The ‘quiet quitting‘ is now having a moment. This trend pictures the situation among Gen Z employees who choose not to go beyond their work. Simply put, some employees reject the hustle culture and begin to set job boundaries.
Quiet Quitting refers to Gallup’s definition of “not engaged” in the workplace–describing people who do the bare minimum and are psychologically detached from their work.
According to the Gallup report, up to 80% of employees may be quiet quitters because they are not engaged to work. Even worse, another report shows that less than four in ten remote or hybrid employees know what is expected of them at work. All these symptoms lead them to do a ‘quiet quitting.’
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting at work does not mean an employee has left their job. It shows they have reduced their job description to avoid working long hours.
Those who quit quietly still continue to carry out their regular work and primary responsibilities. But, they refuse to go further and engage in what is called “citizenship behavior.” As defined by HBR, citizenship behavior is a working model in employee behavior that shows workers who stay late, show up early or participate in non-mandatory meetings.
Moreover, the expert Joe Galvin, as he explains in Forbes’ “6 Signs That A ‘Quiet Quitter’ Is Among Your Employees And What To Do About It”, quiet quitting can be defined by these signs:
- Disengagement in a chronic manner.
- Performance is only as low as the minimum performance standards.
- Separation from other team members.
- Not engaging in an unnecessary conversation, activity, or task.
- Attend meetings but do not speak or take action.
- Teammates report a sudden increase in workload as they must fill the gap.
Of course, reasonably, that may not seem to be an issue. But in the long run, that could harm employers and employees.
As we know, many businesses today rely on a workforce ready to take on additional tasks when necessary. As such, when workers engage in citizenship behaviors, it will benefit their well-being and professional growth. However, leaders have a responsibility to understand and address its root causes.
What Makes People Quitting Quietly? Research Reveals.
Workers have quietly left their jobs for many reasons: poor wages, hefty workloads, burnout, or lack of growth opportunities. Here are some research-baked pieces of evidence that indicate where the root lies:
Burnout and the necessity of work-life balance.
Seven in ten employees experienced burnout over the past year, according to Asana’s Anatomy of Work 2022 report. The report’s findings show that employees with burnout are less engaged, make more mistakes, and are more likely to lose enthusiasm.
In addition, there is a growing need for work-life balance. LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report shows that the pandemic has disrupted the work culture and brought “workers quiet quitting” to light.
Due to burnout and lack of work-life balance, more people had time to question their careers. Techwire Asia reports that over 70% of Millennials aged 25-34 (73%) and Gen Zs aged 18-24 (71%) spend more time rethinking their life priorities. Moreover, half (48%) are searching for new jobs despite the fragile economic climate.
All these figures show how far younger generations of workers have fallen behind. When resigning is not an immediate option, quietly stopping takes on fire as an alternative. Therefore, you see workers using social media to show their displeasure. Quiet quitting emerged as a TikTok talking point in the middle of 2022.
Not getting engaged.
Lack of recognition can be another leading cause of why people quit quietly. Previously, a 2021 Gallup survey revealed that only 36% of people reported being engaged in their work.
No one wants to remain employed without being seen, valued, or appreciated for their hard work and contributions. As the O.C. Tanner says, around 79% of employees say they would “quietly quit” if given more recognition.
Moreover, according to McKinsey, 40% of employees plan to leave their current jobs in 3-6 months. It can be a symptom that when people think about leaving their current job, they would never perform very well in what they do now, leading them into “quiet quitting’.
There is also a significant shift from the post-pandemic years. Since the pandemic, young workers feel less involved and have fewer opportunities to develop, especially from their managers.
Harvard Business Review said, “quiet quitting is about bad bosses, not bad employees.” The survey showed that less effective managers have three to four times more people in the “quiet quitting” category than the most influential leaders.
The staff’s lack of motivation is the response to the manager’s actions. And the feeling of being undervalued and unappreciated among workers pushed people toward quiet quitting.
Need to be paid more.
Low salary is also the reason why people are unwilling to invest everything in their careers. They began to reflect on their careers, their salaries, and how they were treated when the Great Resignation took place.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, lack of promotion opportunities, low wages, and a sense of disrespect were the main reasons Americans left their jobs in 2021.
New research shows that employees do not earn enough to cope with inflation. Forbes said that in July 2022, the U.S. inflation rate hit 8-9%, and the average increase was only 3.4%. At the same time, the 2022 inflation rate in Indonesia varies between 6.6% and 6.8%. In this country, inflation accelerates rapidly after a subsidized fuel price hike.
People struggle with their low income because they earn less during tough times, which leads them to wonder why they should work so hard.
While most workers are dealing with a salary dilemma, others remain working for their company. But what makes them stay?
In the Linkedin survey, current employees were asked about their primary motivations for remaining in their current roles. 74% of respondents chose answers that equated to a “workplace shelter.” At the top of the list, collecting a regular paycheque and maintaining financial stability were vital factors for 59%.
Notably, in terms of “workplace shelter,” employees prefer enjoying a company’s perks (30%), waiting for more favorable labor market conditions during the pandemic (15%), and not having the time or energy to focus on a job change (14%).
What if You Spot a “Quiet Quitter?” What Should You Do?
It’s clear that quiet quitting is a sign of lacking management. But the good news is that leaders can still handle this problem. Now you know the reason; now it’s time for solutions. Some research-backed techniques below are served for you:
Re-define their core tasks.
Some difficult pandemic years have colored the relationship between employers and employees; created and standardized something called “going beyond” among workers. But today’s workers are overwhelmed and get more complicated with all the stigma they got, like a “quiet quitting’’.
So, is quitting a problem? No, it’s employee burnout, as the report said. They need to get back on track, without leaving the benefit of “citizenship behavior.” So this is a good time for managers to adjust essential employee responsibilities.
It is time to consider what is needed and what should be considered additional work. Doing so helps managers focus on encouraging their people to perform essential jobs and tasks at a high level, as well as giving them space to take care of themselves off the job.
Pay attention and invest in your people.
Going the extra mile is less likely to cause employees to be exhausted when they feel backed up by their employers. Well, hands-on support begins with understanding their needs.
What does it mean? It’s not just about connecting with your employees; it’s also about encouraging, incentivizing, and staying in touch with their feelings.
You can’t just empathize. Managers must also prioritize ‘workplace safety.’ They need to know that their organization cares for them and that their leader will listen to their concerns.
The definition of ‘pay attention’ also requires you to collect qualitative and quantitative data about what engages your people. Here, your job is to find their unique needs. In this case, an HR analytics tool will be helpful as it can provide information on the factors contributing to employee well-being and performance.
One-on-one discussions can also provide essential information. Listen to what your people want, and hear what they need. Some people may enjoy career development opportunities, another may be more concerned with flex time, and others may be looking for a higher salary.
All the “quiet quitting” problems will be addressed only when you want to listen. You can invent new approaches: a stretching task, a change in working hours, or a more transparent bonus scheme.
Discover a new paradigm for ‘Hustle Culture.’
Realize that the behavior of citizenship or “shake” culture has a positive side, and leaders can still promote it within their organization. But this time, we must prevent employees from clinging to the destructive culture of “agitation,” the idea that damages their well-being.
Let’s figure out a new paradigm of hustle culture. Maybe “hustle” culture is not all mistaken, but the errors come from how we see things. Earlier, we talked about how we need to find people’s unique needs.’ Now, our job is to align findings from each person with the idea of a “hustle culture” that fits them.
For instance, some of your employees may like to help others, so they may be excited to undertake extra tasks that give them the pleasure of aiding. Others may become interested in public recognition. So be sure to place them into activities that can put them under the spotlight.
The workplace is where we want our people to go the extra mile, but the crowd of employees’ quiet quitting makes it worse. We are all surprised by this phenomenon. But it’s just the same old problems that come with new looks, carrying the current issues. We just need a little polish, and we know how to end this.