Employ better people than you and trust them.
Quiet quitting is the emerging phenomenon of employee disengagement, essentially quitting on the job. What strategies do high-impact leaders deploy to motivate themselves and those around them to move from quiet quitting to quiet committing? Because, at its core, there is no change without commitment. Commitment to change ideas. Change beliefs. Change perspectives. Change routines, rituals and boundaries. Organizations change one commitment at a time. One leader at a time. As part of our series about “Quiet Committing: The Top Five Commitments High Impact Leaders Make & Keep To Themselves Daily”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Fahy.
Placecube CEO, Jason Fahy brings over 30 years of commercial, operational and relationship management experience to the business and considers himself adept at building great teams. Jason’s focus is developing and delivering on strategic aims alongside the Placecube Board and Leadership Team.
Placecube is an innovative subscription-based software as a service provider that provides open and connected digital platforms to expedite its clients’ digital transformation journey. Placecube’s product makes it easier for businesses to create digital services, integrate systems, and personalise user experiences.
Thank you for making time for our visit. What was the first job you had, and how did that job shape the leader you are today?
My first job as a demolition operative taught me that situational leadership over a fixed ‘style’ is the best way to cater for the individual members of a team. I most enjoyed the camaraderie with colleagues and the reward of getting a job done through teamwork which has shaped my leadership style. This job was very manual, outdoors, and often up high which teaches you a lot of skills. However, I truly first realised the benefits of a flexible leadership style through captaining sports teams. Some individuals need firmer leadership and instruction, whilst others might need confidence boosting and constant reaffirmation that you trust them.
We’re talking about quiet quitting in this series. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a job you decided to quit?
I think the greatest lesson I learnt on reflection was to ensure a separation between the role and company culture, and who I am as a person. It is important to be true to oneself and to steer a path of doing the right thing. This attempt at separation helps to avoid being consumed by a company culture that at times might not align with your values.
Employee Engagement is top of mind for most organizations. How do you define an engaged employee?
Someone who turns up is present and will do their best for our clients, our business, and their business self. An engaged employee lives out our values, for example, through respect for others, constructive challenge, and support of colleagues. An engaged workforce is the highly tuned engine of the business, one less-than-optimal component can have a real impact on performance.
Say more about your Employee Engagement portfolio. What’s working? What’s not working? And what are you piloting now to address the Quiet Committing trend?
I think “portfolio” may be too grand a description for our Employee Engagement. Our team is engaged, and their feedback supports this, but I am not complacent. Individual isolation is a key concern for me. Company-wide communications continue to improve, driven by employee feedback, but can always be better. Encouraging the team to find time to recreate the water cooler discussions or sit down for a break together during the day, continues to be a work in progress. This more ‘social time’ helps team engagement, combats isolation and aids in voicing concerns rather than suffering in silence.
As goes the leadership, so goes the team. How do you hold leaders accountable for their own level of engagement?
We implemented an initiative called, ‘Team Happiness.’ Team happiness is linked to an individual’s performance assessment, 1–2–1 feedback on demonstrable behaviour and actionable evidence of improvements.
Team Happiness reflects the underlying mood of individuals and the team. Leaders need to keep their finger on the pulse of the mood of the business to understand where the business is causing stress or why an individual might become disengaged. And equally of course when we are winning, ensuring the whole team shares in the success. The benefits are felt in our retention record.
The first phase of the pandemic ushered in the phenomenon called The Great Resignation, where employees left organizations to pursue greater meaning and purpose. Then came The Great Reshuffle, where employees left organizations to pursue promotions, pay and perks. Now we’ve entered a third phase, Quiet Quitting, where employees are deeply disengaged. What do you believe to be the key drivers of Quiet Quitting?
We have been incredibly lucky having not been materially impacted by The Great Resignation, nor The Great Reshuffle, nor are we seeing Quiet Quitting. Our team is 45 people and operates through a remote working model. We work hard to ensure everyone is engaged and not allowed to be left ‘alone’ and become isolated. We encourage everyone to have a voice but recognise some wish to whisper rather than shout and some prefer to speak 1–2–1 rather than whole team meetings. I believe the key driver to Quiet Quitting is a lack of meaningful engagement between employer and employee.
What do you predict will be the next phase in the evolution of the employer / employee landscape?
A maturing of the remote workforce management and catering for a more flexible workforce in terms of hours worked and location.
What leadership behaviors need to evolve to improve employee engagement in a sustainable way?
Leading by example — everyone must live out the company values, these must be clear and defined and embedded into the company culture. Everyone must be encouraged to take responsibility and decision-making in every quarter of the business by creating a backdrop of trust.
Change requires commitment and happens one choice at a time. What are the top five commitments you make and keep to yourself daily that have a material impact on those you lead?
1 . Do the right thing!
2 . Want to be better
3 . Listen more
4 . Be available
5 . Employ better people than you and trust them
What’s the most effective strategy you’ve discovered to get back on track when you break a commitment you’ve made?
I think honesty, whether impacting others or just yourself — recognise failure and own it. This includes considering why it wasn’t prioritised in the first place and evaluating the continued validity of the commitment.
Thank you for sharing these important insights. How can our readers further follow your work?
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!