Battling the Quiet Disengagement: Why ‘Resenteeism’ Matters to Small Businesses

Let’s talk resenteeism. You’ve probably heard of “quiet quitting” by now, but resenteeism is another silent threat lurking in workplaces. It describes employees who are physically there but mentally checked out because they resent their employer. They complete tasks, but the passion and drive are missing.

This might not seem as bad as absenteeism, but a recent Owl Labs survey tells a different story. After surveying employees about the tension amid ongoing return to office mandates and hybrid work preferences, they found:

  • 17% felt taken advantage of 
  • 15% were resentful of colleagues with more flexibility 
  • 13% were resentful of employers for allowing flexibility

Why Does Resenteeism Matter, Especially for Small Businesses?

For small businesses, where everyone wears multiple hats, a disengaged employee can have a big impact. It can:

  • Drag down productivity: Let’s face it, nobody’s best self is on autopilot.
  • Diminish morale: A negative attitude is contagious, and a resenteeist employee can bring down the whole team.
  • Hinder growth: When employees aren’t motivated, innovation suffers.

Spotting the Signs of Resenteeism

Resenteeism can be sneaky, but here are some red flags to watch for:

  • Passion takes a vacation: Once-enthusiastic employees become withdrawn and unenthused.
  • The bare minimum becomes the norm: Work gets done, but with no initiative or extra effort.
  • Responsibilities become a burden: Employees actively avoid taking on new tasks.

Combating Resenteeism: Strategies for Small Businesses

The good news? Resenteeism isn’t a death sentence. Here’s how to fight back and build a more engaged team:

  • Open the lines of communication: Talk to your employees! Regular check-ins can nip problems in the bud before they fester. Plus, it shows you value their thoughts and input.
  • Invest in growth: Training programs and clear career paths show employees you see a future for them within the company.
  • Celebrate the wins (big and small): Recognition goes a long way. A simple “thank you” or a bonus program can boost morale.
  • Promote work-life balance: Flexible work arrangements, when possible, can make a huge difference. Happy employees are productive employees. If you are implementing flexible arrangements, ensure this is rolled out fairly to all employees. 
  • Address the root cause: Is workload distribution unfair? Is the office environment stifling? Are some employees receiving perks that others are not? Identify and fix issues that contribute to negativity.

Leaders: You’re the Key

Leaders set the tone. Be approachable, listen to concerns, and take action. Show your team you care about their well-being and are committed to creating a positive work environment.

The Takeaway

Resenteeism is real, but it’s manageable. By taking proactive steps, you can create a thriving and engaged team, which is essential for any small business to succeed in today’s competitive market. 

Remember, a happy and motivated workforce is your greatest asset!

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