The new workplace trend known as quiet quitting has left office managers and employers up in arms over what to do to keep employees engaged and enchanted — just as companies were able to rebound from the tumultuous conditions brought on by the Great Resignation, which saw nearly 19 million employees quit their jobs.
But even as employees left their jobs in droves last year in hopes of changing their careers or landing a more purposeful job somewhere else, quiet quitting has become the workplace trend that just doesn’t want to quit.
Unlike the Great Resignation, which simply meant employees were leaving their jobs because they felt burned out, stressed and anxious — quiet quitting resembles an attitude of setting boundaries and not taking work too seriously.
It’s a workplace trend that has inspired millions of workers to “act their wage,” leaving them to only do what is required of them and not go above and beyond.
It’s more than just quitting
After years of reconfiguring the workplace environment due to the pandemic and the onset of remote work, employees still seem to be quitting their jobs despite economic and financial uncertainty looming.
The Talkspace and The Harris Poll Employee Stress Check 2022 Report found that employees ages 18 to 34 years are most likely to experience high levels of stress and anxiety in their jobs leading to factors such as feeling burned out. At the same time, a Gallup study found that those employees born after 1989 (55%) are less likely to be engaged in their jobs.
There’s evidence of employees quitting their jobs in the hopes of finding something more worthwhile and meaningful — around 40% according to McKinsey research. For others, quiet quitting in the office has become a major headache for managers, human resource staff and employers alike.
It’s not completely possible to stop quiet quitting in its tracks or control it from spreading across the office like wildfire. There is, however, room for proactive ways to overcome quiet quitting in the office.
Talk to employees
Any employee can become disengaged at work, and it’s even harder to assume someone is quietly quitting based on their performance. Various factors can influence performance from the workload to the workplace environment.
Executive personnel should take the time and effort to talk to employees to get a better view and understanding of their possible disengagement at work. Seek to monitor employee stress levels and their current workload. This will help to understand whether an employee is simply overworked, or actively quiet quitting.
Make an effort to invest in employee well-being — not only for the sake of improving office morale or company loyalty, but to better understand where possible workplace challenges are causing employees to do the bare minimum.
Understand employee needs
Often and more than usual, employees who exhort feelings of quiet quitting will do so to get back at their employer or manager simply because they feel overworked and underappreciated.
In this case, it’s the ideal time to start promoting employee engagement through active conversations. The idea is not to simply talk about any workplace-related pains, but actively look to resolve the issues with workable solutions.
Research shows that how employers and managers treat their subordinates will make a big difference in whether people will remain loyal to the company or start resembling traits of quiet quitting. Furthermore, employees who feel emotionally and psychologically disengaged from their employers are less likely to speak out about possible grievances.
The best and easiest solution, in this case, is to promote employee dialogue among those experiencing high levels of stress and burnout, sooner rather than later.
Advocate employee recognition
Often, employees start to become disinterested and disengaged in their work due to a lack of recognition. This helps to kindle quiet quitting even more.
Employees who feel their efforts are being recognized, either by their boss, manager or team members, will see value in doing more than what is expected of them. Yet, in the same breath, it’s not easy for those in power to monitor recognition-worth progress among a large team of workers.
It’s important to consider the type of contribution certain employees are making, and what they are bringing to the table during projects and team meetings. Employees that are disconnecting themselves from projects and other teamwork will have an affect on other workers, as well as the overall team performance.
As a rule, employers and managers, and in some cases HR, should understand the impact employees are making and how they are actively contributing to the overall success of the company.
Mentor employees in their careers
Quiet quitting is often about making a career change or taking on a new job without quite knowing how to do it successfully. In most instances, it’s common for employees to change their jobs every so often. But for those that are looking to commit to a career change, without the right guidance, they can often feel overwhelmed and anxious doing so.
Knowing that employees are willing to make a career shift, or have come to terms with finding a new job, it should be a time when employers or managers can help to offer career management advice. For many employees, leaping into something unknown is a thought riddled with anxiety. To prevent quiet quitters from slowing progress and performance in the office, employers need to help employees better manage their careers and prospects within the company.
Quiet quitting isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s not possible to stop it dead in its tracks before it comes into your office. There will come a time when employers and managers will need to step in to help assess employee well-being and performance based on their workload, engagement and company loyalty.
Head-hunting quiet quitters is not the right way to deal with the situation. Yet it is possible to effectively communicate with employees about their current working conditions and help promote a healthy work-life balance. Make sure to be a leader more than a boss, and advocate employee well-being. It’s better to help employees, rather than leave them to hurt your company’s bottom line.