The term “quiet quitting” lit up social media recently, shedding light on a changing and possibly disengaged workforce. But is quiet quitting worth worrying about as a company?
Here’s everything you need to know about quiet quitting, including what it is, if it’s worth looking into, where it came from, and steps employers can take to prevent it.
What is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is a phenomenon where employees do the minimum requirements of their jobs. This means exerting only as much effort, time, or enthusiasm as minimally required.
The phenomenon “quiet quitting” is a bit misleading since employees don’t formally resign; they still collect a salary but aren’t putting in as much effort as many employers would like.
Quiet quitting arose in the early 2020s and became a popularized social media trend in 2022, mainly when inflation was at its peak – more on that later.
Is Quiet Quitting Worth Worrying About?
Yes, quiet quitting is a trend that employers should take seriously. Whether your workforce is experiencing this phenomenon can only be determined by you, but here’s why it’s worth looking into.
A Gallup poll from June 2022 surveyed workers over the age of 18. It found that at least 50% of the US workforce constituted quiet quitters, if not more. For workers under age 35, the percentage was exceptionally high.
Gallup didn’t ask survey-takers explicitly if they were quiet quitting. Instead, they asked questions to gauge employee engagement. Only 32% of workers were engaged, and 18% were disengaged, meaning the remainder could qualify as quiet quitters – those who are disengaged but aren’t boastful about it.
However, a lack of engagement at work can be due to factors other than quiet quitting. Burnout, boredom, stagnation, poor culture, and many other factors can cause disengagement.
Where Did Quiet Quitting Come From?
Although one can contest the factors leading to the disengagement found in Gallup’s poll, one fact is made clear: an exceedingly large percentage of the American workforce is disengaged. When employees are disengaged, they contribute less and are less excited and energized.
The Covid-19 pandemic laid the groundwork for quiet quitting in a big way. It opened the door to work-from-home (WFH) and conversations about work-life balance. Companies that remain inflexible on work arrangements and mental healthcare will likely see highly disengaged workers.
Further, as The Great Resignation raged on in 2021 and 2022, many employees who stayed behind felt uninspired to give their all.
Then, shortly after people resigned in droves, companies began laying off by the thousands and instituting hiring freezes. These factors create a feeling of insecurity in employees who worry about losing their jobs – if they feel it’s inevitable, why work hard?
All these occurrences in the early 2020s led to quiet quitting.
How to Prevent & Combat Quiet Quitting
A quiet quitting backlash is to be expected if a company’s performance suffers from highly disengaged workers. Your goal as an organization is to prevent burnout and disengagement, giving your employees reason to be highly engaged.
The top reasons employees resign are:
- A planned change (moving, pregnancy, career change) – nothing you can do here
- Better options elsewhere
- Dissatisfaction with the company or tasks at work
- Absence of professional growth opportunities
- Bad experiences (unfair boss, harassment, no support)
With that in mind, here are some steps to create engaged employees and lower turnover.
- Excellent Onboarding
Although your company may not be hiring like it was a year or two ago, the hiring cycle will uptick again. When it does, a well-established onboarding process is essential for fostering engagement at work and decreasing turnover.
When your business is in a slower hiring period, it’s the perfect opportunity to establish and fine-tune the onboarding process.
Start with a warm welcome, including:
- Setting up the workstation
- A welcome packet
- Scheduling introductory calls
- Pairing the new hire with an established employee for guidance
- Announcing the new hire’s arrival
- Helping with paperwork
Continue regular support and check-ins throughout the employee’s first few weeks and months. The support shouldn’t stop after day one.
- Flexible Work
Companies with remote work options experience 25% lower turnover. Their employees are happier and more engaged when they can WFH or work flexible hours.
There’s no need to transition to fully remote immediately. Consider hybrid work – in-office 2-3 days per week only – with flexibility on when employees start and stop their days.
- Feedback Matters
The importance of feedback for combatting quiet quitting can’t be understated. Feedback should be accurate, timely, and delivered encouragingly – it’s never to shame but rather to help the individual improve their professionalism.
Without feedback (positive and constructive), employees can feel stagnant or unrecognized.
- Regular Check-Ins
The key to avoiding burnout and quiet quitting is to catch it before it starts. When employees check in with their boss regularly, they can assess burnout and squash it before it feels insurmountable.
Regular check-ins are also an excellent opportunity to deliver feedback and assess progress.
Need Help Finding The Right Talent?
Even if you take all the proper steps to prevent quiet quitting, someone who’s a poor fit is likely to experience disengagement.
Jennings Executive has over two decades of combined experience matching companies with leading senior talent. These candidates are the best in their field, and we’ll ensure they fit well within your company, minimizing the chances of quitting quietly. Learn more today!