Quiet Quitting: Why Taking Action is So Important
While some people consider quiet quitting a necessity, others see it as an epidemic new attitude to shirk responsibility. Either case, there is only one truth: Quiet quitting is spreading like wildfire among employees! And unless steps are taken, the trend seems likely to continue.
Translated from the English term “silent resignation”, “quiet quitting” is considered to be a kind of employee attitude that is essentially based on establishing a work-life balance. The term “quiet quitting” is not meant to refer to an actual resignation, but rather to the refusal to go above and beyond at work by doing only the bare minimum at your job. In this way, employees spend more time on their personal lives and try to avoid work seeping into their personal lives
“Our ‘work’ and our ‘life’ aren’t easily disentangled,” explains Dr Maria Kordowicz, an associate professor in organizational behavior at the University of Nottingham in one of her articles. Kordowicz states that the quality of one directly impacts our experience of the other and that quiet quitting is about a conscious effort to uphold our wellbeing in the way we work, rather than risk burnout through working long hours or defining ourselves simply through our work. So what triggered the quiet quitting movement and what can organizations do when faced with this situation?
1. How Did Quite Quitting Transpire?
Before quiet quitting, it is worth mentioning the so-called ‘great resignation’. The great resignation saw more than 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021 and has been associated with mass labor migration, low pay, lack of career opportunities, changing priorities and employee burnout.
The concept of quiet quitting, which can be described as a kind of transformation of the great resignation, has emerged following a viral TikTok video shared by a young engineer during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it must also be noted that although quiet quitting is one of the trendiest concepts of recent times, it is not a novel idea!
1.1. Antecedent of Quiet Quitting: Tang Ping!
Before making a splash on TikTok, the idea behind quiet quitting is thought to be inspired by the trend known as tang ping, or “lying flat”, which emerged in China in 2021. The reason for the emergence of the tang ping movement, with numerous followers in China, is that the working life does not provide any benefits to the employee despite the heavy workload!
Just like quiet quitting, tang ping was welcomed by employees. However, the term was soon rejected by the Chinese Communist Party and blocked on social media platforms. However the movement has already been spread far beyond China’s borders. Today, we are feeling the holistic repercussions of this on the working class around the world.
2. What are the Expectations of Quiet Quitters?
Quiet quitting, great resignation and tang ping… Each of these is actually a reaction to the discipline of hard work that glorifies overwork and being always willing to work. On the other hand, quiet quitters have certain expectations from their organizations and employers. Employees and especially those who care about feeling valued within the organization want their efforts to have significant outcomes, to be noticed and appreciated.
Establishing a work-life balance, which is one of the most important originating points of quiet quitting, is crucial for employees! According to a 2022 study by Employment Hero, 53 per cent of employees say they feel burnt out from work and 52 per cent state that they are having issues in establishing their work-life balance. Employees want to be able to allocate sufficient time to their private lives as well as having their boundaries respected. At the same time, they also demand the flexibility of remote and hybrid working models that emerged during the pandemic to be maintained beyond the pandemic.
3. How to Prevent Younger Employees from Quietly Quitting?
Quiet quitting is one of the most common ways of coping with burnout, especially among Gen Z workers! A survey of 30,000 workers by Microsoft showed 54% of Gen Z workers are considering quitting their job. Those aged 18-26 are the most worried about security, health, finances, social connections and keeping up with change, the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer survey of 36,000 people found.
In its 2021 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum ranks “youth disillusionment” about their working life as eighth of 10 immediate risks. According to the report, deteriorating mental health since the start of the pandemic has left 80% of young people worldwide vulnerable to depression, anxiety and disappointment. So, is there a way to prevent quiet quitting from becoming more and more popular among younger people?
3.1. What do the Younger Workers Want?
Boomers and Gen-X have a completely different approach to work than younger generations, according to Deloitte’s 2022 Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey. The survey found that younger generations are striving for balance and for guaranteeing financial well-being.
In a podcast article, Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger of McKinsey & Company emphasize that the younger generation is an idealist generation that wants to have a calling, a purpose in what they do. Accordingly, Gen Zers are willing to take less compensation, to work longer hours, for a job they believe in and are growing in.
4. Why is it Harder to Spot Quiet Quitting in a Remote Work Arrangement?
The pandemic introduced a brand new work culture. Remote or hybrid work that has impacted the work culture for better or for worse for nearly two years has played a crucial role in the creation of this new culture! Because remote work both increased what is demanded of employees, and allowed them to reimagine what alternative work systems could look like. So what do you think was the impact of remote working on quiet quitting in this case?
Remote working model has fueled the quiet quitting syndrome by increasing the number of hours employees spend working. According to a survey conducted by New York Times in 2020, Americans working from home are spending almost three more hours on the job each day. In an article published by Korn Ferry, it is argued that remote work has allowed these employees to slack off, unnoticed by the employer.
Ed Zitron, an executive of public relations firm EZPR, also argues in a published article that hard-working employees are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their uncaring bosses. In other words, working overtime is not appreciated and fails to bring any benefits to the employee. This also makes it difficult to recognize the employee as an individual, as mutual interactions are more likely to be disrupted in the remote working model. This reduces employee motivation and increases burnout even further.
5. How Does Quiet Quitting Impact Companies?
Quiet quitting is continuing to spread like an epidemic among employees. The fact that the hashtag #quietquitting attained over 17 million views on TikTok serves to prove this! According to data collected from companies such as McKinsey & Company, forty percent of the global workforce are somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months. In other words, companies must prioritize employee motivation and start taking steps in order to prevent quiet quitting, because quiet quitting may have highly detrimental effects on companies. How to do this?
Quiet quitting leads to employees who are unwilling to take initiative and who refuse to take on additional tasks outside of working hours. This means reduced employee motivation and productivity. In the second quarter of 2022, US non-farm worker productivity fell by 2.5 per cent relative to the same period last year. This represents its steepest annual drop since 1948 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In response to declining overall productivity, large companies like Google are signaling that layoffs are imminent. These layoffs may be detrimental to both workers and employers. Because the cost of laying off one employee is equal to 200 per cent of the employee’s salary.
Yet another reason for quiet quitting is work-related stress that is among the top sources of all stress. The American Institute of Stress reports that job stress costs U.S. companies more than $300 billion per year, thanks to accidents, absenteeism, reduced productivity, employee turnover, workers’ compensation, and medical, legal, and insurance costs. This makes it clear that companies must take action against quiet quitting as soon as possible. But how can quiet quitting be prevented?
6. What Can Companies Do to Prevent Quiet Quitting?
Before companies take steps to ensure employee engagement and take measures against quiet quitting, it is vital to understand the reasons for quiet quitting. Thus, it would be possible to ensure that solutions to be generated lead to much more meaningful outcomes. So let’s take a look at what you can do as an employer against quiet quitting!
6.1. Value Feedback
Preparing a feedback survey for employees sends a clear message that they are cared for and that their opinions are worthy. Giving ear to the ideas of employees is also considered as a developmental step taken towards the future of the company. There are numerous studies showing that companies that value feedback and practice it correctly boast higher employee productivity as well as higher employee satisfaction.
6.2. Allow Employees to Balance Work and Life
When it comes to the originating point of quiet quitting, the first thing that springs to mind is the removal of the boundaries between work and private life. In this respect, there are some considerations that must be taken into account by employers, as this tends to push employees towards burnout and a deep disengagement from work! First and foremost, employers need to know which tasks their employees are working on and be careful to distribute the duties fairly. To this end, it is vital that the organization holds one-on-one meetings with all employees and allows them to talk about any challenges they are facing.
6.3. Promote Development
Employees are unwilling to remain in jobs in which they cannot set a goal and don’t see opportunities to develop and make progress. For Gen Zers in particular, lack of purpose is the key reason for quiet quitting. Accordingly, organizations need to support the development of their employees and to create space for them to climb the ladder and to be noticed. Hence, they must carry out periodic and professional performance reviews.
To prevent quiet quitting, it is essential to reassure employees that their efforts are not going down the drain. Employees must not only be allowed to easily express their career goals but also be clearly informed about what to expect as a result of their commitment to their job. In other words, open and transparent communication is an absolute must for both the company and the employees in order to develop and progress!
6.4. Build a Corporate Culture
It is a well-known fact that it has become very difficult to maintain face-to-face communication within the new work systems that have emerged after the pandemic. The results of a survey conducted by TELUS International tend also to support this. According to the survey, 51 percent of remote workers feel that they are more disengaged from the corporate culture. This causes quiet quitting to spread like an insidious pandemic among employees. But the key here is essentially to build a solid corporate culture!
Building a corporate culture is crucial for ensuring employee commitment and creating a sense of belonging at work. A well-established corporate culture allows each employee to speak out in their own voice. Furthermore, combined with the bond established through a common culture, the bond among employees plays a more significant role that promotes productivity. It goes without saying that efficient communication lies at the heart of building a corporate culture.
6.5. Prioritize Employee Motivation
Lack of communication within the company not only causes quiet quitting to go unnoticed, but also leads to an increase in the number of quiet quitters. This means that effective communication plays a very important role in the triangle formed by employees, companies and managers. Because employees who remain in interaction feel that they are noticed, that their work is seen and appreciated by the manager. This, in turn, increases employee motivation to remain at the job and to produce. One of the most effective methods that can be used to this end is internal communication applications!
Especially in the remote working model, using online interaction applications is crucial in increasing employee motivation by creating a bond between employees and employers who are not in the same environment. These communication tools make it possible to hold meetings remotely via video calls, as well as to celebrate special occasions in order to make employees feel that they are valued within the organization. And the capabilities of internal communication applications are of course not limited to these!
By now, you know how critical internal interaction is both for employee engagement and for building a corporate culture. To this end, intouch, the employee interaction application that offers numerous advantages to ensure a privileged experience with a view to improving the corporate culture is always by your side! Don’t wait any longer to explore it!
- Sean Fleming. “Survey: 40% of employees are thinking of quitting their jobs”. World Economic Forum. 2021. (online).
- ‘‘What’s the surprising key to long-term remote working productivity?’’. TELUS International. 2021. (online).
- Jo Constantz. “Everyone Is Talking About ‘Quiet Quitting,’ But Is It a Good Idea?”. BNN Bloomberg. 2022. (online).
- Brit Dawson. “‘Quiet quitting’ is TikTok’s answer to grind culture, but it’s not what you think”. GQ. 2022. (online).
- Victoria Masterson. “What is quiet quitting?”. World Economic Forum. 2022. (online).
- Bryan Hancock, Bill Schaninger. “Quiet quitting and performance management”. McKinsey&Company. 2022. (online).
- Mira Patel. “Quiet quitting: why its happening, its impact on companies and employees”. The Indian Express. 2022. (online).
- Laura Ross. “Employers, Here’s What You Need to Know About “Quiet Quitting””. The American Institute of Stress. 2022. (online).
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