Although the term "quiet quitting" is relatively new, the idea is not. The expression, which became famous on TikTok, represents a condition in which overburdened workers facing employee burnout stop going above and beyond and instead do the absolute least to get by at work. Such apathetic employees may not be looking for work or planning to seek career advancement opportunities elsewhere, but they lack the drive to perform above expectations.
Quiet quitting is a kind of disengagement on the part of the employees of a company, a protest against the lack of a healthy work-life balance, and a covert act of non-compliance. The employee resumes with job duties and is not necessarily disobedient. Still, they object to new tasks and additional job responsibilities to their regular balanced workload. They often use strategies to avoid exerting more effort beyond what is required by the job description provided by the employer. These workers might refuse new job responsibilities, quit volunteering or putting in extra effort, only accept simple jobs, or make excuses about being too busy to aid supervisors or co-workers. They form comfort levels that involve minimal effort. This idea is also referred to as "quiet quitting." It is essentially popularly considered an antithesis to "Hustle Culture" and affects the company's growth as much as it impacts the employees' career paths.
Why Is Quiet Quitting Prevalent in Most Companies?
Quiet or silent quitting happens for various reasons, oftentimes a combination of several factors. In general, job satisfaction is a priority in every individual's work life. A quiet quitter often loses interest in his work when he is not satisfied with his career growth or is affected by the lack of it.
Among the primary factors, the most commonly observed reasons for quiet quitting are:
Having to perform the work of two to three workers is a frequent gripe for disengaged employees. A quiet quitter often used to be a passionate worker who handled their assignments and projects with interest and eventually became a burned-out employee from being overwhelmed and overworked. This increased burden on employees to boost productivity results in a rise in stress and anxiety levels and causes employees to resign to minimal or low-effort performance. Oftentimes, instead of the manager reducing the task when a worker leaves, the remaining team members pick up the slack until a replacement employee is hired. When there is a protracted wait for a replacement team member or a lot of turnovers, employees may become worn out and irritated, leading to a stark decrease in productivity.
Insufficient or Inadequate Compensation
Disengaged employees and quiet quitters often justify their actions by deciding to only work for what they are paid. They typically feel that their companies overwork them for too little income. The fundamental cause of the issue is that staff members believe their efforts have not been fairly compensated. Workers reduce that effort in response. These team members frequently request higher pay but are turned down or mistreated, or they have cause to fear that their employer won't be accommodating.
Breach of Boundaries
Sometimes, a poor work-life balance and a disregard for the distinct boundaries that must exist between work and home life lead to quiet resignation. There are breaches of boundaries with employers where workers are contacted via email or phone calls after working hours. Employers often demand that they are responded to promptly. Perhaps work interferes with vacations, or bosses reject requests for PTO. It is often not the occasional work emergency but the frequent overstepping of boundaries that causes this reaction. When a worker is made to believe that their personal life and time do not matter as much as their professional development lives, they often turn to quiet quitting to strictly enforce their bold boundaries.
How to Prevent Quiet Quitting
Here are a few tried and tested methods you can employ if you notice warning signs that your workers are quietly quitting and affecting your business.
One of the biggest signs of quiet quitting is disparities in pay or inadequate compensation. Employees may not be hesitant to put in more effort but may believe the rewards are never worth it. The worst-case scenario is when managers refuse to acknowledge the additional responsibilities or discuss pay, asking staff to normalize overworking. This causes a massive drop in employee morale.
Maintaining remuneration that matches market rates and current living standards is crucial. Compensation should also be increased in response to exceptionally hard work or successful outcomes. Remember that pay can also be non-financial and come in the form of praise, bonuses, advantages, and flexibility. However, if you are materially underpaying your employees, your case for supplemental compensation won't be as strong.
Recognition and Rewarding of Employee Efforts
One of the best ways to keep staff motivated and maintain (or even boost) productivity is by thanking them for a job well done with an employee recognition strategy. Such employee engagement is certain to boost a smooth workflow. Even though most workers appreciate financial rewards for a job well done, a simple "thank you" or recognition program within your company is frequently very inexpensive and may do a lot to raise morale. This does not refer to the occasional happy hour or pizza party hosted by the workplace. The staff probably appreciates these gestures, but they rarely have a significant impact on morale or productivity. Utilize various methods to learn what employees desire, then put in place a recognition program with specific career goals, professional goals, and measurable standards so that workers may benefit.
Maintaining Clear Boundaries
A form of employee disengagement is often the tendency to establish boundaries and stop co-workers or supervisors from invading their personal space by using silent quitting. You can prevent a dip in productivity due to this by setting clear parameters for staff to follow before they take this drastic measure. Timely action cultivates a culture of trust that results in developing a safe space for employees. Leadership programs must insist on basic job requirements, mental health care and long-term benefits.
Insist that picking up after-hours calls or emails is not required.
Create a method for designating communications as urgent, and specify the parameters of a suitable after-hours emergency.
Allow employees to clock out earlier than required in exchange for the time they stayed late to finish tasks.
Intercede when co-workers bully one other into working too much and devise a safe manner for staff to report this happening. Provide employees with sporadic paid time off.
Promoting the rights of employees can be a very effective way to stop quiet resignation. As a manager, the more vocal you are about your team members' need for privacy, the less likely they would violate those boundaries. The employees will appreciate you standing up, and speaking up for them will spare them the anxiety of conflict.
Regulation of Overtime and Extra Hours
Employee workloads should ideally be consistent and predictable. However, because of the chaos in the economic world, overtime is occasionally required. There is a distinction between working extra hours during a busy period or while you're waiting for a new employee to start and ongoing overwork. Working continuously at or beyond your maximum capacity is not tenable over the long term. Employees require time off to recharge, psychologically detach, and spend quality time with their families. The majority of workers have nothing against working overtime once in a while, but issues occur when this willingness is misused, and a favor becomes the standard.
Transparent Conversations About Workloads
The demands of teams evolving over time or with complex projects or positions growing are not rare. Giving a bright employee extra authority in a particular function is common and frequently required. However, if these adjustments surprise those employees, they could feel unprepared and overwhelmed. Their growing resentment of the increasing task may result in quietly quitting.
Be honest in your conversations with employees about any changes that may happen in their responsibilities during the interview to prevent this. If you set expectations up front, employees won't be astounded by increased tasks. You may, for instance, describe how an operational role might one day include additional responsibilities like taking on certain tasks in HR. Setting this standard throughout the interview process eliminates applicants who would become disengaged if given increased duties.
Listening to Your Staff
Quiet quitting doesn't always begin quietly. The form of employee disengagement is quite underplayed. Employees frequently raise issues that management acknowledges but fails to address or disregard. Team members may take action by becoming inactive if they believe the company leaders are unaware of or indifferent to their issues. Even worse, these workers start to believe that they are working under a bad manager due to an absolute lack of two-way conversations.
Team members might be kept from leaving the team by listening to them and validating their emotions and experiences. In an ever-changing business world, a fundamental weapon in the struggle against quiet quitting is empathy. Suppose you wish to reduce the possibility of employees exercising quiet quitting. In that case, you must have a conversation with employees, make them feel like their circumstances are seen, their voices are heard, and their needs and requests are understood and taken into consideration.
Prevent Quiet Quitting With Smart Strategies
In conclusion, a proactive approach to employee engagement and happiness is necessary to prevent quiet resignation in a company, which can often result in business stagnation. Business leaders may establish a productive workplace that promotes business values such as open communication and builds a sense of loyalty among team members by constantly checking in with workers and resolving any concerns or difficulties they might have. Staff engagement and motivation can also be maintained by seeking employee feedback, appreciation and opportunities for growth and development.
Companies may lower the danger of quiet resignation and foster a more productive and engaged workforce by implementing these methods and developing a culture of openness and support. Improving commitment to employee wellbeing starts with conversations.