Quiet quitting is a conscious decision made by exhausted employees. Unlike what the terms look and sound like, ‘Quiet Quitting’ has nothing to do with quitting a job or being quiet. Even though the now-famous phenomenon started on social media, it’s not a trend but a movement. The social media platform just played a role in giving the term popularity.
Still, the idea and behaviour of quiet quitting are as old as the practice of overworking the employees. Quiet quitting is when employees say “no” to things they think are not part of their job responsibilities.
Life has changed drastically during the pandemic. The employees had to work extra and way beyond their job description during the lockdown. During the lockdown most young employees experienced burnout, as a result, they desire to restore the work-life balance.
Many see quiet quitting as the same as a great resignation. Those who realise they want to pursue something other than their current job choose resignation. There are many more people who no longer find joy or passion in their job, nor do they have something different to go to. That led them to the option of quiet quitting which allows them to keep their current jobs but not let it consume all their time and energy.
Companies and managers who work with employees need to understand that quiet quitting does not mean bad employees. Because they are still doing what their job profile asks for. They are just refusing to continue to put effort into the exhausting expectations that their leaders keep from them.
The prior generations readily accepted the hustle culture, but Millennials and Gen Z are determined not to do the same anymore. They prioritise their personal time and mental and physical well-being instead of participating in the hustle culture.
‘Quiet quitting’, let’s discuss this old behaviour with a new name in more detail here. Starting with the reasons that slowly and steadily made the phenomenon a preferred choice for young employees.
Reasons Leading to the Wave of ‘Quiet Quitting’?
Managers must understand that good employee engagement is likely to keep employees more productive and creative at work. They are more likely to take the initiative and go the extra mile for the work. Quiet quitting results from,
- taking extra hours by employees and their work for granted
- eventually forgetting that this work they are putting in is beyond their job profile.
When there is a consistency in making employees do things that are not their key responsibility, it eventually becomes a burden. It is okay for a manager to expect their team member to do some extra hours when the situation demand, but this situation cannot be a part of a day-to-day schedule.
The extra work eventually leads to burnout, irrespective of how much effort you put into keeping employees engaged in their work. The mental and physical fatigue that an overworked employee feels eventually leads to disengagement from work. The burned-out employee is more likely to choose quiet quitting to protect their own well-being.
Disengagement from Work
We cannot overlook the lack of employee engagement, as it is one of the primary reasons for the decision to quiet quitting. Doing the bare minimum is a tendency of demotivated employees. The employees who are more engaged in their work are often motivated to do that extra work for the company without feeling stressed about it.
There are many factors that cause the disengagement of employees from their work. Many reasons lead to making employees unsatisfied with the nature of work. Some of such factors can be the following.
Work culture can be one of the many reasons for disengagement at work as well as quiet quitting. When the work culture is not supportive and does not bother about employee well-being is likely to lead to a lack of engagement. Many times, there is no clarity on the responsibilities, authority or hierarchy. That often leads to confusion, lack of boundaries and clashes among the team members.
The constant state of confusion related to the responsibility makes employees feel overworked and in stress consistently. People like to work for companies with healthy and supportive work cultures. Employees choose to quiet quitting in the toxic work culture because they find there is no end to the confusion and no amount of effort will be sufficient to give some mental peace. So they stick to their official job description and keep the job.
Lack of Appreciation
Everyone likes to be appreciated and rewarded for their work. When the employees do not get the recognition, they deserve for their work, they don’t feel valued. When they see that the manager doesn’t say words of appreciation despite going above and beyond their job profile that makes employees not being valued enough.
Lack of Growth
Lack of opportunity to advance in their career is another reason for dissatisfaction with the work. People work either to learn or to grow in their careers. When the company does not offer any type of growth to the employees, they do not see the point in consistently putting in extra work. In such cases, employees choose to do only what they are expected to do and nothing more.
There is no doubt that the work culture went through a massive transformation due to the pandemic. The world learnt new ways to do the old work with greater efficiency. Many misconceptions were destroyed. At the same time, when people were struggling to give the same efficiency as they get while working from the office, they discovered they were neglecting their personal life. There’s a shift in the perspective the employees look at the work. Work is now part of life and is supposed to leave a respectable time and space for personal life.
The new perspective made people ask for more meaningful benefits that can directly contribute to their well-being. The freedom that employees experienced during the lockdown gave people more control over their work and time. The immediate effects were the demand for remote or hybrid work structures where they can continue to work with the same efficiency and also get to spend more time with their family as the commute is eliminated.
Some employees had to work extra hours during the lockdown to fill up the gap created by the shortage of workforce, while others kept working hard to ensure that they won’t lose their job or to simply assure their bosses that they were still working hard from their homes too. That made them dissatisfied with the hustle culture.
What are the Solutions?
Employee engagement plays a vital role in the productivity of the organization. Managers need to ensure that their employees do not choose quite quitting, and here are a few steps to help you ensure that.
The right way to stop your employees from quiet quitting is to stop employees from doing that before they decide to do that. Keep communication lines in your company open and encourage your employees to express their opinion. In this way, if your employees feel burdened with extra work or constant stress, you can take corrective actions before it’s too late.
It’s important to have clear boundaries in your company. Define work responsibilities for all the job profiles in the company, as well as a hierarchy of command. When people have a clear idea about what is expected, they might feel comfortable doing something extra voluntarily. With a clear job description, the employees understand boundaries and responsibilities better, and there will not be a scope for misunderstandings.
Work-life balance is essential for employees now, more than ever. The mental health of your employees should be your priority too. Give your employees enough flexibility so they can take care of their health and be present for their loved ones when it’s crucial for them.
Help your employees set clear boundaries so they can maintain work-life balance. Ensure that your team members do not feel like they are sacrificing their personal life to meet the expectations at work.
Ensure that you appreciate your employees frequently. The simple but timely words of appreciation are more impactful than some grand function where you reward your employees once a year.
Define Career and Goals
Give your employees opportunities to learn something new through mentorship at work. Companies can also offer employees some live or online training courses. It is crucial to define the possible career growth path in the organization for the workers to give them the motivation to put the extra effort.
The same goes for the goals; instead of stressing them with unrealistic expectations, provide well-defined and practical goals to work towards,
Quit quitting is the term for behaviour of the burnout employee, where they say no to extra work. Managers must understand that quiet quitting is not about being lazy or less ambitious. People just want to create a work-life balance. So, if you want to ensure that your employees do not opt for quiet quitting, you need to care about their well-being and provide the necessary work-life balance.