Quiet Quitting: How HR teams can re-engage employees for higher productivity
Quiet quitting is a concern for many companies today. Experts feel that quiet quitting trends do not reflect well on management styles at many workplaces. The urgency is best expressed through alarming statistics indicating how around 67% of U.S. and 85% globally employees could quit quietly .
A report by Gallup further substantiates this by stating how merely 15% of employees worldwide are engaged actively at their workplaces .
In this article, we will discuss the phenomena of Quiet Quitting, its causes, and how organizations can overcome it.
What is quiet quitting?
It is a unique phenomenon where an employee may be staying on at a job but is completely disconnected from it and the company mentally.
To be clear, it is a misnomer – the employee does not exactly quit the job; however, just does the bare minimum to get through. It’s also called silent quitting.
There are many quiet quitting examples that clearly demonstrate how employees are disengaged, with members of teams stretching beyond their limits to take care of the minimum requirements of their jobs for retaining their jobs.
They may stop volunteering for things, reject new assignments, only go for easy tasks, or feign a busy schedule to avoid helping their managers or colleagues. They often go through the motions just to keep their jobs. They do not have the motivation to surpass the company’s expectations.
This can be seen as a form of rebellion against the lack of work-life balance.
What causes quiet quitting?
It is quite clear that silent quitting doesn’t happen in a day. There are numerous reasons driving quiet quitting trends in modern workplaces today. Here’s taking a closer look at some of the major ones:
Employees bogged down with huge workload experience burnout, especially when they have to do the jobs of 2-3 people alone. Overwork may sometimes lead to silent quitting, especially if workers have no scope for negotiation or discussions.
Many employees feel that they receive lower pay in comparison to their workloads. The actual issue is that they feel unrewarded for their efforts. Sometimes, more than money, they feel undervalued and non-recognized by the management. Compensation may mean flexible timelines, bonuses, perks, days off, and social recognition.
Not respecting boundaries
Quiet quitting is sometimes a response to bad work-life quotients and employers blurring boundaries between life and work, especially in this work-from-home era. Continual office calls, emails, meetings, and duties after working hours may lead to this happening.
Zero managerial support
Many employees feel that their managers do not support or guide them in times of need. When they feel that their leaders cannot or are not willing to help them, then they naturally disengage mentally from the company.
Many employees cannot understand the expectations of their companies or managers. They feel that more responsibilities and vague statements only confuse them about the same.
Lack of communication on deep-rooted issues, not expressing one’s mind, or other communication gaps may lead to this phenomenon.
Signs of quiet quitting at the workplace
Now that you understand what Quiet Quitting is and why it occurs, here’s how to identify how severe it is in your office. Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Lower productivity/work output of employees
- Sudden argumentative or silent treatment towards colleagues and managers
- Employees stop taking the lead, volunteering for tasks, opening, and helping out others
- Employees bypass any potential conflicts, or job responsibilities, pretending to be busy
- No interest in collaborating with the team or group events
- Taking leaves and unannounced absences
The economics of quiet quitting
In the modern work culture, there is the model of the principal (boss) and the agent (employee). The former may not always know what the latter is undertaking in terms of productivity, timeliness, and other expectations. Hence, the principal should work out how to incentivize and track the agent.
Companies are now making an effort in order to track the productivity of workers, along with seeking to improve compensation at various levels.
Of course, in a scenario where employee productivity falls, teamwork comes down, and silent quitters increase on the rolls, companies are faced with alarming scenarios in terms of revenue drops, customer retention issues, and a magnitude of other problems that hit them economically.
What can businesses do about quiet quitting?
Once you recognize that there is quiet quitting happening in your organization, it is important to carefully assess the situation and take preventive measures to ensure it does not increase further.
Depending on your company culture and policies, you may also have to be open to making alterations and allowing flexibility to boost employee morale.
Re-examine tasks & KPIs
Companies would do well to relook at job duties, assignments, and KPIs, including core tasks. This will help managers periodically align more meaningful and only necessary work to their employees.
Increase workload only temporarily
Companies should make sure that workload increases are only for the short term in the case of their employees. Constant work beyond one’s capacity is not at all feasible in the long haul.
Compensate and celebrate work adequately
Organizations should be rewarding employees with recognition and rewards for work that is done well. They should look at proper compensation not just financially but also mentally.
Make volunteering at work optional
Volunteering for something should be strictly optional at the office. Additional opportunities may not be for everyone. Let someone who wants it come forward without piling it onto someone else.
Respect professional boundaries
Respecting professional boundaries, keeping employees work-free on holidays and vacations, helping them with the perks of life beyond the workplace, and other steps are necessary in this regard.
Discuss role growth periodically
Always discuss the job role and its growth upfront with each employee, explaining any changes that may arise.
Now that you have a comprehensive view of quiet quitting trends and how you can mitigate the same at your workplace, remember that nothing works better than communication.
Always try and listen as much as possible to your employees. Empathize with their needs and concerns.
Give them as much support as possible. Make them feel valued and rewarded for their hard work. These are a few basics that you should always follow.
Avoid piling on too much work for long durations, keep recalibrating employee tasks and job responsibilities, and make sure that additional tasks and initiatives are voluntary.
At the same time, be direct about growth opportunities and what you can and cannot do for your employees. This will always infuse a culture of transparency from the very beginning of the journey together and keep employees motivated to deliver.
Is quiet quitting normal?
Experts feel that quiet quitting is normal for many people, where they feel undervalued, non-respected, and underpaid. There could be many other reasons behind the same as well.
Is quiet quitting passive-aggressive?
Quiet quitting may turn passive-aggressive, with employees turning hostile when given extra responsibilities. They may demonstrate aggressive behavior for bypassing responsibilities or venting their grievances.
Many can take a passive-aggressive approach by being busy, distant, unapproachable, and generally not available or non-cooperative.
What is the opposite of ‘quiet quitting’?
Ambition is usually regarded as the opposite of quiet quitting, where people volunteer for added responsibilities and work that goes beyond their current duties.
Who started quiet quitting?
There is no official evidence on who began this trend or used the term first. However, the term gained popularity throughout 2022 on TikTok.
What is ‘soft quitting’?
Soft Quitting is simply an alternative term for Quiet Quitting. Sometimes, Silent Quitting is also used to define the same phenomenon.