5. One of the causes of professional burnout is an excess of responsibilities.
Photo 5. One of the causes of professional burnout is an excess of responsibilities.

The cause of professional burnout can also be:

  • hypersensitivity, overexertion, fatigue from working with other people,
  • inability to cope with stress, difficult situations,
  • a sense of lack of competence, low self-esteem.

Other causes of professional burnout include a mismatch between reality and expectations of work, excessive perfectionism or being given too much responsibility.

Who can be affected by professional burnout?

Professional burnout is said to occur mainly in social service professions, including teachers, social workers and health care workers.

Meanwhile, people experiencing professional burnout also include salespeople, managers, customer service employees, PR and marketing professionals.

In fact, professional burnout can affect anyone who has frequent contact with other people in their work, feels constant stress, sees no deeper meaning in what they do, and knows that their professional development has come to a standstill. A reduced sense of personal achievement is also not insignificant.

On the other hand, professional burnout syndrome often affects people who are highly committed, sensitive, attached to fulfilling certain roles that they perceive as prestigious.

They are often perfectionists who feel irreplaceable. For them, work is the meaning of life, the field in which they fulfill themselves.

Symptoms of professional burnout

We have already discussed what can cause professional burnout. Now it’s time to look at its symptoms. We will focus on those that most often appear in people who work under constant stress.

Symptoms of professional burnout include:

  • full physical exhaustion – chronic fatigue and lack of energy can result from both an excess of responsibilities and a tense atmosphere at work,
  • Emotional exhaustion – the employee does not have the strength to engage in the tasks assigned to him and team relationships,
Photo 6. It happens that employees do not have enough strength to fulfill their duties. Quiet quitting refers to this situation.
Photo 6. It happens that employees do not have enough strength to fulfill their duties. Quiet quitting refers to this situation.
  • mood volatility – feelings of euphoria can quickly change to depression. Such vacillation is poorly perceived by other employees, and is often unfortunately not associated with professional burnout syndrome,
  • depressive states – lack of motivation and desire to go to work, turn on the computer, reluctance to contact customers,
  • sleep disorders – people with professional burnout often complain of insomnia, and not getting enough sleep causes a feeling of constant fatigue,
  • difficulties in performing daily work, lack of concentration, inability to express one’s own opinion.

Professional burnout can also be accompanied by somatic symptoms – headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, numbness in the limbs, attacks of shortness of breath, decreased immunity.

Professional burnout syndrome in the workplace cannot be ignored. It is a reaction of the body on many levels, on emotional, mental, physical and behavioral levels.

How intense it can be, and that it affects everyone, shows that mental health should be taken care of, no matter what position you hold. Read the rest of the article and learn how to deal with professional burnout.

How to treat professional burnout?

June 2019. WHO, the World Health Organization, included professional burnout in the International Classification of Diseases, and as of January 2022 it is recognized as an illness for which an employee can receive L4.

The problem of professional burnout in its early stages is something you can deal with on your own. Physical activity, learning how to manage stress, recuperating and finding time to rest are things that should be put into practice.

Photo 7. In the early stages of burnout, you can try to deal with the problem yourself.
Photo 7. In the early stages of burnout, you can try to deal with the problem yourself.

If the syndrome of professional burnout is so severe that it impedes daily functioning, then it is worth seeing a psychologist or psychotherapist. Sometimes the only thing you need is one meaningful conversation with someone who knows how to help you.

How to prevent professional burnout?

Psychoprevention, professional burnout, burnout syndrome, quiet quitting – despite the fact that these are recently popular terms, still many employers underestimate their importance.

Meanwhile, it is the employers who have a decisive influence on how to motivate employees.

It is they who, seeing the first symptoms of professional burnout, can influence the organization of work.

What should an employer do to prevent the trend of quiet quitting and professional burnout among employees?

  • Assign employees tasks that are appropriate to their skills.
  • Set goals that are realistic to achieve.
  • Evaluate work objectively.
  • Take care of relations within the company and adequate compensation.
  • Enable professional development.

Quiet quitting and professional burnout in the sales department

Whether you are dealing with quiet quitting or already professional burnout in the sales team, you will notice not only by the mood of the employees and the symptoms we described earlier in the article.

Professional burnout and a decline in salespeople’s commitment to their work will also show concrete data. Those on the number of meetings initiated, successful deals, new sales threads, deal values and much more.

Every salesperson works on the basis of a plan, goals, scripts and assumptions. It’s a job where numbers and data are of paramount importance. They show more than you might think at first glance.

Did you know that on an average day a salesperson spends only 30% of his time on sales? All the rest of his time is taken up by tasks related to preparing reports, offers or making phone calls.

If, on top of this, the salesman suffers from professional burnout or has been caught up in quiet quitting, the time spent on real contact with the customer will decrease significantly. So you can imagine how this will translate into company profit.

What if an employer could use one tool to motivate employees at the same time, and on the other hand, measure the effectiveness of their work and check whether professional burnout has appeared in the team?

Salesbook is a modern application that supports salespeople in their daily work, while providing reliable and complete sales data.

How to prevent professional burnout in the sales department?

First of all, if until now in your company sales functioned on the basis of established sales techniques, unchanged scripts for years, and the work of a salesman consisted of tediously filling Excel tables, it is worth reaching for new solutions. This is already the first step to avoiding professional burnout in the team.

Photo 8. The modern work of a salesman requires the use of modern solutions.
Photo 8. The modern work of a salesman requires the use of modern solutions.

The profession of a modern salesman should certainly not be monotonous, and a good salesman equipped with professional tools gains an advantage in the market.

How does Salesbook work in everyday work?

Salesbook is an innovative application that allows you to automate tedious and repetitive tasks that salespeople waste time on. As a result, it helps increase financial results by up to 53%.

How does Salesbook work in practice?

  • It prepares reports on the quality of sales calls.
  • You receive data on customer meetings.
Photo 9: View of meeting analysis.
Photo 9: View of meeting analysis.
  • Analyzes the effectiveness of salespeople against the best group of salespeople.
  • Provides you with information on the content that can have the greatest impact on customers.
  • Shows you the most effective sales paths.
  • Helps you set realistic KPIs.
Photo 10: View of the KPI module.
Photo 10: View of the KPI module.

All the information you gain helps you optimize your sales process. Based on this, you are able to choose what works best for your company and implement it on a large scale.

An effective path of action will definitely have a positive impact on the motivation of salespeople, who, seeing specific data, can pursue realistic goals.

What else do you need to know about Salesbook?

  • It is a tool for both the sales manager and the salesman. The former receives reports: specific data and figures in the system, while the latter has a tablet with an app that he can customize to his needs.
Photo 11: View of scheduled meetings.
Photo 11: View of scheduled meetings.
  • Salesbook improves sales. It provides information about the offer and the company, the salesman does not have to remember all the details. It only takes a few clicks to reach the necessary knowledge.
  • It prompts the salesman on how to conduct an effective sales conversation, and analyzes the customer profile.
  • The salesman does not spend at least half of his working hours developing a personalized offer, the application does it for him, preparing a visually appealing presentation.
Photo 12: View of the personalized offer.
Photo 12: View of the personalized offer.
  • Salesbook itself, after the meeting, will send the offer to the customer and notify the salesperson that it has been opened. It will also send a report with a summary to any company’s CRM, the salesperson doesn’t waste time on it.
Photo 13: View of the meeting summary.
Photo 13: View of the meeting summary.
  • The app also allows for signing contracts and collecting marketing consents, all on the tablet.
  • With this tool, the salesperson can already plan the next steps during the meeting and add them to the calendar.

Mental health of employees in the workplace

Every modern manager and conscious leader must realize the importance of employees’ mental health. Nurturing wellbeing, providing opportunities for professional development, building an effective team and finding solutions to automate processes are among the key things he should focus on.

Monotonous work is capable of clipping the wings of even the most ambitious salespeople. It causes frustration, mental fatigue, weariness and leads the best ones to start making mistakes, too. Consequently, they stop feeling connected to the organization, especially for younger workers.

So, if we have a chance to try out new solutions that breathe a spirit of freshness into the sales team, allow them to focus their energies on more effective work, more effective conversation, it is worth trying them out.

Now that you have become more familiar with professional burnout: causes, symptoms and effects after reading the article, you can be more vigilant about your team and respond when needed. This is what successful managers should do to have an engaged employees in the team.

A creative and motivated employee not only has a positive impact on the rest of the team, but also feels more strongly connected to the company. Needless to say, he tries harder with the feeling that his employer cares about his comfort at work. It is much more efficient to work someone who is not just a cog in the machine, but a “real” person whose well-being and work life balance matters.

Explore all of Salesbook’s capabilities

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