Addressing ‘quiet quitting’ at your carwash

Addressing ‘quiet quitting’ at your carwash

What can you do to keep productivity high?

“Quiet quitting” is a recent trend among young employees with a simple premise — instead of going above and beyond, they choose to do the bare minimum at work. They complete the tasks in their job description with little enthusiasm, making no attempt to connect with co-workers, take on new challenges or advance within the company.

If quiet quitting has become an issue at your carwash, improving your employee engagement efforts and building a stronger company culture is the best solution. These engagement strategies will help you address quiet quitting at your carwash and revitalize your workforce.

Set reasonable boundaries

The biggest complaint from quiet quitters is their employers make unreasonable demands going beyond the job description.1 For example, they ask employees to work extra hours or complete tasks they received no training for. As the business leader, you must set more reasonable boundaries for your workforce.

Most quiet quitters have good intentions and want a better work/life balance so they can have more family time, but some are simply lazy. You must be able to spot the difference between these two types of employees.

These dos and don’ts will help you set appropriate boundaries with your employees and weed out the bad apples:

  • Don’t tolerate poor work ethics.
  • Do maintain high standards for your carwash business, including timely repairs and adequate maintenance.
  • Don’t expect them to prioritize their jobs over their families.
  • Do let them know in advance when you need extra hands for a difficult task.
  • Don’t expect them to volunteer for overtime hours regularly.
  • Do measure success by their achievements, not by number of hours worked.

Carwashes thrive on attention to detail and quality work. Employees need full engagement if you want them to embody these qualities. Work/life balance is essential, but you still have a business to run. High standards are non-negotiable in this industry. However, you must be careful not to create a toxic “hustle culture” that drives employees away.

Make your carwash a community

Speaking of culture, one of the worst side effects of quiet quitting has been the negative impact on workplace morale and the company’s culture at large.2 Quiet quitters have little desire to foster a welcoming environment for new hires and build a tight-knit community. It falls to your carwash’s high-ranking veteran employees to get the culture back on track:

  • Provide constant feedback and motivation.
  • Receive constant feedback from employees through surveys and questionnaires.
  • Start a mentorship program that pairs experienced workers with new hires.
  • Encourage employees to share progress stories or personal achievements.
  • Create new business traditions, such as team meals and brainstorming sessions.
  • Emphasize your carwash’s value to the community and how each employee makes a difference.

You’ll notice none of these initiatives involve off-the-clock activities, such as virtual happy hours or trivia nights. These team-building activities might work for offices or remote work environments, but not at your carwash. Your employees will respond much better to activities that simultaneously improve their skills and instill a sense of camaraderie.

Provide a sense of purpose

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, quiet quitters comprise about 50% of the U.S. workforce.3 The disturbing prevalence of quiet quitting is largely because employees have no connection to their company’s mission. They don’t see the greater purpose of the daily tasks they complete.

The best way to counteract this problem is to stress the importance of each role. Adopt the simple “do your job” philosophy that sports teams use to give proper recognition to every member of the organization. Although the players and coaches get most of the praise, they can’t compete without help from the trainers, cooks, maintenance crew and other people behind the scenes.

Your carwash’s managers should have frequent one-on-one discussions with each staff member. Make everyone feel seen, heard and appreciated. Instilling a sense of purpose will motivate them to give their best effort instead of doing the quiet quitter’s bare minimum.

Lay out career paths

The potential for advancement will always be an effective incentive for boosting employee engagement. You must establish an internal promotion structure so employees can move from entry-level to management roles. You might have to re-align the hierarchy of each position and clearly define their new responsibilities.

An internal promotion structure requires you to set different checkpoints and learning stages. Entry-level workers can start with basic carwashing duties, then advance to a particular field of interest like tire technicians or auto electricians. They can become a team manager if they become proficient in that specific field.

Your carwash can also be the launching point for many careers in other areas of the automobile industry.4 Your employees might use the experience to start their own car detailing business, get into car sales or become an automotive designer. It’s your job to present these potential career paths as viable options for your employees.

Keep your office door open

Another big factor contributing to the quiet quitting trend is isolation and loneliness due to a lack of communication.5 When superiors and subordinates are disconnected, everything in the company falls apart. The workplace hierarchy becomes unclear. Nobody knows exactly what their roles and responsibilities are.

There is a straightforward way to fix this problem — always keep your office door open and give everyone your cell phone number. Being available for discussions with lower management and entry-level employees can improve morale and productivity. It means a lot to average employees when their bosses take time to check in on their well-being.

Employees should always feel comfortable reaching out to their superiors. It’s your responsibility to foster a supportive environment that encourages open communication and honest feedback between co-workers. A carwash can only function when everyone is on the same page and peers establish genuine connections.

End quiet quitting for good

The “quiet quitting” epidemic has affected many industries, so it also needs many solutions. These five engagement strategies will help you end quiet quitting for good and get your employees invested in your carwash’s success, culturally and financially. The overarching goal is to make each employee take pride in a job well done again.



Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about cars, car trends and auto news. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work.

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