Over the past few months, quiet quitting has been all over the media, so I think we must dig deeper — why is that?
Although the idea of quiet quitting has been part of the employee attitude and it saw a shocking level of enthusiasm during The Great Resignation, the topic exploded after a young engineer, Zaid Khan introduced the masses to the concept of quiet quitting in a TikTok video with shots in New York City in July 2022:
“I recently learned about this term called quiet quitting, where you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” Khan explains. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life.”
@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound – ruby
As millions resonated with Khan’s thoughts, the video went viral and millions responded with agreeing comments, shares, and their own versions of content.
It’s alarming that a huge part of the workforce feels the same way. Thus, I believe that to maintain an effective and successful team today, HR leaders must be able to quickly recognize the signs of quiet quitting.
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting, also known as employee disengagement, occurs when an employee does resign in their head but in reality, it doesn’t happen. So they stop performing as expected or at their signature level, not taking work too seriously anymore.
I’m sure it has happened to you at least once in your career, whether it was summer work in high school or a dream job, that you were suffering. And you didn’t know what you were even doing there. But as you couldn’t leave for a reason, you stayed but didn’t deliver more than what was required for your paycheck. That time, you were quiet quitting.
Why are so many people quiet quitting?
According to Gallup, 50% of the U.S. workforce is quiet quitting. I’ll give you a second to process this.
Experts say that this event is the extended version of The Great Resignation and the fruit of the new, post-pandemic zeitgeist.
As COVID-related life changes and the rise of remote work escalated a reallocation of the employee mindset, workers in large numbers started to reevaluate what they wanted to do for a living. Job security and saving up soon lost their significance because people realized that they were craving a much more meaningful career, so they rather left their jobs, many without a backup, than staying in a situation that was frustrating or uncomfortable for them.
Today, with an ocean of open roles currently available in the job market, workers have options. In every industry. So they have this idea of “there’s always a better opportunity” in their mind. And as soon as one work factor is ruined for them, they begin to lose trust in their employer.
Is your team quiet quitting?
Employees often quit quitting for several years before they finally make the decision to leave. In such cases, some employers say, ‘Okay, but finding skilled workers is extremely difficult and costs a fortune. At least the job’s done’.
Sure, to some extent, that’s understandable. But personally, I think that this mindset can have a negative impact on your business in the long run.
Look at it this way:
If your employees are quiet quitting, it means they are not as effective as they could be. They don’t strive to help you grow your business by increasing your productivity.
Plus, the fact that they have been disengaged for years doesn’t mean that they will stay at your company forever — they can leave any minute.
So, make sure to look for signs of quiet quitting, no matter how big or small your team is.
The most common signs of quiet quitting:
- Employees are socializing less often: it seems that the workplace has a negative vibe or team members just don’t bother to interact with one another.
- Workers are more like external observers than active team players: physically, they are present. But mentally, they are far far away.
- Low engagement: less collaboration occurs and they seem to be indifferent.
- Performance problems: they fail to meet milestones or execute their tasks high-quality.
4 ways to prevent quiet quitting
“Right now, this is just a job. If I advance any higher in this company, this would be my career. And, uh, if this were my career, I’d have to throw myself in front of a train.” — Jim Halpert, The Office
Who doesn’t love The Office? It’s funny and relatable. And in fact, the majority of the team is a perfect example of quiet quitters. However, while we’d all laugh at Jim’s thoughts on his job quoted above, you definitely don’t want your team to have an experience with your company as he had with Dunder Mifflin.
So the most important thing you should keep in mind when taking action to prevent quiet quitting is that it is the result of dissatisfaction. Thus, ask yourself:
How could I keep my workers satisfied?
Here are our TOP tips to make your employees happy:
- Boost engagement: find new ways to involve your employees in their work, make it more interesting for them, and encourage them to connect with your team and your organization more often. Provide feedback and appreciate employee accomplishments. Assign meaningful tasks to them.
Click here to download our infographics The Anatomy of an Engaged Employee.
- Make them feel heard: when an employee is disengaged, chances are they feel that they are not listened to. Keep an open door for them and let them know that you’re available to talk whenever they support from their supervisor.
- Prioritize work-life balance: quiet quitting is often linked to burnout and employees are getting more and more aware of that, so work-life balance has been a priority for them for a few years now. Make sure they feel that you care about their wellbeing.
- Invest in development: the lack of professional development negatively affects employee engagement because it suggests that there’s no bright career perspectives ahead of them. Promote continuous training opportunities so your team will stay with you longer.
The process of eliminating quiet quitting may seem to be difficult at first. But you can attract and retain best talent if you take action to prevent it and focus on employee engagement.