Quiet quitting isn’t what you think: explaining the newest workplace phenomenon

Years of understaffed, underpaid, and overworked employees have led to the creation of the latest trend taking social media by storm: quiet quitting. 

The term ‘quiet quitting’ can be misleading. These employees aren’t walking out of their jobs –  instead, they are simply completing their duties without going above and beyond. It’s a clear rejection of hustle culture – why should they put in work they’re not being appropriately compensated for? 

We believe quiet quitting is an inaccurate phrase for this newest phenomenon. Since when is doing your job, quitting your job? Setting healthy workplace boundaries shouldn’t be a negative thing! 

A by-product of COVID-19

Employees have always struggled to maintain reasonable work-life boundaries, but the  pandemic has made this even more difficult. Facing high turnover and smaller talent pools, many companies choose to disperse the responsibilities of former employees among the remaining team, rather than replace positions. And when employees express concerns about these high workloads, they are often dismissed or deemed ‘lazy’. 

Tensions between employees and managers are already at an all time high. Quiet quitting is coming shortly after the great resignation, and not by coincidence. People are reevaluating how work should fit into our lives. So how can employers combat quiet quitting? 

How should employers respond to quiet quitting? 

Many employers, executives, and career coaches are heavily criticizing this latest trend. Videos calling quiet quitters lazy and greedy for doing just the ‘bare minimum’ are flooding the internet, especially targeted towards younger generations. But what does this say about us as employers? This response only worsens the disconnect between leaders and the workforce. Rather than trying to deflect the blame onto their employees, this trend comes as a sign that companies should really be listening to their workers. 

It becomes clear again and again that employee disengagement can lead to issues in the workplace. Every employee should feel that their concerns are heard. Employee cynicism is on the rise – according to a poll by Gallup, as of February 2022 only 24% of Americans believed their managers had their best interests at heart

As leaders, it’s your job to make sure each employee feels supported in their role. Check in regularly about ongoing projects – many employers underestimate the time it takes for their employees to complete work, and have them take on more work than they can. This often results in demotivated and overworked employees.

Some experts recommend frequent staff surveys, citing that quiet quitting is more than just boundary setting. It’s really an illustration of the burnout, frustration, and social disconnect that has been aggravated by the pandemic. Regularly talk with your staff to understand what motivates your employees, and lead by example. Managers should establish healthy boundaries by avoiding sending late messages, taking time away from the computer, and using PTO throughout the year. This will encourage employees to disconnect from work and emphasize the importance of avoiding burnout. 

And if you want your employees to go above and beyond, incentivize them! Offer opportunities for advancement in their careers. You want your employees to feel that they can benefit from work and feel engaged, without it completely running their lives. 

If you’re looking for some hashtags or terms to use instead we suggest:  #aligningexpectations, #boundariesforbalance, #loudfailing, and #workyourwage

If your company is struggling with quiet quitting, visit us at convergehrsolutions.com and let us help you transform your workplace! 


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