The Latest Workplace Trend – Quiet Quitting (All You Need to Know)
Most of us have read Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and other business theories in business studies, stressing the importance and ways of motivating employees. There’s no doubt that employees are the foundation of your business and can make or break your business (to a certain extent). While much has been written about the Great Resignation, a new phrase, “quiet quitting,” has been coined to describe a resignation method that is becoming increasingly popular today.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Understanding how the phrase quiet quitting may confuse you to believe it’s about an employee going missing and leaving the job without informing. However, quiet quitting actually refers to choosing to forego tasks outside of one’s assigned responsibilities and becoming less psychologically invested in one’s job, which is motivated by many of the same fundamental issues as actual resignations.
Quiet quitters still carry out their primary duties, but they’re less eager to participate in what is known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying up late, arriving early, or going to meetings that are not required. They tend to call it an attempt to achieve a better work-life balance.
Why Did Employees Start Quiet Quitting?
Today, many professionals in the workforce are drawn towards freelance and agency work for maximum autonomy. Employees want their organizations to listen to them, care about them, and provide them with support on an individual. This can be seen in different aspects of the workplace culture, such as flexible work schedules, shared company values, or open communication from superiors.
Lack of Flexibility
Younger workers strongly prefer the flexibility of hybrid and remote work schedules when it comes to getting their work done. According to a report from Deloitte’s Global 2022, Gen Z and Millennial survey, 75% of employees in the Gen Z and 76% of those in the millennial generation choose a hybrid or remote working patterns, where they either split their time between remote and on-site work or work entirely from home. However, not many get to do this. Many quiet quitters blame their organizations for their burnout and disengage from their failure to support flexible work environments.
Besides the ability to choose where they work, Gen Z and millennial employees want the privilege to choose how and when they work. Many employees expect their employers to provide flexible working hours or three- to four-day work weeks to achieve a better work-life balance.
Lack of Support in Financial and Mental Well-Being
Employees are collectively burned out, and the underlying source of their stress can be linked to intense and unmanageable workloads that affect their mental health inside and outside work. Younger generations in the workplace are also experiencing significant financial insecurity and student loan debt. It is estimated that half of Gen Z and millennial employees live paycheck to paycheck, and many are concerned about their ability to meet monthly expenses. The exhaustion and stress of not having enough income, combined with unmanageable workloads, is enough to cause these employees to consider quiet quitting.
Lack of shared values and goals
Culture, inclusion, and diversity are key factors for attracting, keeping, and engaging employees in the modern workplace. Millennials, who also favor moral, inclusive, and socially conscious businesses, share the same sentiments. Currently, 75% of millennials claim that their employers prioritize their own profits over those of the general public, which makes many feel alienated from their workplaces. Employees are less motivated to excel and show loyalty to their organizations when their values conflict with those of their organizations.
How Can Team Leaders Discourage Quiet Quitting?
The idea of a quiet quitting might cause some employers to worry that disgruntled employees will only perform the bare minimum. A healthy work-life balance should be reinforced for all employees. The discussion about healthy boundaries at work is an opportunity to rethink how we approach daily operations and incentives.
– Listen to Your Employees
Quite quitting does not begin quietly. Employees frequently express concerns that managers acknowledge but fail to address or completely ignore. Team members who believe their managers are indifferent or uninterested in their problems may take action through inaction. Worse, these employees have lost faith in their managers.
Listening to employees and validating their feelings and experiences reflect empathy and help keep team members from leaving. Empathy is a strong weapon in the fight against quiet quitting. Employees are less likely to take ownership and fade into the background of your workplace if they believe you understand them and have their best interests at heart.
– Keep a High Workload On Short Term Bases
There is a distinction between working extra hours during a busy period or while you’re waiting for a new employee to start and ongoing overwork. Working continuously at or above the employee’s maximum capacity is not tenable over the long term. Employees require time off to recharge, mentally disengage, and spend quality time with their families.
Most employees have nothing against working overtime occasionally, but issues arise when this willingness is abused, and a favor becomes the standard. You are changing the operating agreement when you ask employees to step up and take on additional responsibilities. The increase should be temporary and preferably optional. If the employee must perform these new duties indefinitely, the new workload should be an official promotion or bring additional benefits.
– Always Compensate Your Employees
Pay discrepancies are one of the main causes of quiet quitting. Employees believe the potential rewards are not worth the extra effort. Managers may tease a raise that never materializes, or worse, refuse to acknowledge extra work or discuss compensation, instead telling employees to be team players.
In such situations, employees tend to believe that they are simply not respected enough and that it’s not about the money. Continuing to add responsibilities without considering the employees’ current workload, pressure or protests sends the message that employers value output over employee well-being. It may violate the work agreement and the team member’s commitment to do the job when additional responsibilities are added without their consent. Employees frequently feel cheated and may believe the business is attempting to get them to do as much unpaid work as possible. Maintaining employer trust requires an equal exchange of labor and compensation.
– Be Clear About Growth Opportunities
Quiet quitters frequently complain that they do far more than they were hired to do. Most jobs, particularly in startups, evolve beyond the job descriptions due to the dynamic nature of the business world. A job role’s responsibilities can sometimes grow over time. However, employees might be taken aback if these changes occur abruptly after hire or are significant. Be honest about role growth during the interview to avoid candidates thinking you lied about the position’s requirements.
– Monitor Behavioral Changes
Quiet quitters are not chronic underachievers but rather disillusioned high achievers. Take note if your superstars withdraw. A sudden drop in productivity or enthusiasm can be a warning sign that trouble is coming. When outspoken employees become quiet in meetings, and key contributors vanish, investigate the root cause. This behavior may not indicate quiet quitting, as the employee may simply need a break to recharge or may be dealing with personal issues. Regardless, it is critical to be aware of your employees’ emotional states and to keep an eye out for team members acting out of character.
– Strategize Your Employee Recognition Initiatives
Quiet quitters often feel unappreciated. When work goes unnoticed and unapplauded, employees believe they can stop without leadership catching on or caring, and they are frequently correct. In other words, employees question, ‘why bother when no one cares?’
Employee recognition programs are an excellent way to combat this mindset. By recognizing and rewarding employees for exceptional work, you demonstrate to your employees that what they do is important to you and the organization. Furthermore, visible and acknowledged employees are less likely to fade into the background.
It is the responsibility of leaders to cultivate these conditions and correct workplace dysfunctions so that employees can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Quiet quitting can be difficult to detect because some warning signs, such as absenteeism, changes in work performance, and low morale, may be unintentional or indicators of other conflicts. Regardless of the cause, it is usually a good idea to address changes in mood or performance concerning employee behaviors.
Some employees advocate for quiet quitting as a positive step toward a healthy professional life. However, it’s necessary to understand the key differentiators between work-life balance and quiet quitting. The latter does not produce the best result for anyone. Quiet quitting involves a rift between employer and employee, which leaves the employee dissatisfied and demotivated.