The concept of “quiet quitting” has recently become a hot topic of discussion in the world of work. Quiet quitting refers to when employees become disengaged from their jobs and do the bare minimum of their duties. This practice has been linked to employee burnout and dissatisfaction. It can take various forms, from reduced productivity to non-attendance at meetings and failure to contribute to team projects.
Jill Cotton, a career trends expert at Glassdoor EMEA, argues that quiet quitting is not a new phenomenon. Workers have long disconnected from their jobs due to a lack of career growth, poor pay, or an unmanageable workload. However, recent events, such as the pandemic, have prompted more employees to question their career and work-life balance choices. Quiet quitting allows individuals to maintain their wages while looking for a better job or avoiding the stress of handing in their resignation and finding a new job.
To prevent employees from quietly quitting, employers should improve the employee experience. Rachael Knappier, director of service at Croner, suggests that employers speak with all staff to discuss how they could best help them feel valued and appreciated in the workplace. She emphasises that if employers collaborate with the employee and work to put an effective plan in place, all parties can benefit.
Rebecca Holt, clinical psychologist and co-founder and director of Working Mindset, says the key to preventing employees from disengaging is to ensure that work provides purpose and meaning for people. Employees need to feel part of a bigger picture, to have autonomy and control, and to feel psychologically safe. For this reason, employers should make sure workloads are realistic, that there are appropriate boundaries, and that mental health is made a priority.
Before proceeding to hire new employees, organisations need to establish the practice of doing regular and honest reviews of the current workplace culture to help strengthen the foundations before bringing in new talent. Employees are most satisfied when a company’s culture and values match their own, and the organisation offers strong senior leadership and access to career opportunities.
When managing quiet quitters, employers should first meet with the employee to fully understand how they are feeling, why they are less motivated, and what can be done to rectify the issue. Informal discussions are likely the best approach in the first instance. Tom Cornell, a senior psychology consultant at HireVue, notes that employee motivation and engagement are not constant and will naturally fluctuate due to various factors. Therefore, it is important not to punish troughs in engagement without first understanding what is driving the individual to quietly quit.
In conclusion, quiet quitting is a phenomenon that has been around for a long time but has gained more attention recently. Employers should focus on improving the employee experience, providing purpose and meaning in work, and making sure that mental health is a priority. By doing so, they can prevent employees from disengaging from their jobs and resorting to quiet quitting. When managing quiet quitters, it is important to first understand the root cause of the issue and work with the employee to rectify it, rather than punishing them for disengagement.