“Quiet quitting” defines how people reject the idea that work should be their life and that they should go beyond what is written in their job descriptions. Basically, they don’t physically leave their jobs, only mentally. And they can turn down projects if they don’t match their interests, refuse to respond to work messages outside of business hours, or simply feel less mentally and emotionally involved in their roles. Perhaps from this description, you already recognized a few colleagues. “Quiet quitting” is becoming a reality and a trend that, if not managed at the right time, leads to resignations and the loss of talented people who, in a more motivating context, would give more than is asked of them. Here are your solutions!
A TikTok video about quiet quitting a job, posted in July by @zkchillin (now @zaidleppelin) has gone viral. Many TikTok users shared their own experiences in response, with #quietquitting gaining 8.2 million views on the platform.
They close the laptop at 5 p.m. They only do the tasks assigned to them. They spend more time with my family. These are just some of the examples used to define the latest trend in the workplace, “quiet quitting”. Some experts say it’s a misnomer and should be defined as “time to take care of yourself.”
Ed Zitron, who runs a media consulting business for tech startups, believes that the term comes from companies that exploit the work of their employees and have a culture of overwork without additional compensation.
“If you want people to go ‘above and beyond’, reward them for it. Pay them for the extra work,” Zitron said. “Show them the direct path from ‘I go above and beyond’ to ‘I’m rewarded for this.’
WHY DO EMPLOYEES QUIT QUIETLY THEIR JOBS?
The pandemic has determined people to reevaluate their jobs, given the possibility of working remotely. Some have expressed a desire for a less rigid line between their work and their personality. During the pandemic, they made changes in their professional lives, from the way they dress to the way they work in, to more closely align with their personal values.
Parents had the opportunity to spend more time with their children during the pandemic and realized how guilty they used to feel when they had to leave work early or take a day off for childcare. “I don’t want to waste all my time just worrying about how I’m perceived as an employee because my kids don’t care what kind of employee I am,” said Zawatski, a mother of two who works in project management. “My kids care what kind of mother I am.”
Quiet quitting is consistent with a larger reassessment of how work fits into our lives, not the other way around. As Gen Z enters the workforce, the idea of quietly quitting the job has gained popularity as they already face burnout and endless demands.
Many people were also frustrated when managers insisted on certain rules, such as returning to the office, which created more burnout and frustration, Edmonds said.
Only 24% of Americans believe their managers have their best interests at heart, according to a March 2022 Gallup poll.
“The term ‘quieting’ is so offensive because it suggests that people who are doing their jobs have somehow left their jobs, casting them as the villains in an equation where they do exactly what they’re told,” Zitron said. Employers benefit financially from employees doing overtime without compensation, and the employees have the right to object to this, he added.
HOW EMPLOYEES SEE THE WORK AND WHAT MOTIVATIONS THEY HAVE
If Gen-X relied heavily on growth in the hierarchy, however, generations Y (millennials) and Z tend to prioritize a better balance between work and private life, according to the Deloitte 2022 Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey. The survey also found that among the top concerns of Gen Z and Millennials is pay, which is why employees have left their roles in the past two years.
“Salary gives your motivation in your workplace. If you are not motivated, you will engage less,” says Jim Harter Chief Scientist at Gallup.
He notes that passion is an important factor in people’s decision to look for a new job, but also in determining how much they are willing to work.
WHY COMPANIES ARE CONCERNED WHEN THEY HEAR OF ‘QUIET QUITTING’
As we expect inflation to rise, bank interest rates to rise, and the economy to slow down, managers emphasize employee productivity, which is also a cause for concern. For example, the productivity of US nonfarm workers in the second quarter of 2022 fell 2.5% from the same period last year, the steepest annual decline since 1948, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies are now looking at productivity as a measure of excellence. Major tech companies like Google are signaling they are slowing hiring and may lay off staff amid concerns about overall productivity.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says remote work has led to severe burnout, Zoom fatigue, and difficulty taking home breaks.
Taylor, who is the CEO of a team of more than 500 associates, advocates for employees to take time off when they feel overworked, but doesn’t see how “quietly quitting” could help their careers in the long run. “Anyone who tells the leader they’re ‘quiet quitting their job’ is likely to be out of a job for a very long time.” Gergo Vari, CEO of job platform Lensa, also believes that the decision will not serve employees in the long term. “Every time you stay quiet in an organization, you may be depriving yourself of an opportunity to change that organization.”
Employees who express their dissatisfaction at work affect their job stability and productivity. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report shows that people’s job dissatisfaction is at a staggering level and unhappy and disillusioned employees cost the global economy $7.8 trillion due to low productivity.
The decision to abandon the hustle culture and switch to “quiet quitting” can cause tension between employees and managers, and can also cause dissension between colleagues over the quality of work.
WHAT SOLUTIONS DO YOU HAVE AT HAND FOR ”QUIET QUITTING”?
Gergo Varix, CEO of Lensa, has more than 200 employees and has tried hard not to have people quietly quitting their jobs.
In addition to offering telecommuting flexibility and office benefits, he says he appreciates employees’ moments of rejection. It makes them feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns before they get to the stage of quietly quitting their job.
“Employers must make an effort to allow people to have a say in their future,” says Gergo Varix, CEO of Lensa.
The leaders can find ways to engage those who are quietly quitting their jobs. To guide their people to find meaning and purpose in their roles. Here are some suggestions:
- Talk to people on your team about the best way to achieve a better work-life balance. Look for solutions that suit them and their current work styles, such as moving to a four-day work week, flexibility to come to the office when they want, becoming digital nomads, moving to another location for the same salary, migrating to another department in the company or make a professional conversion to achieve more commitment and meaning.
- Find a career path for them within the organization.
- Recalibrate the workload so it’s not overwhelming.
- In the context of inflation and higher costs, consider a system to increase revenue, perhaps by giving more engagement bonuses.
- Improve leave policies, respecting the right of employees to take at least 10 days of leave and encouraging them to take more leave.
- Ask colleagues what the management team should do to improve their work experience.
- Offer courses to improve skills or develop skills.
- Provides psychological safety and coaching. This management style makes people feel encouraged to take risks because they will know that if they didn’t act or it didn’t have the results they hoped for, they won’t be reprimanded.
- Focusing on task completion rather than hours worked means an employee can organize their work hours and workplace in a way that satisfies them and makes them efficient.
Establish routine one-to-one interactions with people. Those who work from home may feel isolated. Ask them how they are doing and if they need help. Actively listen to their concerns and seek early solutions.
- Set up the “stay” interview, similar to an exit interview where you will find out why a colleague wants to quit. The difference is that this talk is proactive and not reactive. It’s a short, informal, and casual conversation. You can start the conversation by sharing the great things the employee has accomplished at the company. Tell him you’re proud of him. Let him know about management’s plans for his advancement within the company.
The pandemic has given people space to rethink their lives. The labor market is favorable for them to make changes that give them more freedom. Your role is to identify the reasons for leaving the job quietly and to create within the company that environment where people feel they have meaning, motivation, and freedom.