Quiet quitting is a relatively new business term, and it is gaining more and more attention from HR and other professionals.
If you are wondering what quiet quitting really is, how to spot quiet quitters in your company, and how to prevent it from happening, keep reading this blog in which we will answer all of those questions.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is a term used to describe a workplace behavior in which employees perform just enough work to fulfill their main duties and responsibilities.
In other words, they don’t demonstrate organizational citizenship behaviors, defined as employees’ activities to achieve beyond what’s expected.
Quiet quitters usually don’t show high levels of engagement and enthusiasm at work. They don’t go beyond their assigned tasks and are not willing to put extra effort into over-achieving their goals.
As simply explained in the Harvard Business Review article:
“Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.”
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Is Quiet Quitting an Emerging Trend or Just a New Buzzword?
Quiet quitting is a relatively new term introduced by Bryan Creely, a Nashville-based corporate recruiter and career coach, who invoked “quiet quitting” on March 4, 2022. His video got over 400,000 likes, and soon after, it seemed like everyone was talking about “quiet quitting”.
However, is this really a new phenomenon or just a buzzword for something already existing?
Many experts see quiet quitting as a form of low employee engagement resulting from poor employee experience in the workplace. Employees who feel unsatisfied with their jobs tend to be less motivated to perform well and do extra work to achieve greater results.
Some professionals believe that quiet quitting happens when employers consistently keep asking for extra work but don’t invest in their employees enough in return. This disbalance is discouraging for employees who eventually don’t feel motivated to do something they don’t feel appreciated for.
Some people believe that the COVID-19 pandemic brought this phenomenon into the spotlight as it drastically changed company culture in many organizations. Furthermore, people started questioning their careers and seeking more work-life balance, according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report.
So if employers don’t start investing more in their workforce, this quiet alternative is likely to become increasingly common.
Why Should Organizations Be Worried About Quiet Quitting? [+ How to Spot Quiet Quitters]
According to the latest Gallup research, employee engagement took another step backward during the second quarter of 2022, with the proportion of engaged workers remaining at 32% but the proportion of actively disengaged increasing to 18%. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade.
This data is worrisome for many employers as the consequences of low employee engagement and quiet quitting are significant.
Low employee morale and engagement
Quiet quitting is often the consequence of low employee morale. According to various research done in the previous few years, employee morale is a growing challenge that has been emerging with the COVID-19 pandemic.
7 out of 10 employees experienced burnout in the last year, according to Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work report. The report findings also showed that employees suffering from burnout are less engaged, make more mistakes, leave the company, and are at a higher risk for low morale.
Lower productivity and impact on company financials
Disengaged quiet quitters are, in general, less productive than their engaged peers, and this has a direct impact on the company’s performance. A study on employee engagement found that companies in the U.S. lose between $450-$550 billion each year due to disengaged workers.
Furthermore, Gallup’s report on employee engagement shows that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability.
💡 Learn about 10 ways to increase your employees’ productivity!
Even though quite quitting doesn’t have to lead to an increase in turnover, most of the time, this is the case. Engaged employees who are satisfied with their work also have stronger connections with their employers and are more loyal.
Previously mentioned research showed that highly engaged business units achieve 59% less turnover” in high-turnover organizations and “24% less turnover” in low-turnover organizations.
💡 Learn about 9 ways to combat employee turnover.
Lack of advocacy
Quiet quitters are much less likely to act as brand ambassadors. If they do just enough to fulfill their main duties and responsibilities, employee advocacy isn’t something they will consider doing.
On the other hand, if employees regularly participate in advocacy programs and care about promoting their company’s products and services, you most likely don’t have to worry about them quite quitting.
One of the biggest downsides of quite quitting is the lack of innovation. When employees are not motivated to do extra work, they are less likely to put effort into coming up with new and innovative solutions.
Also, they are less likely to share their knowledge with their peers, impacting knowledge transfer and overall business success.
4 Simple Ways to Prevent Quiet Quitting?
There are ways to prevent quite quitting and reduce the negative sides of it.
Let’s take a deep dive.
1. Listen to your employees
Encouraging employees’ share of voice is absolutely necessary to understand what motivates your employees and prevent quiet quitting from happening.
When employees feel supported by their employers, they are much more likely to demonstrate citizenship behavior and go the extra mile to achieve better results. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
So it is the employer’s responsibility to create a positive workplace culture in which employees feel free to speak up and believe that their organization truly cares about them.
Companies also need to enable their managers to continuously track the pulse of their teams and find the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that drive higher employee engagement. Managers should be able to easily collect qualitative and quantitative data about their workforce and get valuable insights and recommendations for improvement.
For example, every manager should do proactive stay interviews to spot possible quiet quitting behaviors and predict whether employees are at risk of leaving.
Unfortunately, a Gartner poll says that only 16% of companies leverage technology to track employee progress and engagement.
💡 If you are ready to get started, check out these 5 employee surveys with 50 questions you can start asking today!
2. Focus on employee experience factors that matter
Once you collect data and understand the employee experience factors that impact employee engagement, it is important to act upon the results.
While some employees may be mostly motivated by compensation, this is often not the case. Keeping and motivating talent in your organization takes much more than offering an attractive salary.
Some employees may care about positive workplace relationships the most. Some may want more flexibility for a better work-life balance.
Often, quiet quitting may result from a lack of appreciation and recognition at work, while in other cases, a lack of career growth opportunities may be the biggest culprit.
So based on the EX insights you get from your employees’ feedback, consider implementing new workplace initiatives such as clear career paths, formal employee recognition programs, and others.
3. Put extra effort into internal communications
Internal communications roles have become one of the most important strategic business partners in the past few years because they have a direct impact on employee engagement.
The Trade Press Services published research proving that effective internal communications motivate 85% of employees to become more engaged in the workplace.
📹 Check out our Masterclass about the importance of having an internal communications strategy!
If you want to avoid quiet quitting, you need to create a transparent organizational culture and frequently communicate your company’s core values, goals, mission, and vision. This is the best way to achieve greater organizational alignment and motivate your workplace to strive towards achieving one common goal.
Regularly communicating your company’s values will help you embed desired employee behaviors that align with those values.
To make IC initiatives more successful, communications professionals must avoid sending generic employee newsletters and make information more relevant and fun to consume.
To engage employees with your content, personalize it based on employees’ job roles, interests, locations, and other criteria. Launch an internal podcast and make sure that your social intranet serves as the ultimate content hub and digital home for every employee.
4. Invest in employee well-being
The level of stress people face at work is record high nowadays. And in many cases, this is the biggest reason why quiet quitting happens.
The American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being Survey showed that more than a third of working Americans (35%) are experiencing chronic work stress, and less than half said their employer provides sufficient resources to help employees manage their stress.