The term “Quiet Quitting” started with TikTok, where people began professing their need to focus on themselves and not just live to serve their company.
I believe it started with a younger generation, but it spread to people of all ages and all jobs. Essentially it means doing only the bare minimum for your job while not actually quitting. The trend is to quit taking on extra work without some form of extra compensation.
The Quiet Quitting Trend
The trend began at the tail-end of the pandemic and strengthened with the subsequent return to office demands. Employees began recognizing the need for a healthier work-life balance, and they became more comfortable saying that aloud, insisting on it, and taking pride in it.
Quiet quitting is about employees digging in their heels and insisting that it is not healthy for them to go above and beyond for their employers. They maintain that they will only do what they’re getting paid for.
People are demonstrating quiet quitting by doing things like:
- Closing their computers at exactly 5:00 and being vocal about walking away to spend time with family or focus on self-care.
- If someone asks them to do something that is not in their contract, they simply do not do it.
- Coasting – doing the bare minimum on everything.
This is not shocking.
We know based on our own engagement research and other sources like the annual Gallup poll that most people are not engaged in their work, and engagement dropped significantly between 2020 and 2021, which the market is still contending with. When only 31%-33% of people are engaged at work, it’s not surprising to see that they are either quitting (taking themselves off the payroll) or quiet quitting (accepting your money for a meager return).
How Do We Turn Quiet Quitting Around?
1. Managers have to be engaged, or their employees won’t be. We need to start by focusing on the engagement of our leaders.
2. The leader at the very top needs to commit to creating a culture of engagement.
3. Employees need a shared mission, a clear reason for being and values to guide them. It is important that everyone feels purposeful in their work, enjoys what they do, and rallies around the larger goal.
4. The company needs to invest in its people so they feel as though they are growing and developing. A paycheck is not enough. They want self-improvement.
5. Invite open and honest communication where leaders share more information and the bigger picture, so employees have a strong feeling of “why” the work they are doing is so important. At the same time, employees' thoughts and opinions need to be valued, and they need to feel heard.
6. Across the board, leaders need to earn the trust of their employees. People need to know that their leaders and their company have their best interests at heart, and they are not just a cog in the wheel. As soon as they feel as though they are just a means to an end, they will check out emotionally and disengage with quiet quitting.
Quiet Quitting is a Threat, Let's Stop It Now
Job candidates and current employees may be losing the leverage they so recently acquired. The looming recession may turn the tables and prevent the candidate market we were expecting.
As this article states, “People will return to the job market because we have a perfect storm.” They will also accept in-office work even if they don’t want to and accept a salary that isn’t enough to make them feel comfortable. But don’t think that means employers have the upper hand here.
It is clearer than ever that while employees may physically bring their bodies to work because of this “perfect storm,” they may not bring any discretionary effort. You can see how Quiet Quitting could potentially explode in the coming year and do great damage to sales organizations.