Embracing "Quiet Quitting" in the Workplace
Right now, there are tons of employees in your organization that have stopped going 'above and beyond.' They are "quietly quitting." This is a new phrase coined to represent those employees that are not outright quitting their job but have mentally opted out of the hustle culture that work has to be our entire life. They are still performing their duties, but they are not taking on the extreme tasks and pressures that have been expected in the past.
WHY ARE WE SO SHOCKED ABOUT THIS CONCEPT OF 'QUIET QUITTING'
Quiet quitting is a term and a trend that emerged in mid-2022 from a viral TikTok video. The philosophy of quiet quitting is not abruptly leaving a job but doing exactly what the job requires, no more no less. This term can also mean not taking your job too seriously, checking out exactly when work is over, not taking on the responsibilities of others, and wearing multiple hats.
Companies and their leadership are floored but this concept and the thought that an employee wouldn't want to take on more work for no title change, promotion, or pay.
How dare our employees do this to us. They must not be team players.
But the reality - why should they? Your company technically put out a job description to hire each and every employee that included what the job entailed. Employees that are quietly quitting are still doing all of those responsibilities but what they are not doing is riding the "chaotic start-up" rocketship, making it feel like this job and its many additional tasks are their responsibility. Spoiler alert - these have never been their responsibilities.
Quiet quitting isn't about getting off the company payroll. In fact, the idea is to stay on it—but focus your time on the things you do outside of the office. Insert my most shocked face ever. What a novel concept. This means that our job no longer defines us. This means that we have a life outside of work. This mentality could prevent burnout and lead to happier, healthier, or more productive humans. This means that companies can no longer take advantage of employees.
It is no surprise that post-COVID we are seeing this type of shift (FINALLY). Companies have pushed additional responsibilities on employees because some organizations were unprepared for the pandemic and great resignation. Many people were also frustrated when managers insisted on certain rules like going back to in-person work, which created more burnout and frustration.
Sadly, the research continues to speak for itself. Only 24% of Americans thought their managers had their best interests at heart, according to a Gallup poll released in March 2022. So why would I burn myself out for you and this organization?
THE QUEST FOR WORK-LIFE HARMONIZATION
Across generations, U.S. employee engagement is falling, according to survey data from Gallup, but Gen Z and younger millennials, born in 1989 and after, reported the lowest engagement of all during the first quarter at 31%.
Jim Harter, the chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace and well-being research, said workers’ descriptions of “quiet quitting” align with a large group of survey respondents that he classifies as “not engaged”—those who will show up to work and do the minimum required but not much else. More than half of workers surveyed by Gallup who were born after 1989—54%—fall into this category.
The truth is that staying engaged becomes more difficult when feeling burnt out and underappreciated. It becomes hard to want to give it all for your job when you are struggling to find any personal balance. And for all of you leaders out there that try to mask your toxic workplace cultures behind the idea that work-life harmonization is different for everyone, stating that some individuals just like to work more, miss lunch, work late, etc need to realize that that is something you created. It doesn't have to be this way. Any employee on the planet would be thrilled to know that your company stands for putting work-life in some kind of balance.
Quietly quitting is a stance that shows your employees are taking work-life harmonization into their own hands. They're no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be their entire existence. Employees get their job, projects, and tasks done. They are performing well and are getting great feedback. Yet they are finally able to still take time to just step away from everything and leave the office for the day behind.
WHY YOU SHOULD REFRAME QUIET QUITTING INTO GROWTH FOR YOUR CULTURE
As we work to build great company culture, doing the job should be embraced - and doing it well. Instead of praising employees for working at 11pm, working weekends, missing their lunch, or taking your random call in the middle of their family dinner, we need to be praising them for doing their job (the one from the job description) well. This can be done through performance management. As an organization, you are responsible for preventing employee burnout, and in my opinion, this is the best way to do it. In a society where we battle the work-life balance juggling act, you can change that by simply asking employees to do their job. That doesn't seem that hard at all.
By making this change you are going to have a workforce that is more engaged, with less retention and better outcomes for your customers. This is your opportunity. Let's reframe "quiet quitting" into a new organizational mindset that promotes great work, but lets our teams embrace life when work is over.