Quiet Quitting: What’s an Employer to do?
Now trending on Google, “Quiet Quitting.” Quiet Quitting is the latest craze to burst into your workplace. You might not yet know it by name, but you will surely recognize it. Unlike the “Great Resignation” where employees openly quit, the Quiet Quitters keep collecting their paycheck, but they do the minimum required functions of their job to remain employed – nothing more. No more volunteering for extra assignments, working overtime, or extending oneself beyond the minimum necessary to make it through the day.
Some older observers and those well versed in history have marked the similarities between Quiet Quitting and workplace slowdowns and “work to rule” concepts that have historically been utilized by unionized workers during a labor dispute or by non-union employees seeking workplace improvements.
While the idea of Quiet Quitting may not be new, it has definitely seen an historic surge. The surge can be credited with the way information now travels at the speed of light online and a perfect storm of labor strife experienced in the past few years. Social Media has provided the fuel for spreading the idea. Platforms like Tik-Tok explain to Gen Z and Millennial workers the strategy. By latest count Google had over 220,000,000 results for ‘Quiet Quitting.’
Some experts associate the recent change in employee attitudes to burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the roils of an up-and-down economy, climate change, and a year-long European war. Others attribute the new mindset to employees feeling underappreciated coming out of the pandemic. They feel overwrought with pressures associated with mask mandates, mandatory vaccinations, lockdowns, caring for loved ones, social isolation, while juggling remote jobs and school age children. Still other experts attribute the change simply to realigned priorities surrounding workplace and work-life balance.
Trying to find the root cause to Quiet Quitting may take years but employers can’t wait. The time to act is now.
What Should Employers Do?
For employers who are now faced with addressing the work efforts (or lack thereof) of an employee who is in the throes of Quiet Quitting, we suggest the following ideas. These concepts will also help employers manage threw workers with general job performance issues, especially in the era of today’s work from home/hybrid work environments:
- Ensure you foster a team-oriented environment where everyone needs to work collectively to achieve goals. Allowing employees to operate in their private “silo” invites Quiet Quitting.
- Create objective criteria (if possible) to measure output and thus allow you to recognize extra effort.
- Employers should review their job descriptions and stated goals and objectives to ensure employees are putting the appropriate priority on their most critical job functions and deliverables.
- Employers should review their employee bonus and incentive programs, to ensure they are competitive. Awards and recognitions should be evaluated to ensure they recognize employees who may feel underappreciated when their efforts are done remotely and may not be usually seen.
- Employers should go out of their way to recognize new and junior workers to help with engagement and team building, especially with a remote workforce.
- Employers should encourage managers to have spontaneous and personal communications with staff (especially when they are remote), to purposefully show appreciation, and express gratitude.
- Employers should set clear goals, lines of communication, mentoring, and supervision. They should offer encouragement to help manage and motivate employees to meet and exceed expectations and to help try to suppress an employee’s desire to Quietly Quit. Having an open dialogue with your employees and showing flexibility, and an openness to change and differing ideas, will go a long way in this process.
- Companies should be sure employees are aware of all the benefits and opportunities available to them, including health (mental and physical) and wellness programs, training, continuing education, and other opportunities for growth.
Some of the above may seem obvious but the challenge is how to put these ideas into effective practice in today’s environment. This is a new workforce with new attitudes and priorities. The old ideas remain good but getting new workers to hear them can be a challenge.
Brody and Associates works closely with management to develop and manage employee and executive compensation, retention and benefit programs. If we can be of any assistance in your organization, we stand ready to assist. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call, (203) 454-0560.