Employers have struggled over the past two years with being able to recruit and hire enough workers.
Now, growing concerns about the effects of “quiet quitting” have employers trying to figure out how to address more workforce challenges.
Quiet quitting is a broad term that leaves its common characteristic or warning signs open to interpretation. LinkedIn News characterizes quiet quitting as when individuals meet their minimum job requirements and little – if anything – more. That could mean avoiding non-mandatory work meetings or events, turning down certain projects or not engaging in work communication outside of business hours.
Some say quiet quitting is a form of burnout and are buzzwords for a long-standing workplace issue of people gradually becoming less engaged and giving up on a job over time. LinkedIn suggests quiet quitting may be less about employees leaving an organization and more about individuals feeling empowered to set healthy boundaries to create more separation from their work life and personal life.
Regardless of how the term is defined, it’s an issue that has serious workforce implications.
A recent Gallup poll finds that quiet quitters make up half of the U.S. workforce. Gallup surveyed more than 15,000 full- and part-time employees across the U.S. in June 2022. Meanwhile, the rise in quiet quitting coincides with a collective backward slide in employee engagement and a sharp rise in resignations. Gallup research shows the proportion of “actively disengaged” workers is up to 18 percent.
Those numbers seem to be closely related to a person’s:
- Clarity of job expectations – particularly with regard to remote or hybrid workers.
- Opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
- Sense of feeling cared about in an organization.
- Connection to the company’s mission or purpose.
These often represent a disconnect between employers and their employees. Most people who are not engaged or actively disengaged are already looking for work elsewhere, according to Gallup research. The issue appears to be most prevalent among workers who are under 35 years old.
Combatting quiet quitting
So what can employers do to solve this quiet quitting crisis? Experts say quiet quitting is a reflection of the management of an organization. Start with manager engagement or lack thereof in some cases. Gallup estimates only one in three managers are engaged in the workplace.
That means there are opportunities for leadership training to help businesses win in today’s work environment.
Quiet quitting also highlights the need for managers to have conversations with their employees to help reduce disengagement and burnout. Employees are more likely to respond favorably and be more engaged when they know others in an organization are invested in their success.
Having at least one meaningful conversation per week with a manager or supervisor can help increase employee engagement.
Experts say creating accountability for individual performance, collaboration and customer value will help employees connect to the larger purpose of a business.
Additionally, managers can help employees prioritize their work to help lessen feelings of being overwhelmed. Utilize a priority scale to classify work based on most time-sensitive projects. This could help employees complete work in more manageable pieces instead of feeling like everything has to be done all at once.
Showing gratitude is another way to combat quiet quitting. Employees want to know how their work is perceived and valued.
Let employees know it is ok to take time away from work and encourage them to set healthy boundaries. Employers need to respect those boundaries as well. Help employees, particularly younger ones, recognize that not everything is going to be perfect. Stressing about work is an underlying factor in quiet quitting. Define realistic expectations and recognize times when “that’s good enough” is acceptable without that mindset leading to widespread apathy within an organization.
Incorporating some or all of these strategies can do wonders for employee engagement and satisfaction and benefit your organization overall.
About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.
~Josh Heck is Syndeo’s marketing manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (316) 440-9940.