Explaining Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is a concept that emerged into the mainstream in 2022 and has been debated since then as to what it implies.
Quiet quitters are not employees who resign and find jobs elsewhere. Quiet quitting happens when an employee decides to perform their job at the very minimum. This means that they will no longer stay outside of work hours, attend non-essential meetings, or volunteer for additional projects.
Instead, quiet quitters will only complete the duties that their roles and responsibilities require. The concept is based on the labor movement concept of “work to rule,” in which workers don’t do more than what they are specifically asked to do.
In some cases, quiet quitting reflects an employee’s dissatisfaction with a company’s culture and pay compression. But it also has roots in millennials and Generation Z’s need to redesign their relationship with work.
The younger generations prioritize work-life balance over any other criteria, especially after the pandemic. Risking their health and well-being for the sake of an employer doesn’t seem worth it.
This means that they are ditching the corporate rat race and setting healthy boundaries to prevent their work time from taking over their personal life.
What Quiet Quitting Means For Employee Engagement
The quiet quitting trend is catching on, and it usually has positive advantages for employees, like giving them a stronger work-life balance. However, quiet quitting causes a lack of engagement in the workplace that affects everyone’s experience. When employees are more engaged, they experience improved mental fitness and increased job satisfaction, and this supports healthier work environments. Disconnected employees practicing quiet quitting don’t enjoy these benefits.
If a work team isn’t engaged, and members are quietly or outright quitting their jobs, the source of the problem might not be something they can resolve on their own. Strong managers can and should intervene and create a better environment for employees that encourages them to stay.
Quiet Quitting Versus Leaving A Job: Why Employees Disengage
There are many reasons why people choose to quietly quit instead of leaving their jobs entirely. The most obvious one is to continue with a familiar, stable job and receive their pay and retain their employee benefits while passively looking for an alternate.
However, there are many other reasons behind quiet quitting that managers and company leadership should investigate. the top reasons why people choose to quiet quit are discussed below:
Job burnout is a type of work that includes feeling worn out physically or emotionally. Job burnout can also involve feeling useless, powerless, and empty. Burnout is not a medical diagnosis.
Some experts think that other mental conditions, like depression, are behind burnout. Burnout can raise the risk of depression. However, depression and burnout are different and need different treatments.
What is worrying is that the majority of professionals do not believe their employers are doing enough to help. A lack of recognition, awareness, and support combine to further worsen symptoms of burnout. This diminishes an employee’s experience at work.
2. Poor Work-Life Balance
Many surveys from research firms show that the COVID pandemic led a majority of people to reevaluate their goals and focus on a better work-life balance. In response, employees usually set firmer boundaries around work time and disconnect from their jobs instead of going the extra mile.
3. Lack of Recognition
Most employees will leave their jobs if they don’t feel appreciated at work. This is one of the main reasons why people leave their jobs. For young professionals, this number is staggeringly higher.
Lack of appreciation is often a main factor behind quiet quitting. Without recognition, employees feel like their efforts are being wasted, and they do not see the point of investing further energy in a job where they are not appreciated.
4. Job Dissatisfaction
The majority of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. While everyone cannot have a position they love, without job satisfaction fueling their performance, employees usually invest less time and energy.
5. Poor Benefits and Compensation
compensation and benefits are important for employees since it is why they are primarily working. When compensation does not match the value of an employee’s output, there’s little motivation to put in extra work that companies require for employees to become successful.
6. No Career Advancement or Planning
Workplace promotions distinguish hard workers for doing their jobs well. An employee that is not promoted or that doesn’t have a clear career path may feel like they are not recognized for their efforts. This damages job satisfaction and decreases engagement. Often, career stagnation is also a reason to quit a job entirely.
How To Spot A Quiet Quitter
As a manager, you are answerable for forming your team’s work culture and encouraging commitment to the job. Due to this, you are the first link in the chain that can tackle the source of quiet quitting. To do so, you need to monitor and manage the following signs:
1. Reduced Productivity
When a customarily reliable employee is cutting back on special projects, it can be a sign that they are setting up to realign their workload and focus on themselves. Their job performance can slip because of quiet quitting.
2. Lack of Contribution
When working on a team, team members must pick up each other’s slack sometimes to be successful as a team. If a team member is meeting their work requirements and is not stepping up to help their coworkers (like they usually do), it can be a sign that there is an issue that needs your attention.
3. Diminished Enthusiasm
It is one of the hardest things to do. To generate excitement for a job that doesn’t appreciate, respect, or value you. If your employees feel like this, it can manifest through behaviors like staying quiet in meetings, missing deadlines, or failing to contribute toward team goals.
4. Decreased Participation
One significant sign of a quiet quitter is their remoteness from the rest of the team. Maybe you used to chat with them for a few minutes before leaving the office, but now they leave quickly. They pull back on their work responsibilities and withdraw from team activities, causing their working relationships to suffer.
5. Disengaging from Meetings
An employee who does not pay attention, give ideas, or listen actively might be a quiet quitter. They are out of the workplace and probably do not aim to participate beyond the bare minimum.
What To Do When You Identify A Quiet Quitter:
Quiet quitting is a form of negative feedback. Your employees are telling you that there is a problem with the team. It is up to you to act on this information and handle the issues that are contributing to the lack of engagement.
Communication with your coworkers and team members is one of the best ways to combat quiet quitting. Successful managers make it a habit to have one meaningful conversation with their team members once a week.
This conversation does not need to be lengthy, 10–20 minutes is enough to make a difference. Check in with the members, ask for feedback, and make sure they know you hear them and are willing to make changes if necessary. However, make sure to only commit to what you can actually deliver!
You can address issues with quiet quitting by:
Offering Fair Compensating:
Employees work harder and get more job satisfaction when they receive a fair wage. If you find your team doesn’t have the compensation they deserve, it’s time for a larger conversation with higher-ups.
Respecting Employees’ Time Off:
No more Sunday emails or after-hours phone calls. Keep work to office hours unless absolutely necessary. And if it’s an emergency and people have to work late, find a way to compensate people for their time.
Show your employees you respect and value their contribution by telling them they’re doing a great job. Saying thank you is free and doesn’t take much time on your part. And if it’s in the budget, try buying lunch or another incentive to show how much you care.
What To Do If You Find Yourself Quiet Quitting?
If some or many of the above signs of quiet quitting are true for you, do not worry you are not alone. Managers are one of the groups that experienced a drop in worker engagement over the last two years.
Managers can also start quitting due to the stress of managing teams, work, and its effects on your team. But any manager can feel the strain of a poor work-life balance and find themselves investing less time and energy into their jobs.
If you are burnt out it is not okay. You do not have to work long hours or start extra projects if nobody’s expecting you to. Protect your energy and take care of yourself if you’re taking on too much.
But if you want to increase your engagement and start putting in some stellar effort, these steps can help you reengage with your workplace:
1. Set Boundaries
You might be working too much, which could lead to burnout. Protect your mental health by establishing healthy boundaries around your time away from work. Try not to answer emails, texts, or calls during off-timings. This time is for you to relax.
Everyone needs downtime to recharge their batteries and be more effective at work, including managers. If you have too much work to do while at work, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Sharing the load is an important part of teamwork.
2. Be Proactive
If you need help with your workload or feel like your managers are not recognizing your effort, speak with your human resources representative instead of letting things slide. Nobody likes deteriorating performers, and your higher-ups probably want to help you improve and engage too.
There may be options available, like flexible hours, working from home, and professional development opportunities, that can help get your workflow back to its original levels.
3. Cultivate Relationships
Build active connections with your direct reports, leaders, and colleagues. The thing most employees miss about their old job the most is their former coworkers. Having work friendships is fun, and it also helps drive engagement and success.
When it comes to handling quiet quitting as a manager, listening to your employees is essential. If they don’t feel like you value their time or their work, they are bound to check out and invest minimal effort.
It is always helpful to initiate conversations about the company culture, environment, and expectations. You might have been overworking your team, or yourself, without even realizing it.
Sadia Zaheer holds a Masters in Business Administration from IBA, Karachi. After working in several financial institutions in Client Management, Corporate Lending, Islamic Banking and Product Management she jumped careers to pursue a career in writing.
She is a Finance, Business and HR Development writer with four years of experience. She reads a lot and takes care of her multiple cats to remain calm.