"Many employees are drifting from their organizations – even when they are not actually leaving." ~Work Human
There is frenzy right now in the global business world about the much talked about phenomena of “quiet quitting.” In addition to dealing with the fall out of the ‘Great Resignation,’ employers are now stressed with the challenges of how to achieve employee engagement for staff who are actively restricting the amount of effort and energy they are willing to put into their jobs.
When employees quietly quit, they show up to meet the minimum requirements of their positions and that’s it. There is no staying late and nothing taken on beyond their job description. Employees who are quietly quitting clock in, complete what needs to happen, and at home time they are out.
This article will look at why quiet quitting is not new and how to recognize it in your business.
To Understand Quiet Quitting You Need to Understand Engagement
Gallup stats show that only 21% of the global workforce is actively engaged. Employee engagement is how much employees are onboard with the vision of your business and the motivation they have to make it happen with you. Engaged staff feel fulfilled by what they get to do at work, and it translates into the amount of effort they are willing to put into their jobs beyond the minimum.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, 18% of employees are actively disengaged. These employees have frequent absences, low productivity, make mistakes that affect product quality and show up with attitudes that negatively affect team morale. They are the staff that don’t stay long and leave horrible Glass Door Reviews.
The remaining middle zone of employees is the range where quiet quitting comes in. To recap, these are the employees who do exactly what they have to do. Not more, not less. This has been known as disengagement in the global workforce for many years, and it’s not a situation that has just happened. The viral label of quiet quitting from Tik Tok's Zaid Khan has shone a light on a long-standing business challenge.
The fervor around quiet quitting right now, is very much linked to post pandemic shifts in the culture of the global workplace. At the height of uncertainty during the pandemic, terminations and layoffs happened on a large scale, with little warning. Jobs that workers had dedicated years of their lives to, were just gone. There was no job security or protection from years of service and employer loyalty. In most cases neither mattered.
The uncertainty about life and the world, gave people the wake up call that work was not the end all be all in life. The point was also made that working harder doesn't keep your position safe when it comes down to crunch time.
Today, post-pandemic, workplaces are scrambling to hire and competitive job opportunities are on the market. People have numerous employment options and the power to make the call about what they are willing to accept at work.
Priorities have drastically changed, and work doesn't any longer come before personal lives. Employees are unwilling to take on more responsibility without adequate compensation or being recognized for their efforts.
Measures that were put in place during COVID-19, such as work from home, have demonstrated that there can be different ways of doing things that offer better work/life balance. The bar has been raised for how businesses show up to their staff.
Your may also be interested in: How to Get Employees More Engaged During Quiet Quitting: Start with These Two Things
When Quiet Quitting Sets in What Will You See?
Employee well being is now a critical focus for employers where it may have been secondary or overlooked before. Workplaces must be able to identify when employees are doing well and recognize when there are struggles and engagement levels are falling.
The first step in addressing quiet quitting, is to being able to recognize when it is happening. It is impossible to trouble shoot a problem that you can't see. Significant changes in the behavior of normally engaged employees and the outcomes of their work will be seen in the presence of disengagement.
These are some of the common shifts observed with quiet quitting:
increased absences and sick time
increased injuries on the job
more frequent late arrivals and extending breaks
procrastination in completing tasks
decreased feedback and communication
arguments among team members
lower product quality and mistakes
isolation from coworkers
reluctance to participate in staff meetings or work events
leaving for another position
These signs will differ among individual employees and show up in various combinations. However, seeing any of things is an alert to leaders that engagement may be falling and that employees are struggling at work. It is a call to help your staff before you lose them.
The unfortunate fact is that building engagement into the culture of your company is so much more effective than trying to reengage staff that have checked out. Measures to support staff and reassure them that their employer has their back, mattered before the pandemic, but is even more essential now in the climate of global workforce change.
Quiet quitting is not a new phenomenon but rather a different term for employee disengagement in the workplace. The solutions for preventing and reversing quiet quitting at work, come down to those in charge.
In order for leaders to make an actionable plan to prevent or reverse employee disengagement, it is critical for them to be aware of what it looks like and when employees are struggling versus thriving by making educated observations.
As a leader, if you don't know how your staff is doing, it is essential to find out before quiet quitting creeps in and your employees start walking out.