what is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting describes an employee choosing not to go above or beyond their designated job duties, instead simply meeting the minimum requirements of their job description.
At first, quiet quitting may not seem like much of an issue. After all, employees aren’t shirking their core duties. But for most organisations, employees choosing to go the extra mile leads to a competitive advantage as higher engagement means more productivity.
Job descriptions can’t fully encapsulate every detail of a given role. There are bound to be emerging situations that call for additional work in most positions.
how common is quiet quitting?
While the concept is far from new, quiet quitting has recently gained traction following viral videos on platforms such as TikTok promoting its advantages. In the UK, employee engagement is worryingly low, with only 9% of workers feeling engaged or enthusiastic about their work according to Gallup’s 2022 global workplace report.
what is causing quiet quitting?
While employees becoming less willing to take on additional responsibilities has been happening for years, employers have more reason to be concerned about it than ever before.
Going beyond what’s expected at work—known as organisational citizenship behaviour—is associated with a sense of belonging and loyalty to the organisation. For employees, this comes at a cost. In healthy work environments, this is offset by incentives such as increased social capital and better career outcomes.
The quiet quitting trend suggests that employees are finding an imbalance between what is expected and what they get out of it. Why is that?
With the onset of the pandemic, the lines between personal and work lives became blurred, as organisations scrambled to adapt. While flexible working helped address this, it has also resulted in employee disengagement owing to the lack of office presence.
Furthermore, with the pandemic-driven ‘Great Realignment’, employees began re-evaluating their relationship with work. The result was that many of them reduced the importance of work in their lives; they also shifted what they valued at work.
While pay remains a key consideration, other factors have become more important. A 2022 survey indicates that aside from pay, employees increasingly seek work-life balance, purpose in their careers, being recognised and valued, feeling included, and being listened to.
what can employers do about quiet quitting?
There are both preventative and remedial measures that employers can take to address quiet quitting. Let’s look at a few solutions.
preventative solutions to quiet quitting
improve employee engagement
Employee engagement is directly tied to productivity. Highly engaged employees are more likely to be invested in their work and the organisation, making them more productive.
A practical way to achieve this is using the three Cs of employee engagement. These are key engagement drivers that boost morale and involvement at work.
This approach calls for better accountability, performance rewards, development, and career advancement.
realign core job requirements
This is a great middle-ground where both the organisation’s and employees’ needs intersect. Over time, an employee's work life is affected by job creep, the continuous performance of tasks outside their role.
In the wake of adjusting to post-pandemic reality, job creep has become more pronounced and takes a greater toll than before.
It’s an opportune time to re-evaluate job requirements to ensure they better reflect the organisation’s needs while creating an involving, interesting, and motivating experience for employees.
This is an integral part of the workforce planning process which can reduce your organisation’s staffing costs, improve employee retention, and boost adaptability to ever-evolving dynamics.
More often than not, organisational citizenship behaviour puts the organisation’s interests above those of employees.
Rather than improving loyalty and involvement, this has the opposite effect. Employees can feel that their contributions are undervalued and gradually succumb to citizenship fatigue.
Managers should instead make listening to employees a priority. This allows employees to voice their concerns. As a result, they are more likely to feel visible while viewing their presence as having meaning.
Factoring employee views in shaping work culture makes it easier to understand the nuances of individual needs while collectively making the organisation a better place to work.
the remedial approach to quiet quitting
When cases of quiet quitting are identified, they should be handled with care. This could involve setting time to have check-ins to discuss any underlying causal factors. This enables both parties to work together to resolve the issue amicably.
Conversely, where performance continues to decline despite efforts to improve employee wellness, formal warnings and disciplinary action may be necessary.
This could lead to measures such as employee monitoring. However, such measures should be legal, based on a data protection assessment, and announced before coming into effect.
building strong relationships helps retain talent.
To keep your employees engaged and invested in your oganisation, it’s critical to foster an environment where they feel valued and happy.
For more insights that help improve employee relations, have a look at our resources such as engagement surveys, workshops, and tools.