Whether you consider quiet quitting an alarming uptick in lazy employees or a justified attempt at work/life balance, this attitude toward work negatively impacts workers and employers alike. It may be a new term, but it refers to an attitude that has been around forever. We all know people who only do the minimum required, and usually it comes with consequences: lower productivity, limited success, disgruntled team members, as well as unhappy individuals spending hours unfulfilled at work.
While having work/life balance is healthy, the disengagement that often accompanies quiet quitting is destructive for all involved. Besides being unhappy, quiet quitters may be sabotaging their careers, putting themselves at risk for being fired/passed over for promotion, and limiting their own potential. For employers, the costs are too high: lost productivity, toxic culture, resentful talent, high turnover, poor customer experience, as well as carrying the weight of the quietly quitting.
There have always been disengaged workers, but according to a recent 2022 Gallup survey, more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce consists of quiet quitters. The level of dissatisfaction the survey suggests combined with staff shortages has created a real problem. The good news is employers can reduce the negative toll of quiet quitting with these steps:
First, identify the level of the problem and your firm’s commitment to creating a high-performing environment. Provide opportunities for workers to give honest feedback without fear of reprisal, and listen to what they say. If you have many employees who are quietly quitting, the problem may be leadership. Are staff expected to work without being compensated for their time? Are life balance and family commitments always relegated to second place?
Second, insist on total buy-in from your management team to improve. Many companies consider themselves progressive and tout fancy mission statements, but when it comes to decisions that reward and respect their workers, their actions do not back their words. A high-performing, mutually respectful environment starts at the top and includes all levels. An authentic culture of commitment and accountability works both ways: Managers practice what they preach, are flexible, which means different things to different people, and focus on results that empower staff without micro-managing.
Finally, truly valuing workers means appreciating their contribution and seeing them as human beings with lives, hopes, and families beyond the workplace. Build relationships and create a foundation of genuine caring/interest in your team. People want to be part of something, to be valued, respected, and to feel like their efforts matter. When you truly foster a people-centered culture, you will silence the destructive roar of the quiet quitters.
Stay tuned: What You Need to Know About Quiet Firing.