The new phenomena ‘Quiet Quitting’ is actually a new term for an age-old problem - that of staff disengagement.
Quite Quitters are not walking away from their jobs - they’ll do exactly what they are paid to do, but barely an iota more.
Following the pandemic there has been a general shift in attitude towards the workplace – where GenXers and Millennials in particular, are assessing their work-life imbalance and acting to protect themselves accordingly.
Unfortunately for the employer – the actions being taken are not the result of an impactful company initiative. Rather, employees are putting in boundaries in more of a protest against the advantage they rightly or wrongly perceive, as being taken of them.
The ‘going above and beyond’ mindset is on its knees.
Harm to the business and the individual
There is now little incentive to ‘walk the extra mile’ - and some will say that this is as it should be.
However, I argue that holding any position within an organisation, where one has a lack of motivation and consciously pushes against doing any of the 'extras' is actually harmful to both the company and the individual.
Who wants to work in an environment, or for an employer where the underlying feeling - and therefore aim, is to avoid being taken advantage of?
It is just not conducive to health, for any employee to remain in an environment where this is the core sentiment.
As the negative feelings of cynicism and apathy build, we very quickly move towards employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention issues.
However, here's the Catch 22...
If an employee decides to leave the company due to the result of of Quiet Quitting and the emotional harm it inevitably does - they will soon experience similar feelings towards their next employer - if that employer has not put in place steps that address the employee disengagement of Quiet Quitters.
Quite Quitting is therefore a losing game for all.
What can employers do?
- Firstly, employers and leadership need an understanding that providing generic perks that offer fleeting benefits is not going to address the Quiet Quitter movement.
- Employers need to give their people what they want, and in order to find out what they want - they simply need to be asked. However, in doing so there needs to be a lean towards the quote (often misattributed to Einstein),which questions the sanity of doing the same thing over and over whilst expecting a different outcome.
- In order to gain a true picture of exactly what your people are experiencing questions that have not been asked before, must be asked.
- Questions need to allow room for detailed answers as opposed to ones which simply elicit ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ responses.
- Creating a psychologically safe space is therefore imperative. If your organisation is perceived as psychologically unsafe - which Quite Quitters will perceive it to be - then you are unlikely to get the quality of information you need to make the impactful changes that will work. Using an outside agency to conduct interviews could be a way around this, and certainly the use of anonymous feedback should be the very least.
Michelle Hay, Chief People Officer of Sedgwick also proposes this approach. In her interview with the Washington Post, Hay suggests employers:
- better understand how employees are feeling through frequent staff surveys
- conduct in-depth onboarding interviews
- conduct in-depth exit interviews.
Understanding and then effectively responding to the Quiet Quitter needs within your organisation, is your very best course of action.
How I can help
If you would like examples of questions that you can incorporate to assess the impact that raising adolescent-aged children has on the wellbeing and productivity of your working parents CLICK HERE.
If you would like to hear direct from an employee about how they would respond if they felt supported by their employer - skip to 11min 30sec in this explainer video on my home page CLICK HERE.