What is quiet quitting?
Known for doing the bare minimum (or less), quiet quitters are saying ‘no’ to hustle culture and setting boundaries for work-life balance. 8 in 10 quiet quitters report being burnt out, and their reasoning for no longer going above and beyond is because it would compromise their mental health and work-life balance. Almost half of quiet quitters also report feeling underappreciated or overlooked for new opportunities, which caused them to make the assumption that trying hard still won’t get them where they want to be.
Even more alarming, according to a survey of more than 1,000 American professionals in August, 21% of employed respondents admit to doing even less than what is required of them at work. This not only impacts the individual’s productivity, but it can derail the production of the entire team, as tasks pile up or are passed to other employees who are picking up the slack.
How to Spot Quiet Quitting:
Especially in a remote or hybrid role, it may be more challenging to identify who the quiet quitters are, and even more challenging for managers to turn it around. This trend can be contagious, as sometimes even one quiet quitter on a team can spark the same pattern in others if not addressed.
The predominant group of quiet quitters may surprise some: 24 percent of workers in the middle of their career, aged 35-44, say they don’t do more than what’s expected of them. On the flip side, only 17 percent of 18–24-year old's, 18 percent of 45–54-year old's, and 7 percent of those over 54 say the same.
Beyond the demographics, quiet quitters may be those who were once engaged and excited, and slowly have pulled back. They’re not speaking up as much, sharing new ideas, encouraging teammates or asking for new challenges. While every professional will have bad days or weeks over the course of a career, the disengagement that comes with quiet quitting is unique, as they may seem more disconnected from their work or unaffected by criticism.
Why is quiet quitting a management issue?
The disengagement quiet quitters feel, in some cases, may have first started with disengaged managers. So, the first step in addressing quiet quitting is self-reflection. Another concept catching wind tied to quiet quitting is 'quiet firing.’ This is when a manager stops investing in or developing an employee because they no longer see the value, and in return, that employee either becomes overwhelmed or feels under-appreciated and ends up pulling back.
So, before approaching the employees, self-reflect to notice if anything has changed from a leadership and management perspective.
How do I turn around quiet quitters?
If after reflection it’s determined management is doing whatever possible to help support and engage with employees, it’s time to dig into the behavior directly with the quiet quitters.
Start by addressing the issue. Talk with employees who seem disengaged and ask about what they are experiencing. Don’t assume they are intentionally underperforming and remember there may be external factors at play. Have an open discussion with employees about how they are feeling, their job satisfaction levels and what their personal and professional goals are. Ask what support they need. A direct conversation can go a long way.
According to a recent survey by ResumeBuilder, 91% of those who are just doing the bare minimum reported they could be motivated to do more. 75% of survey respondents stated they would be incentivized by more money, more paid time off, better health care, among other factors.
If growth and recognition is what they feel they're missing, set up times to meet one-on-one regularly and work on career mapping. They may need to understand the potential of what their role can become and how they can progress. Discuss their motivators to help determine if the role is the right fit. While many quiet quitters may be simply in a rough patch, others could be stuck in a career rut and not know what their options are.
Talk to them about potential internal transfers, if applicable to their skillsets, that could help improve the health of the overall business and may be a stronger career fit for them.
Before giving up on quiet quitters, consider how else they could be motivated. If the team needs additional support, consider bringing in a few new people to reinvigorate the energy of the team. New employees have the highest engagement rates and may be the friendly competition a quiet quitter needs to get their head back in the game. The opportunity to train and mentor someone new could be the challenge they need.
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